New details have emerged regarding the Nintendo 3DS eShop. The eShop, which releases on June 6 in the US (June 7 in Europe), will allow users to purchase much of Nintendo’s portable back catalog, including Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. Additionally, “classic” games will be re-mastered in 3D, starting with the NES original Excitebike, which will be downloadable for free until July 7, of which it will then sell for $5.99.
Nintendo has chosen not to use points cards this time around, instead opting for actual dollars and cents. There are no fixed prices for broad categories of games, as was done with other Nintendo download services. Super Mario Land will serve as one of three of the eShop’s Virtual Console releases, carrying with it a $3.99 price tag. Two other Game Boy games, Alley Way and Radar Mission, will also be available at launch for $2.99 each.
Also launching with the eShop are two free apps; an Internet browser and a 3D Pokedex. According to Nintendo, the Internet browser will allow users to view web pages in 3D, provided said pages are capable of rendering images in 3D. Players will be able to alternate between their game and the browser with ease via the system’s Home button, allowing gamers to browse the Web for hints if needed. It should be noted that, currently, the browser does not support Flash, PDF files, or HTML5. However, players will be able to zoom in on JPEG images with the option to save them to an SD card. Lastly, the Web browser will let users store up to 64 favorites and will have parental controls.
The eShop’s other free app, Pokedex 3D, will allow users to view their Pokemon Black and Pokemon White monsters in 3D. The app will feature SpotPass integration for sharing data with friends, along with an AR viewer, which uses the device’s built-in camera to render Pokemon in the real world.
Those looking to use the 3DS’ online capabilities on the go will find over 25,000 Wi-Fi locations to choose from, including Wi-Fi at almost 200 Simon shopping malls, over 1,000 Best Buy locations nationwide, and through an “expanded agreement” with AT&T, at 24,000 of AT&T’s Wi-Fi locations.
DSiWare games will be making a comeback, as Nintendo will be bringing over most of its past system’s original software. Unlike the DSi, the 3DS will give users the option to view screenshots and movies of selected DSiWare titles, making it easier for players to decide on their purchase. Unfortunately, not all DSiWare titles will make the leap to the eShop, and Nintendo has released a list of the games not included. The list is as follows:
- Art Academy First Semester
- Art Academy Second Semester
- Asphalt IV
- Crash-Course Domo
- Earthworm Jim
- Flipnote Studio
- Hard Hat Domo
- Let’s Golf
- Nintendo DSi Browser
- Oregon Trail
- Pinball Pulse: The Ancients Beckon
- Pro-Putt Domo
- Real Soccer 2009
- Real Soccer 2010
- Rock-n-Roll Domo
- Sudoku Master
- Sudoku Sensei
- Sudoku Student
- White-Water Domo
No explanation has been givin’ as to why these titles will not be playable on the 3DS, though its been speculated that some may be getting remakes, specifically Flipnote Studio, which has been long rumored to have a 3DS version in the works.
New eShop content will be made available on Thursdays, replacing Mondays as the day Nintendo stores will receive an update.
In the “near future”, Nintendo plans to make available a “short form” video application that will allow gamers to view 3D movie trailers, comedy clips, and music videos.
Analysis: Sigh. Dear Nintendo, you make my brain and eyeballs hurt. Most of the time it’s for all of the right reasons. Sometimes not so much. For instance, the fact that once again we have a brand spankin’ new Nintendo portable that doesn’t support Flash at least is beyond me. I’ve always defended Nintendo when ignorant scumbags took to the Web (and streets) demanding that Nintendo get with the times — but COME ON! People want the power of porn and YouTube in their pockets. An Internet browser that can’t play YouTube videos is like a 3DS that can’t play 3DS games. It’s stupid.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, allow me to speculate on a few reasons as to why in the hell Nintendo has chosen not to include Adobe Flash.
First off, in addition to YouTube and porn, the inclusion of Flash would put a lot of flash-based games at the disposal of 3DS owners – for free. There are many websites out there that host flash-based games – including versions of old Nintendo games – which would definitely give Nintendo reason to omit flash, especially seeing as how the 3DS will make a chunk of its profit from sales of Virtual Console titles. This would give some players incentive enough to overlook a sizable portion of Nintendo’s handheld back catalog, if and whenever they were to become available for the 3DS. Or maybe, Nintendo just wants to steer clear of proprietary software altogether.
I like the idea of being able to transfer DSiWare titles over to the 3DS (because let’s face it, not being able to would basically be like throwing away your hard earned cash, assuming you spent money on the DSiWare games anyway). Admittedly, the ONLY reason I still have my DSi is because I found it difficult parting ways with Flipnote Studio — but now that I’ve found out I can’t actually transfer that app to my already aging 3DS, consider my DSi sold to the highest bidder (sadly I probably won’t get more than 30 bucks for it, but such is the life of a gamer).
Above all though, the eShop looks like it’s off to a good start. I love how screenshots and video previews will now accompany Virtual Console titles (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve downloaded a game and kicked myself later on for doing so). The 3DS features I’m most excited about aren’t available yet, like the ability to watch full length movies and trailers in 3D. Recording video in 3D should also be cool.
At the time of this writing, E3 is just 4 days away. It’s very likely that more surprises will be announced for the Nintendo 3DS, including previews and release dates for highly anticipated games like Super Mario 3DS, Mario Kart 3DS, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, and Resident Evil: Revelations. Here’s another revelation: Don’t be surprised if one of those “surprises” ends up being a downloadable YouTube app that allows you to not only watch YouTube videos, but view them in 3D.
Waiting sucks. But I’ll do it for you Nintendo. You just better bring it.