Why Apple’s iPhone 5 will officially kill off Nintendo 3DS

“If you’ve been following the gaming business over the last year, you know that the Nintendo 3DS, which allows gamers to play titles in 3D without the need for special glasses, has faced a difficult market,” Don Reisinger writes for SlashGear. “In the second quarter of this year, Nintendo sold just 710,000 3DS units worldwide. Even worse, it could only get 110,000 units into homes in the U.S.”

“If we look back in history, Nintendo’s other platforms, like the Game Boy and DS, were flying off store shelves for years. The 3DS, however, has not,” Reisinger writes. “The 3DS is failing right now, more than any other reason, because of smartphones and tablets offering compelling gaming experiences. And when the iPhone 5 launches in the next several weeks, you can expect it to officially kill off the 3DS.”

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Reisinger writes, “Now, I say ‘kill off’ to drive the point home, but I don’t believe that Nintendo will actually discontinue the portable for at least another year. For some odd reason, Nintendo believes that it can turn things around with the 3DS. And it strangely feels that consumers who have yet to show that they care about the device will suddenly have a change of heart. Here’s a news flash for you, Nintendo: consumers do not and will not care about the 3DS. And the iPhone 5, which will likely come with improved components to help deliver even better gameplay to owners, will make that abundantly clear.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Nintendo may not believe they can turn things around with the 3DS. More likely they are employing Microsoft’s Zune strategy, which is to pull the plug on a product without officially killing it off in order to avoid the negative publicity fallout of the Kin kind. Some PR departments faced with high-profile flops seem to believe it’s better to fade away than to burn out.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward Weber” for the heads up.]


  1. 99% of games on the iphone (well any phone actually) suck because touch controls dont work. The psp vita is going to sell more than the 3ds no doubt and its ganes will be much better than most phone games for the simple reason that it has real phisical controls.

      1. For hardcore gamers there is an unwritten rule. No touchscreens allowed. Those are only for wusses and gamer pretenders.

        It’s too bad Apple or an U.S. third-party company doesn’t come out with a controller for Apple products. There is a British company that offers a nice iPhone/iPod controller, but I forgot what the name was and I’ve heard shipping is expensive.

        Anyway, I think it will be difficult to completely kill off the Nintendo DS handhelds because they offer those popular games that can only be played on those devices. Apple’s iOS devices may eventually outsell all those Nintendo devices, but I doubt that will cause Nintendo to give up if they’re only in second place.

            1. That’s a bold statement. Too bad you’re wrong.

              The DS is for hardcores. Let’s look at the 3rd party DS hardcore titles for example: Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Castlevania, Ninja Gaiden, Grand Theft Auto, Phoenix Wright, Okami, Shin Megami Tensei, Kingdom Hearts, and several niche titles.

          1. And he is wrong about the backwards compatibility of those old games.

            Furthermore there are plenty of knock-off DS systems in China and other parts of Asia that allow the same rom of an official DS to run on a similar copy-cat device.

            These thing should also not be allowed. Ban that crap.

        1. And hardcore gamers make up a very small percentage of the market. Therein lies the problem, that and Nintendo has never been truly the hardcore gamer’s choice of gaming machines.

          1. Hardcores also spend much more on games (which is what actually makes Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony their money) for their consoles than casuals. Kinda like iPhone users.

        2. I’ve been saying that for some time now. If no one takes the initiative, Apple should…

          … although if they do that NOW, ignorant people will cry out that Apple is copying the Wii U ¬¬

        3. So perhaps only a keyboard to play TeamFortress2 is your idea of a real gamer.

          I agree the touch controlers are rather difficult and graphic flying under your virtual joystick suck… But it works and there is room for improvement in everything.

  2. The actual lineup of 3DS games are starting to deliver going into the holiday season. These are the games ive been waiting for.

    I have a 3Ds and will be buying at least 2 more for members of the.household.

    The iphone5 is not on any of our lists.

    I hope the 3Ds has a long life, its a nice handheld and id like to think the iphone and 3Ds can coexist and each have bright futures.

    1. What, you mean Zelda 64, StarFox 64, etc? Thanks, but I bought those over a decade ago and can’t see myself spending $40 on them again just to pop pills for the migraines induced by the 3D effect. (and to those who say that it can be turned off, then what’s the point of playing these remakes?).

    2. “I hope the 3Ds has a long life,”

      With its appalling sales numbers? That’s not gonna happen.

      It’s already dead beyond recovery in the US. 110,000 units per quarter indicates an outright rejection by the market. There’s nothing Nintendo can do to make the 3DS bounce back from a level of failure that horrible. At this point, the whole 3DS brandname now joins “Zune” and “Ford Pinto”.

      This is what happens when you base a game system around a flaky gimmick. Seriously, did they learn nothing from the Virtual Boy? 3D + bad implementation = commercial dud. Learn this equation already, Nintendo.

      And speaking of gimmicks that don’t work, there’s also the Wii-U and its insane giant tablet controller. That thing is going to take the Intellivision’s crown as having the most mocked videogame controller yet. There will also be four control schemes to support: Wiimote, Wiimote+nunchuck, Classic Controller, and Tablet. Confusing? You bet. I don’t see a great deal of success in the Wii-U’s future. But between it and the 3DS, what I do see is a large exodus of developers.

      Now I’ll close with a wild prediction: beset by failure, Nintendo exits the hardware business. Sensing a ripe opportunity, Sega surprises the shit out of everyone by re-entering the hardware business. Nintendo develops Mario and Zelda titles for the new Sega console, completing the circle. Heads everywhere explode.

    3. My wife owns a 3DS, but her experience provides a good example of why the device is a flop.

      First, she only bought one because her DS Lite crapped out after years of heavy use. Even then, she was torn between getting a 3DS or going with the DS XL. Eventually, she went with the 3DS, but only out of fear that Nintendo would move all their new games to the 3DS platform and leave DS users out in the cold.

      She always leaves the 3D turned off (it makes her sick). She hates the crappy battery life. Overall, she’s disappointed in the device and sees it as an expensive DS. If given a do-over, I don’t think she’d buy one.

      (Meanwhile, she buys iPad games at the rate of 1 or 2 each month.)


  3. I hardly think the iPhone 5 customers are the same market as the 3DS. Having said that, I agree that the iPhone and iPad and iPod touch have killed the handheld gaming market, but they just don’t know it yet. Kids don’t want to pay $40 for a game anymore than you or I do, when they can get thousands of free ones on an iPod.

  4. what do you think your average 10 year old wants to find under the Xmas tree in a couple months? a 3DS or an iPod touch with IOS 5?

    what do you think their average parent wants to buy them – a PGP with games that cost $20+ each, or one that makes them happier with games that cost $1-$10? so Apple will take away Nintendo’s casual game market.

    and for those “hard core gamers” of all ages, Sony’s PS Vita will blow the 3DS away.

    the 3DS is getting screwed from both sides. it’s dead man walking.

  5. Nintendo is a toy… The 3D is very gimmicky and was introduced to persuade to the next device by offerin titles which only play on the new system.

    Once played you shall see most people slide that 3D setting so handy place to Off !
    And just get back to playing the game.

    1. Hey gramps, a 3DS is not a “Nintendo”. I don’t call an iPhone an “Apple”.

      Nintendo is a company, not a toy. They makes games for their platform for consumers.

  6. Whenever the question comes up about whether or not Nintendo should start making games for other platforms, inevitably someone compares Nintendo’s situation to that of Apple in the mid-90s. However, this comparison is off-base in a few crucial respects:

    1) Apple was making hardware and software for general-purpose computing devices. Nintendo makes hardware and software for gaming devices.

    2) Apple’s appeal is that it sells general-purpose computing devices where everything is made by one company. Nintendo’s appeal is the great games they make. Apple’s disastrous cloning experiments threatened to destroy what made Apple so attractive, while Nintendo’s appeal – its games – could easily live and thrive on other platforms. (Just as Sega’s games have done.)

    3) Apple makes most of their money off the hardware they sell. Nintendo sells their gaming hardware at a loss, and tries to make it up from their percentage of game sales. So Apple giving up their hardware business would be suicide (as it very nearly was during the clone era), while Nintendo giving up their hardware business would be far less of a problem.

    So there’s nothing contradictory or hypocritical about recommending that Nintendo develop for other platforms, while also arguing the superiority of Apple’s integrated approach. Both companies make their money in very different ways, so what works best for Apple doesn’t necessarily work best for Nintendo and vice versa. I do believe Nintendo would be better off going platform-independent, as their games would sell like crazy on iOS.

    1. Hellz yeah. S basocally nintendo should port thier games to ios then sell them through the app store. And for an lets say $50 nintendo sells a periphreal joy pad with buttons… Perhaps another one with joy sticks? You get the idea.

      Also Sony gets in on it too and sells thier portable games/ older games .. And they too have a strap arond gamepad..

      Fps anyone? Kind need thumbsticks…

      No. Really. For real. No excuse.

      Gears 3 tonight!!!…

      Sorry to say though, my 360 is hella cool.

  7. Maybe Nintendo should make an add-on controller for iPhones and iPod touches to help offset hardware sales and then port their titles for use with their controller. $30-40 for the controller device and $4.99 for the games.

    1. $4.99 for Nintendo games? What are we talking about here? The recent games on the 3DS or old titles? If you’re referring to recent titles, Nintendo isn’t going to make much profit at all with that price.

      Looking into Nintendo’s history, Nintendo has never made a peripheral for competing platforms. Doubt they will do it now or ever.

  8. iPhone vs 3DS is like comparing Apples to Kick-ass gaming machines. Sure, iPhone has a lot of cool casual games but that’s about it and my grandmother would pick an iPhone for gaming anytime; however, for those games looking for real versions of Resident Evil, Metal Gear, Mario, Zelda, etc. will always chose a dedicated gaming platform.

  9. SHET MAN !!!
    PSHHH hell no itouch 5 will EVER beat nintendo !!!


    im pretty sure nintendo will make a new system that will make all phones look like my dog’s ass.

    discusion over…. (JK)

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