I finally got my hands on a Nintendo 3DS this week and boy, what an impressive piece of kit it is. I had the good fortune to play Pro Evolution Soccer and it was magical. Immediate thoughts were simple. I want one of those machines and I want it as soon as I can get my hands on it. Playing PES in 3D on a handheld is a dream come true. It’s like having your own little game of Lilliputian football in the palms of your hands. As I have said before, I think Nintendo will sell millions of these machines and publishers who get titles out at launch could see great sales.
But I have always been worried by the price. Not the price of hardware though. At around £200, yes it is more expensive than the DS or DSi, but the 3DS is a different ball game and worth the money. My concern has been the content and the pricing and availability of it to consumers who are now used to having massive choice of great handheld content at low, low prices. The unique selling point of the 3DS is 3D, but at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, it seems that 3D for Smart Phones is not far away. Like less than 12 months away. LG have a handset which displays and films in 3D. If that is not enough, the common complaint about 3D is that content is simply not available freely. Well a chip manufacturer, Movidius, claim to be able to transform all your 2D content into 3D very easily. Whilst that does not neccessarily mean that 3D gaming content will be a flick of a switch away, it does rather suggest that the mobile world will be delivering 3D devices and content some time pretty soon and prices for that content could be aggressive.
As a consumer you have to love the developments in technology that drive both our leisure and working lives into more interesting places. In a world which has always celebrated miniaturisation, faster speed and more storage space one does wonder if the old fashioned models that some hardware manufacturers insist on persisting with will survive.
It is often said that your competition comes from places you least expect. My take is that the Blue Ocean of 3D in handhelds is already full of clever technology companies swimming around in it. Let’s hope that companies with a great record of content production but who may not be aware of the new methods of distribution don’t find themselves bathing in a Red Ocean.