Nintendo Disappointed After Years Of Body Harvest
Original Halo: Combat Evolved Re-evolves On Xbox 360

Nintendo To Launch 3DS With One Game: Nintendogs + Cats

Nintendogs + CatsThe Nintendo 3DS has captured a lot of attention in the year we've known about it, and as the launch of the system approaches, it's understandable that Nintendo fans are salivating at the prospect of getting their hands on such announced first-party titles as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Star Fox 64 3D, and all of the other games that have been revealed so far.  Surely Nintendo will choose to launch the console with an all-star showing of appeal, yes?  The dark days of casual-based fare overtaking the core audience are over, right?  With the 3DS, both casual and core and peacefully co-exist.  So, what is Nintendo launching with on day one?  Why, Nintendogs + Cats, of course.  Check that: only Nintendogs + CatsJoey Davidson paints a picture over at TechnoBuffalo:

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo President, was prodded with some healthy questioning during Nintendo’s most recent investor meeting. Someone asked him why, exactly Nintendo was only releasing one first party effort for the launch of the 3DS. That game, for those that are unaware, is Nintendogs + cats

Iwata said that Nintendo doesn’t want to pull attention away from the third party publishers that have come out to support the system. The Wii has been plagued with lackluster third party support ever since the launch wave died down. Iwata clearly hopes that by eliminating the first party options from the market initially, consumers will have to dive into third party titles and enjoy them first. That, or consumers can simply hold off for the good stuff…

This is a disappointment, but not entirely unexpected.  Nintendo seems to have a casual/core split personality complex these days, siding with whichever audience it thinks is poised to buy their products in frantic bulk.  The Nintendogs sequel is a key casual title, and getting it out the door first sends a message that the 3DS is not to be feared.  Meanwhile, those of us who want more traditional titles can turn to Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and other third-party offerings.  While the core audience wants its Zelda and Star Fox right now, Nintendo's apparent strategy does not that to happen.

That's really a shame, mind you, and something that we'll all have to watch as time goes on.  I know that I can be overly critical of the core/casual divide, but that's only because I'm not in favor of seeing gaming devolve into a market packed with fitness trainers & virtual pets on one side and nothing but first-person shooters and sports titles on the other.  I've always said that there will continue to be a place for the genres and franchises that have built this industry, but it's troubling to me when those genres and franchises aren't there at the starting line with the rest when a new console race begins.