Nintendo has a communications problem with the Nintendo 3DS. The 3DS has sold over 3 million units so far, but it isn’t selling as well as Nintendo expected. In a financial results briefing, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata explained that sales of the 3DS were quite high during its first week of release, but sales started to drop off from the second week onward. This is true for major territories such as Europe, Japan and the United States. The Japan earthquake isn’t to blame for these lower than expected sales. Iwata said he believes the public just doesn’t understand the 3DS.
The glasses-free 3D selling point of the 3DS hasn’t resonated with consumers to the degree Nintendo expected. Iwata explained this in the briefing.
We originally expected that the value of 3D images without the need for special glasses would be automatically spread to some extent by many consumers experiencing the device by themselves and then playing with the pre-installed software like “Nintendo 3DS Camera,” “AR Games” and “Face Raiders” together with people around them. However, as a result of analysis of the situation after the launch, it has become clear that we need to do a lot more to convey the value to consumers.
Iwata said that potential customers may not understand the 3DS’ 3D capabilities by simply trying out the handheld in the store. They may look at the 3D images in a way in which the image isn’t properly conveyed. For example, if you’re not looking at the 3DS at the correct angle, the 3D effect will be lost. Therefore, Nintendo wants to come up with a way that will ensure that customers are using the 3DS in the right way. Iwata also mentioned how the public needs to be educated on adjusting the 3D depth slider because “how different images should be viewed by either of the right eye and the left eye, is highly individual.”
Other features such as SpotPass ad StreetPass have also proven to be confusing to typical users.
Iwata emphasized the need for a 3D video service to entice “non-active users.” Iwata said Nintendo will “work on this after the currently planned hardware update.” It’s not completely clear if Iwata is referring to the Wii successor or an update to the 3DS hardware.