If you’ve been paying attention to Nintendo’s 3DS over the last year, you’re undoubtedly as impressed as we are by the little console’s spectacular turnaround.
When the system was released last March, it was met by harsh criticism and lackluster reviews. But after slashing the price and releasing a few triple-A titles, Nintendo has remained confidently atop the portable gaming market. In fact, the 3DS recently became the fastest console to unload 5 million units, reaching the millstone in a scant 52 weeks.
Now that the console has a solid foundational player base, an increasing number of developers are looking to make it a landing pad for their middle-tier titles. This week, for instance, Yoot Saito cryptically tweeted about the possibility of Seaman, the unfortunately-titled Dreamcast classic, making an appearance on the 3DS.
The only other option that developers really have is to focus their attention on the mobile phone platform, and middle-tier games have a very difficult time existing in that casual gaming environment. In fact, they might not be able to exist at all. This is because the profit margin on a mobile device is not large enough to support the extended development of middle-to-upper tier games. We’ll probably never see AAA title like Modern Warfare getting a fully-fledged release on the iOS platform, because the millions of dollars it would take to develop that title would be quickly wasted if they were forced to sell for $1 per copy.
However, with the 3DS on the comeback trail, middle-of-the-road developers can change refocus their attention, and continue to churn out titles like Seaman. Otherwise we’ll continue to see a gigantic chasm expanding between the console and the casual gamer. And since most people don’t fit comfortably in either of those categories, the 3DS might actually become a pretty important little console.
By Josh Engen