Interview: Nintendo’s hopes for New 3DS

Nintendo has launched five (count them) Nintendo 3DS-related products today. Two consoles (or four, if you’re counting special editions) and three games, including the highly anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Monster Hunter 4.

MCV has played on them, and we like them. But just how significant are these launches? Who are Nintendo targeting the consoles and these games at? And what does the future look like for Nintendo’s portable? We asked Nintendo UK’s head of consumer marketing, James Honeywell.

Last year was a bit of a quiet time for the 3DS. How would you say 2015 compares?
While the early part of last year was quieter in terms of releases, the end finished in strong style with the launches of Super Smash Bros and Pokmon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, both of which performed really well.

This year gets off to a bang with the New 3DS, New 3DS XL, Majora’s Mask, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Ironfall Invasion and a host of updates. Today, Friday the 13th, is really going to be a lucky day for our fans.

Who are you targeting ?the New 3DS at? Upgraders? New customers?
Our first customers will be those who already own a Nintendo 3DS and are very active. This will be followed by kids and new customers as we roll out more new titles and increase our marketing throughout the year. We are aware that many people just received new units at Christmas so we won’t be targeting them directly for now.

What features do you expect ?to be the big selling points of the hardware?
With many Ambassador units already out in the hands of UK fans we’ve managed to gain some great insights into what people are enjoying. Top of the list for those who’ve had hands-on experience is the new super stable 3D, new controls and even the customisable cover plates.

Which model do you anticipate being the most popular?
Based on the performance in other markets and who is pre-ordering we expect the New Nintendo 3DS XL to initially be the biggest seller but as we push out our communications to wider audiences during the year we hope that New Nintendo 3DS will come into its own. With both hardware offering different advantages we hope the combined effect will make this a bigger year for Nintendo 3DS overall.

What are your hopes for Majora’s Mask and Monster Hunter 4?
Majora’s Mask is a much-loved title that fans have been asking for a long time so it has an instant base. We really want to make sure we are introducing it to a whole new audience who might not know about this title. For Monster Hunter we feel now is the time when we can open the title up to a Western audience. The developers have worked hard to listen to existing players and given them more of what they want, but also ensuring that this new instalment is open to newcomers.

Are there any other titles you’re looking to push alongside 3DS?
Ironfall Invasion is a great new exclusive available on eShop as a free demo. It’s a great demonstration of the control features of the New 3DS but still works fully on the original 3DS as well. Our Ambassadors are really enjoying going back to relive some of their favourite titles. And those lucky enough to have the new hardware can look forward to the launch of Xenoblade Chronicles.

The 3DS is four years old this March. How much life do you feel it has left in it?
While it might be four years old we Nintendo 3DS continue to have a strong performance in this year and beyond. With more great titles on the way and a new enhanced version of the hardware already here we’re set for some exciting new adventures.

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