It was a great day when the Nintendo 3DS went on sale in Japan on February 26. It was also a great day when it launched in North America the following month. Shame the rest of the 3DS's timeline hasn't been so great. It's been awful.
Here is a list of Nintendo's 3DS blunders (so far).
Mistake 1: Satoru Iwata mentioned a DS successor to the Asahi Shimbun. Nintendo later said Iwata's comments were "misinterpreted". The Asahi Shimbun stood by its story, saying it was correct. This looked messy.
Mistake 2: Nintendo suddenly announced it was working on a Nintendo DS successor via a rushed press release. The press release revealed the successor had the temporary name "Nintendo 3DS". Apparently, Nintendo was worried a Japanese news outlet was going to break the news. Even though this had already happened.
Mistake 3: Nintendo issued a health warning for players under six about the optional 3D effect, echoing sentiments made to Kotaku at E3 by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. The warning itself was not a mistake; however, it lead some to wonder how family-friendly the 3DS was.
Mistake 4: 3D in gaming handhelds is largely untested on a mass market scale. Nintendo took the leap, and in the process, made some people sick.
Mistake 5: The 3DS is a power drain, and the battery life is weak—weaker than the Nintendo DS's, making it appear regressive.
Mistake 6: In Japan, Nintendo priced the 3DS at ¥25,000. For a company that has spent this console generation triumphing value for money, the high price seemed out of character. Ultimately, the 3ds got a sudden (and unusual) price drop.
Mistake 7: In the U.S., Nintendo priced the portable at $249.99. Like Japan, the international price was cut. Nintendo did offer free games to those who purchased the machine before the price cut, a smart move.
Mistake 8: Save for Nintendogs + Cats, Nintendo didn't have the games and demos it showed at the 2010 E3 gaming expo available at launch.
Mistake 9: The launch games weren't so good. Actually, most of them stunk.
Mistake 10: The games are region locked, and that sucks. The DS' games weren't, and that was awesome.
Mistake 11: The 3DS e-Shop was delayed (twice) and was not ready at launch. This only added to the perception the handheld had been rushed.
Mistake 12: Countless game delays and cancellations. Not all of the delays and cancellations were Nintendo's fault, of course, but they still had a negative impact on the 3DS' launch.
Mistake 13: The new add-on 3DS thumbstick looks tacked-on, and it makes the 3DS seem like it wasn't thought-out. It also doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the current model. Why buy one now when an inevitable redesign seems right around the corner?
Nintendo's rollout for the 3DS is one of the sloppiest product launches in recent memory. Nintendo, a company that prides itself on polish and perfection, seems to have bungled the 3DS. But there's still hope. Nintendo has big titles waiting in the wings, and next week, the Kyoto-based game maker is holding a 3DS press conference. Nintendo can still right all its wrongs. Look at how the DS Lite improved the DS and ended up one of the best consoles this generation. The same thing can happen again.
(Top photo: Nintendo & Luke Plunkett)