Nintendo has always been strong in the handheld market. It still seems to be able to cater for the portable audience even during a time of smartphones and other mobile devices that are stating to pick up gaming momentum. The Nintendo 3DS is the latest handheld from Nintendo and while it took a while to pick up, it has been selling really well since its price drop. The other latest Nintendo hardware, the Wii U however, has been struggling ever since release. While there are a few reasons for that, being the bare-bones hardware and lack of quality games, I also feel that the Nintendo 3DS is directly competing with the Wii U too.
A lot of people will argue that they buy Nintendo hardware because of Nintendo first-party games like Mario, Zelda and Pokemon. All that may be true, but if the hardware that is getting all those games is the 3DS, then that is where they will flock to. Undoubtedly, the Wii U will adopt some of the titles too, but these titles will always be in the shadows of games on more powerful hardware. The 3DS can get away with this because, as a handheld game, people expect bare-bone graphics and gameplay. Handheld games tend to make up for these limitations by having an immense amount of content, and a lot of people love games full of content over other aspects.
The Nintendo 3DS isn’t priced that far off of the Wii U either. In the UK, it’s about a £100 difference. Some argue that the Wii U is too expensive for customers because people feel the abilities of the hardware aren’t justified by the price. Nintendo are in a tough spot though, as to drop the price of the Wii U would only put it further in competition with the Nintendo 3DS. With such a competition, people will decide based on the games that are out for both systems, and the 3DS has the Wii U easily beat in that department.
Third-party developers are also gaining more confidence with the 3DS. This comes from their previous experiences though, as the original Nintendo DS was a much better ground for game developers as opposed to the Wii. This has transferred over to the newer hardware too, with more developers willing to create games for the 3DS over the Wii U. The fact that creating games for the 3DS would be much cheaper anyway is a great impetus for developers as the profit they can make from selling the game on the 3DS is probably more than they would gain from selling on the Wii U.
That leads into my final point, where game prices for Nintendo 3DS games are pretty high, almost as much as new games on consoles (and more expensive than most new games on the PC). With such a high pricing point, those with a Nintendo 3DS would really have to think twice about investing in a Wii U. If games were cheaper for the 3DS, there would probably be more people willing to try out a Wii U and its games. As it stands, it seems like too high a price point to own both a Nintendo 3DS and a Wii U, especially considering you’d need another console or PC to actually get more out of your gaming experience, given the low third-party support for the Wii U.
What do you think? Is the Nintendo 3DS holding back the Wii U? Is the 3DS good enough to satisfy Nintendo fanboys that they don’t have to buy a Wii U? Is the Wii U in no mans land where it can’t compete with either the handheld section nor the more powerful console market?