GGUK have been fortunate enough to pose some pressing questions to James Honeywell, Marketing Manager for Nintendo UK, regarding the upcoming Nintendo 3DS console. Here is what he had to say –
GGUK: The Game Coin feature, where you earn coins for steps taken as measured by the built in pedometer function, sounds intriguing. Can you tell us any of the games that will support the spending of these coins? Or examples of things you can buy?
JH: Itâ€™s still a little early for us to talk about this feature in more detail and exactly what games will support it. However, what I can say is that by implementing features like this weâ€™re aiming to make your 3DS indispensable â€“ something you want to and will carry around with you everyday be it to play 3D games, watch 3D entertainment content from our partners at Aardman, Sky or Eurosport, or to connect and share with other 3DS users through StreetPass, SpotPass or just to â€˜earnâ€™ coins.
GGUK: Will we be seeing games that take advantage of this built in function, similar to the way that the PokÃ©Walker allowed gamers to build up their PokÃ©mon through walking?
JH: Again, itâ€™s a little early for us and weâ€™ve got nothing to announce right now on this â€“ but certainly the potential and ability for developers to realize ideas like this are in theory very real and very possible.
GGUK: Friend codes were not especially popular amongst gamers. Although having a code for each console will be better than for each game, why did Nintendo choose not to make it account based, similar to the other big consoles?
JH: Our approach to the online gaming experience has been firm and consistent – it needs to be simple, safe and free. We feel a responsibility to make the online experience as enjoyable as possible for as many people as possible and whilst we fully understand and accept that not everyone is happy with friend codes, we believe that with 3DS we have taken steps to address many concerns whilst retaining our core principles that make our online experience so enjoyable for so many people. With 3DS users need only input one code for the hardware â€“ codes are no longer software dependent â€“ this was a frequent comment from DS users and something we addressed with 3DS.
GGUK: If I decide to trade in my 3DS in the future, maybe to upgrade to a new model or different colour, will the new owner have access to all of my friends? And will I have to add each of my friends codes again on my new 3DS?
JH: No â€“ provided that before you trade in your old hardware you have reset it to wipe all of the data stored on it. This is no different to having to wipe that data from an old, PC, laptop or mobile phone of you were trading that in. You will have to add your friendâ€™s codes again if you purchase new hardware. With 3DS users need only input one code for the hardware â€“ codes are no longer software dependent â€“ this was a frequent comment from DS users and something we addressed with 3DS.
GGUK: Will we eventually be seeing games that can only be played in 3D, or will the games always be 3D optional?
JH: Itâ€™s very important to be able to give people the ability to adjust or turn off the 3D completely so everyone can have the best experience possible for them. We all see 3D slightly differently from each other and as such the 3D slider gives each player the option to customize the 3D experience. I like to play with 3D turned all the way up, yet I have colleagues in the office who claim they like it turned down to halfway â€“ itâ€™s all about giving people the best and most comfortable experience â€“ there is no right or wrong way to play.
GGUK: Given that many gamers will likely be trading their DSi towards a 3DS as close to launch as possible, would it not have been preferable for the DSiWare transfer function to have been available at launch?
JH: There will be a solution to move DSi content to 3DS and weâ€™re aiming to make this available as close as possible to launch as we can. Details of exactly how this will work will be disclosed closer to launch.
GGUK: Can we expect to see the usual celebrity faces endorsing the 3DS in various advertising campaigns? Or do you have someone even more impressive lined up for the big launch in the UK?
JH: Weâ€™ve not revealed our marketing plans for the launch of 3DS, but suffice to say this will be the biggest launch ever for any Nintendo product in the UK. Weâ€™re doing more than ever before to ensure that as many people as possible are both aware and able to experience 3DS in the run up to launch on 25th March.
GGUK: Will there be 3DS specific DSiWare (3DSWare?)
JH: We are going to open up a 3DS program for independent developers in the near future, the process will be similar to the current one for the development of DSiWare titles. We will share more details with developers in the near future.
GGUK: Will the rentable movies and other downloadable content continue to be paid for with Nintendo Points? Or will there be an option to pay for individual items via credit card?
JH: The Nintendo eShop will have a cash based system where users can input credit card information or purchase a Nintendo eShop card at retail locations. We havenâ€™t confirmed or detailed any information regarding downloadable movies at this stage.
GGUK: Will there be some kind of parental control over StreetPass for the younger 3DS owners?
JH: Yes â€“ parents will be able to turn off and lock many different functions of 3DS including StreetPass. Itâ€™s vital that all users of any of our consoles have the ability to customize and fine tune their experience to provide the most enjoyable and safest one that best suits them.
GGUK: The AR cards do a good job of showing off the 3D AR capabilities of the 3DS whilst also providing a fun little shooting game. Will the cards be expanded upon with new cards available to purchase and new games to play with them?
JH: Again, the potential and possibilities are there for additional AR cards and content but weâ€™ve got nothing further to announce today. There are no immediate plans to sell AR cards as separate items.
GGUK: Does the announcement of the NGP from Sony change any of the marketing strategies that Nintendo have planned for the 3DS?
JH: Weâ€™ve always done whatâ€™s right for us as a company when we believe it is the right time to do so and we donâ€™t spend our time looking over our shoulder at other companies. Weâ€™re absolutely focused and committed to bringing the worldâ€™s first portable 3D gaming and entertainment device to millions of people â€“ for whom 3DS will actually be their first experience of 3D content â€“ so in that respect we see 3DS as a catalyst for the uptake of 3D as a whole â€“ not just gaming.
GGUK would like to thank James Honeywell for taking the time to answer our questions.