E-mail Hasn’t Been Seen Since the Newton
Three days before its launch CNN posted their video review of the Nintendo 3DS titled 3DS: No Match For iPhone. The review was done by Fortune tech writer JP Mangalindan and contained numerous, hilarious and sometimes frustrating blunders such as the “graphics not being up to the par with the PS3” and being a “hardcore gamer because [he] played Halo.” You can watch the review below.
Most gaming websites and message boards had a good laugh at JP’s expense but some were just downright angry because of the inaccuracies. A reader sent us over this e-mail exchange he had with JP to attempt to get a justification for the glaring inaccuracies:
Overall, fair review of the 3DS. I agree with the issue with pricepoint, certainly as it relates to Apple products. It’s hard to justify paying 39.99 for Super Monkey Ball 3D when it is on the App Store for .99. However, there are a few inaccuracies in your review:
-Content is not just distributed via cartridges–users can download games from the E-Shop via Wi-Fi
-Both stylus and cartridge were in the previous DS iterations so users are used to it.
-Growing up on Halo, doesn’t really mean you grew up on video games…you’re 28–Halo came out in 2001. I grew up on Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario World on the Genesis and SNES respectively.
-The SDK is being open up to more outside the development box devs, just not those who create fart apps in the App Store.
-Retro design? Take a look at the Game Boy Pocket–that came out in the 90s, and that’s retro.
Hope you haven’t received too much backlash from the gaming community about the review–hope this was one of the more sincere and professional of the ones you have received thus far.
Our reader’s message was fair. He pointed out many of the inaccuracies in JP’s video, including a line about the 3DS stylus being a throwback to the Palm Pilot. Here is JP’s response:
Thanks for your note, and I really do appreciate your constructive feedback.
Here’s the thing that I suppose is getting overlooked: that video and text review was actually for Fortune Magazine, very much a non-gaming publication, one which appeals to a slightly older enterprise business audience, one much more familiar with Apple and Android devices, which was why the approach we used was very, very broad. I certainly played Halo end of high school/beginning of college, but I also played a bunch of the games growing up: Pole Position, Star Fox, Icarus, Metroid, Doom, nearly all the Final Fantasy games, etc., etc. I’ve owned nearly (but not all) every home and handheld gaming console the Super Nintendo, including the Nintendo DS, DSI, and DS XL. As for the Apple products comparison, one which some argue is unfair, Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aimes mentioned to Forbes Magazine last year he felt the biggest threat to his company wasn’t Sega or Sony but actually Apple, which was why I felt the comparison was appropriate.
Again, I’m really glad you wrote in. Please feel free to write in with more questions and concerns — I definitely encourage it — and I hope you’ll keep reading.
And again, our reader’s reply:
Thank you for the response! While I do understand that this is for Fortune, and you wouldn’t want to throw out terminology that would befuddle your demo, there were still some inaccuracies in the video that as I said before, do paint the 3DS as an ancient device. There is writing for an audience, but there is also journalistic integrity to keep facts accurate. It surprises me that because you have owned the previous iterations of the DS, that cartridges and the appearance of a stylus were something of a surprise. Backwards compatibility is a key thing not to force previous owners into an uproar. And the neglect to mention the forthcoming E-Shop (and Browser) as it relates to the Android Marketplace and App Store and instead saying that the 3DS does not have downloadable content, was also confusing.
While Reggie Fils-Aimes did say that about Apple, the device is not a smartphone–which is what you are comparing it to if we are talking Android and iOS devices. Perhaps Fortune wasn’t the best place to review the 3DS if your demo can’t differentiate between a smartphone and a handheld game console. The iPod Touch however, is a different story and I think is poised to change the way Nintendo distributes games.
I’m not trying to say you were wrong in your comparison–since as I said before I agree with the Apple argument and think Nintendo needs to reevaluate their relationships with developers in terms of cost, I’m more concerned with the inaccuracies in the review.
According to our reader, he has yet to receive a reply back from JP. Any thoughts on JP’s response?