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The Disturbing Lack of 3DS at E3 2012

by Neal Ronaghan - June 8, 2012, 7:12 pm EDT
Total comments: 21

Nintendo had two playable 3DS games at E3. Umm... what?

At E3 2012, the most worrisome trend for me was the relative absence of the 3DS on the show floor. Nintendo's own booth only had a few wandering girls with a pair of 3DS systems attached to them. For two days of the show, those girls only had one Nintendo game (Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon) and two third-party titles (Castlevania, Kingdom Hearts 3D). It wasn't until the last day of the show that New Super Mario Bros. 2 was playable on the show floor.

So Nintendo, in the second E3 after the 3DS came out, had two 3DS games playable. Hell, they only mentioned one other 3DS game! It was one of the most pathetic showings for a live Nintendo system I had ever seen. The DS last year, in its sixth E3 after release, had as many playable Nintendo games as the 3DS did this year.

Outside of that, the third party support only seems partially there. Square Enix had three games featured. Konami had one. Atlus had one. D3Publisher had a few. Disney had one (behind closed doors).

We saw just as many playable eShop games from indie developers as we did real live 3DS games on the show floor. By the way, Bomb Monkey (Renegade Kid), NightSky (Nicalis), Cave Story+ (Nicalis), escapeVektor (Nnooo) all look good according to our staffers who saw them.

It seems that Nintendo's focus was on Wii U, but it seems silly to give the 3DS a little more than a cursory glance. The hour-long presentation focused on the 3DS was nice, but outside of Reggie Fils-Aime's accidental Fire Emblem North American release confirmation, it featured little more than a gloss-over of all the games we have already heard about. Though, to be fair, we heard interesting information about Paper Mario: Sticker Star and New Super Mario Bros. 2.

Of course, there's the possibility that Nintendo will still have a few more 3DS releases this year. We could see Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, and more pop up over the next few months in press releases and Nintendo Directs. We could be playing surprising new eShop games and great old classics on Virtual Console. But the issue is that we don't know if we should expect that.

Let's hope that E3 2012 was just an aberration, and Nintendo has a few more tricks up their sleeve this year. But at face value: man, the 3DS game output is looking pitiful. 


xcwarriorJune 08, 2012

Being a 3DS owner, the lack of love after one year that Nintendo showed for the system was disheartening. And 3rd parties are going to look at that and say, "Well, if they don't want to support it, no point in us doing it."

Nintendo had better announce a couple more titles to release before the end of the year. Even if they are eShop games. Just show your own system some more support.

Oh, and while you're at it, make some games for the Wii U as well!

What are Nintendo's game developers doing right now? Maybe they are making virtual boy games!

NintendoFTWJune 08, 2012

I agree that the 3ds showcase was dissapointing. I wanted to hear about Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask and Fire Emblem the most, but neither of these were shown. However, at least there will be more Nintendo Directs and the Tokyo Game Show in September to look forward to. Also, this is just a rumor, but I've heard that the next ND will announce the release date for Animal Crossing. I guess we'll just have to play the waiting game and see.
"After all, patience is a virtue."
Descole-----Professor Layton and the Last Specter

broodwarsJune 08, 2012

I wouldn't be too concerned about the lack of focus on the 3DS right now, though it is odd that it took so long for Nintendo's big 3DS game to hit the show floor.  Even though they failed, Nintendo had to devote their E3 press conference to trying to do damage control on the Wii U after last year's apparently-confusing reveal.  The 3DS, meanwhile, is in a relatively stable position right now, especially in Japan.  I'd be concerned if the 3DS doesn't have a huge unveiling of new titles at this year's TGS, where the handheld games reign supreme.  I expect, though, that Capcom will show off Monster Hunter, and a deluge of 3DS titles will be announced in Japan.

0-WattAlex Wanschura, Contributing WriterJune 08, 2012

I think one has to consider that Nintendo wants this to be the Wii U's holiday over the 3DS.  What games did the DS have in holiday 2006?

I am disappointed that no new announcements were made for 3DS this E3, but it seems that announcements are more Nintendo Direct things now.

Nintendo is releasing NSMB2, Pokemon B+W2 (DS yeah but they are pushing 3DS apps), Luigi's Mansion, and Paper Mario: Sticker Star this year.  It seems that 2013 is a total mystery for the company, though.  I bet they announce more 3DS software for 2013 either in the Fall conference or a Nintendo Direct video near the year's end.  At the very least, there are third party games and eShop titles to fill the gaps.

The other thing that struck me was that they didn't even have their usual 3DS event-related features: Nintendo Zone and special Mii distribution.

ShyGuyJune 09, 2012

Video killed the radio star

Cell Phone killed the handheld star

edit: Internet killed the Video star in a campaign of revenge over the death of radio star.

I wouldn't call the upcoming releases for 3DS pitiful. I lost my 3DS a couple days ago... T-T ... and just today I caved and bought my replacement because I already had my heart set on certain games within the next month or two.

Tybo68June 09, 2012

Why compel me to buy new retail 3DS games in the fall when you can remind me why I'm not buying a Wii U at launch and then not announce anything new for the 3DS I already own and was really excited about. I would love to spend more money on good 3DS games

KDR_11kJune 09, 2012

They really should've waited with the Wii U for another year to make sure the 3DS gets enough games.

PhilPhillip Stortzum, June 09, 2012

The lack of any word on Animal Crossing completely took the wind out of my sails. There were way too many plumbers in Nintendo's 3DS lineup.

ShyGuyJune 09, 2012

Maybe the delay in Animal Crossing means we are finally getting significant changes.

rlse9June 09, 2012

Quote from: KDR_11k

They really should've waited with the Wii U for another year to make sure the 3DS gets enough games.

They probably would have liked to have done that but with the way the interest in Wii basically fell off a cliff, they really didn't have a choice.  The lineup for Wii this year is thin enough as it is, imagine if they had to try to squeeze another year out of the Wii.

Quote from: ShyGuy

Maybe the delay in Animal Crossing means we are finally getting significant changes.

That would be amazing, if they could make an Animal Crossing that is as fun as the original without being a complete rehash.  The Gamecube version was such a great game but I couldn't be bothered to play the DS or Wii versions because I had no interest in playing basically the same game again.

pololmejorJune 09, 2012

I think there just saving the tasty soup to warm up later.

NinSageJune 09, 2012

This is such a painfully obvious ploy by Nintendo to phase out the 3DS and start developing for smartphones.

I mean, showing off Paper Mario, Luigi's Mansion, NSMB2, Castlevania, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Kingdom Hearts and the slew of downloadable titles .... where are the games?!

And just because Fire Emblem and Professor Layton are apparently in the pipe, who's to say there will be anything else after that if they weren't showcased this week?

RIP 3DS. We hardly knew ye.

I'm not saying what was there was bad. There just wasn't much there. By my count, there were around 10 games, a few more if you count the indie devs we met up with in food courts and restaurants. That is a low number, even if the quality of games is high (thankfully, that does seem to be the case).

As I said, I hope there's more announced/discussed/confirmed soon, but right now, it's kind of just like "alright, this is it?"

0-Watt's comment about what the DS lineup was in 2006 is an interesting one. As I wasn't at E3 2006, I don't know, and also, I'd have to look in to what games came out fall 2006.

I was there, and E3 2006 had a ton of DS games.

LittleIrvesJune 09, 2012

NinSage, that's for the much-needed levity.

re: DS fall/winter 2006  http://www.1up.com/features/2006-ds-holiday-gift-guide

LittleIrvesJune 09, 2012

Ooh, Aaron's link is much better. And holy smokes, after looking at that list of games, this year's E3 seems even more anemic. Insane that 2006 was the exact same period of time before the Wii's launch as this year is for the WiiU, and look at the games: Twilight Princess, Galaxy, Smooth Moves, Excite Truck, Elebits, Corruption...  did they really have the holy trinity shown all at once? Yikes.

I honestly think the change in breadth of shown games is almost a direct consequence of the economy. In 2006, we were sittin' pretty. Right now is not the time to sell a bunch of games in dollars against the yen. Also, Nintendo's back was against the wall. After Gamecube, they had to come out guns ablazin' to get people's attention. Right now they're in a relative position of strength (the year's financial woes notwithstanding). I think they're holding their cards closer to their chest this time around, waiting for the economy to turn around and holding onto some big guns for next year when Sony/MS come out with their next machines... we'll see.

Mop it upJune 09, 2012

There wasn't anything shown that we didn't already know about, but I think that just means they are following through with not showing stuff until a few months before release. The lineup we saw seems decent to me. The lack of floor demos does seem odd though, as most of the games shown seem like they could have playable versions ready.

Chozo GhostJune 09, 2012

Quote from: MegaByte

I was there, and E3 2006 had a ton of DS games.

I think 2012 is the equivalent of 2005 for the DS because it came out in (late) 2004 and the 3DS came out last year. So I think 2013 would be the 3DS' equivalent of 2006 for the DS. Hopefully that year will see it pick up some serious software support.

But the 3DS is on its second E3 after launch. Regardless, E3 2005 still had a good DS showing (Mario Kart, NSMB, Animal Crossing, Advance Wars, Kirby Canvas Curse, etc.).

If I didn't make myself clear previously: I'm jazzed for most of the announced games. It just was a very limited E3 showing.

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