As announced over the weekend, Nintendo has released a successor to the Nintendo 3DS, while not an outright sequel to the previous hardware, this version has new tech including extra shoulder buttons and an heavily upgraded CPU just to name a couple. However the real issue with the new handheld is the fact that Nintendo has chosen to name the device “New Nintendo 3DS”, no 3DS 2, no 3DS 2.0, just a simple word that’s bound to cause confusion amongst younger gamers and the casuals.
This is the very same issue that has caused the Wii U so much trouble during it’s first couple of years with sales numbers. A lot of people were unaware of the differences between the original Wii and the Wii U, especially taking into account the similar designs of the two consoles.
You’d think with Nintendo’s pass identity issues, they’d be smart enough to give some kind of indication to let people know that this is indeed new hardware beyond a press release. It should be simple marketing to give some sore of long lasting interpretation that the next release is an more advanced product, but the last few years have proven that Nintendo has seemingly lost this ability. They just recently aired a commercial detailing just how different the Wii U is in comparison to the Wii earlier this year, mind you the Wii U has been available since 2012.
Let”s take a look at Disney Interactive’s upcoming Disney Infinity 2.0, the game is never really confirmed as a sequel to the original Disney Infinity, in fact Disney has made sure all marketing efforts have informed us that this is just an improver version of the game, including the confirmation of Playstation 4 and Xbox One versions (which were previously confirmed before the new game received it’s name), the fact that the previous toys and material from the original Disney Infinity would be compatible, and the simplicity of the name “2.0 Marvel Super Heroes Edition”, these simple indications have let even the most casual of gamers become self-aware that this is indeed a new game so why can’t Nintendo do something similar with the new 3DS? While it’s possible that the “New Nintendo 3DS” name is an Japan only name and it could be changed upon it’s international release, it still will bring confusion to the gaming masses while it remains.
While the 3DS name alone may help Nintendo get some early sales once the New Nintendo 3DS comes in due to core gaming audiences, the confusion will bring about another long road to recover for them. And the fact that the New Nintendo 3DS will have titles that are exclusive to the platform due to it’s controls and CPU upgrade will only hurt and anger some gamers who actually do know better.