Nintendo's glasses-free 3DS portable gaming system isn't selling as well as the company expected because people don't understand how great the gadget is or how to properly use it, the president of the company theorizes.
Addressing a gathering of analysts in Tokyo this week, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata seemed to place most of the blame for the lackluster sales of the 3DS on people not understanding the magic of the system.
"Nintendo 3DS has not been selling as expected since the second week, and this is not just in the Japanese market but also in the United States and Europe, where no direct impact from the great earthquake has occurred," he said.
The solution, it seems, is helping people understand the "value" of 3D images seen without the need of special glasses and making sure they know how to use the system correctly. Iwata said providing content in which to experience the 3D images is also a plus.
And it's not just the 3D that people are missing out on, Iwata says. 3DS gamers also don't seem to get StreetPass, SpotPass, Augmented Reality gaming and Mii Maker, he said.
"It is now clear that the combination of these new features is not necessarily easy-to-understand by just saying one word to those without experience," he said. "There seems to be more than a few consumers who have Nintendo 3DS hardware but don't know about this software and possibly haven't had a chance to get interested in it.
"After all, pre-installing a feature which we would like many people to enjoy is not sufficient to make it actually popular among users."
While Iwata says the company needs to push gamers to use and understand all of these new features, he also said that the company needs to be prepared for the roll out of network services to the 3DS in May.
The best way to make sure that gamers go online and check out the eShop is to give something away, he said. So Nintendo plans to give away a free download of Excitebike as one of the "3D Classics" series for a limited time. This, he hopes, will kick start the use of the eShop once it goes live.
"There is," Iwata points out, "no easy road to making people understand the attraction of glassless 3D images and making Nintendo 3DS widespread."