Adding to the woes, the overall gaming business has hit the doldrums recently, as the initial momentum wore off from the Wii and DS handheld, both megahits from Kyoto-based Nintendo — partly because of a scarcity of hit game software, but also because of the advent of other mobile entertainment, such as cellphone gaming and social networking like Twitter. Yusuke Tsunoda, analyst for Tokai Tokyo Securities Co., was pessimistic about the potential for 3-D gaming on the tiny screen of a portable. Nintendo also needs to introduce more 3-D games if it hopes the 3DS will catch on, he said, noting that there were no surprises in games shown Tuesday. "It is OK to sit down and watch 3-D," Tsunoda said, referring to 3-D movies at theaters and 3-D on TV sets. "But when it comes to playing 3-D games, it can get tiring on your eyes the more you play."
President Satoru Iwata showed video footage of games in the works, including the popular Super Mario series, that were for 3-D playing without the special glasses usually required for 3-D TVs. Iwata said the company was doing its utmost to offer a satisfying selection of games to play on 3DS.
He has always said machines never become a hit unless there are hit games people are going to want to play on them. "We know the hurdle is high," he said. "We will do our utmost to make the 3DS as widespread as its predecessor DS machine." Iwata noted the DS and Wii had proved popular with women — a characteristic he seemed to think was unique for Nintendo products, unlike offerings from rivals Sony Corp. with its PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable and Microsoft Corp. and its Xbox 360.
Sony is scheduled to outline its strategy for portable gaming Wednesday, ahead of the Tokyo Game Show in a suburb, opening to media Thursday. Nintendo generally does not take part in the Tokyo Game Show. Nintendo has already slashed the price of its 3DS. Starting last month, it cost 15,000 yen in Japan, down from 25,000. In the U.S., the price dropped to $169.99 from $249.99.
Such a major price cut so soon after a product launch was unprecedented for Nintendo, underscoring 3DS' struggles. Once next year rolls around, Nintendo will face competition in portable gaming from Sony, which is putting on sale its PlayStation Vita handheld early next year. That will cost $249 in the U.S., and 24,980 yen in Japan, for a Wi-Fi only version, and $299 and 29,980 yen for a version that will also have a cellphone service. (AP)