The 3DS is Nintendo’s current handheld games console. This eight generation device boasts the ability to project 3D imagery without the need to wear glasses. The original version was released in early 2011, but in the middle of 2012 the 3DS XL was released. This iteration of the handheld offers 90% larger screens over its predecessor.
Digital distribution is ever growing in popularity. Nintendo have never really been at the forefront of digital distribution; their previous home console, the Wii, strongly lacked offering and features when compared to something like the Xbox 360’s marketplace. However, the tides are changing and Nintendo are catching on to the importance of downloads.
With the introduction of the 3DS, Nintendo announced that New Super Mario Bros. 2 would be the first of their games to be available at retail and for download. This is something that was applied to every first-party release thereafter, along with some from the past. Third party developers are also involved, meaning that Nintendo’s downloadable line-up is much stronger than it used to be.
The 3DS offers 1.5GB of internal storage (it’s actually 2GB, but some is reserved for things like the operating system) and comes with a 2GB SD card. The 3DS XL has the same amount of internal storage, but this device comes with a 4GB SD card. You can expand this all the way up to a 32GB SD card (Nintendo’s official line is to stay with the SDHC standard).
The lower storage on the original 3DS was never a problem for most consumers. The eShop (the storefront for downloading the games) didn’t exist when the console first launched and the majority of games to download were old Game Boy titles. Of course, now with fully fledged new, first party games being available, all of that’s changed.
Downloading games directly to your console offers a variety of benefits. Not only does it do away with storing vast amounts of game boxes, but it also provides convenience and instant access. While this is all well and good, the matter of limited storage space becomes an increasing problem as more and more games are released for download.
Nintendo measures their storage in blocks, which is really just a way for them to do away with the MB/GB terminology. New Super Mario Bros. 2 weighs in at 2950 blocks (368MB), which isn’t really that much in the scheme of things. But some of the more recent titles are far heftier. For example, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is 17693 blocks (2.16GB) and Resident Evil Revelations is 25795 blocks (3.15GB).
Nintendo are very keen to push their eShop. They often display it as the primary way to get the game in their advertising. But for people who will choose to go the download-only route, even the 4GB SD card that comes with the 3DS XL isn’t going to be enough. Perhaps Nintendo should be including a larger capacity card, like a 16GB one, with the consoles.
The average consumer will likely buy both physical and digital releases, but as the market moves more towards the latter over the years, Nintendo might want to look at upping their storage offerings.
3DS Storage Overview
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