Japanese gaming blog 4Gamer polled 6468 readers about the 3DS, its recent price drop and the Ambassador Program that gives early adopters free games. The respondents were overwhelming male (93.5%/6.5%) and split almost evenly between those with the device and those without. The results were somewhat surprising, and for the most part they suggest that Nintendo still has work to do to win over Japanese consumers (or at least, the enthusiast portion that reads websites like 4Gamer).
Instead of the usual “what game consoles do you own” question, the survey asked about consoles and devices that played games. This means computers and smartphones were represented, a smart move. The numbers break down about like you’d expect - PCs are number one because almost everyone has one, followed by the usual DS/PSP/PS2/Wii crowd. Note that in nearly every case, 3DS owners were more likely to own other game consoles than those who do not own a 3DS.
When asked what consoles/devices they actually used to play games (not merely owned), Sony’s PS3 and PSP were the top choices but PCs and iOS/smartphones were close behind (also surprisingly close was the Xbox 360, not a popular console in Japan). However, what I find interesting is that the split between 3DS owners and non-owners was minimal on this chart. That runs counter to the theory that a major hurdle for the 3DS is people choosing cheaper mobile games over a dedicated console.
In polling current 3DS owners, a large number (over 30%) suggest that the offer of free games does little to placate their “anger or regret” regarding the sudden price drop. When combined with those who said the free games did nothing to increase their “appreciation” of the 3DS, that suggests a majority of current 3DS owners are not pleased with what they’ve gotten so far out of the machine. Yet a third were willing to recommend it “provided you like 3D or the games currently available”.
What of the forthcoming Super Mario and Mario Kart games? 21.7% said they weren’t interested and 24% said they weren’t sure they would buy either game. A combined 28.2% said they would “definitely” or “probably” buy both, with another 14.7% leaning towards buying one or the other.
Nearly half (49.4%) of the respondents with a 3DS said that they feel the current lineup of games is slim and they are “disappointed” (期待できない) with the system despite the promise of future titles.
When asked about buying a WiiU, 25.8% said they would do so “early” while 17.6% said they would wait in light of the 3DS dropping in price so quickly (8.6% said they weren’t buying early regardless). 21.3% were undecided and 26.7% said they were not planning on buying one at all.
Among those who do not own a 3DS, the outlook was even grimmer. Only 5.4% said they plan to buy one as soon as the price drops. 42.1% said there’s still no 3DS games they want, with another 15.3% flat out saying that they’re not buying a 3DS regardless of price. A whopping 60.1% responded to the above Mario question with “not interested.”
When non-3DS owners were asked to choose which console they “want the most”, the PlayStation Vita was far and away the number one choice at 65.3% (PS3 was a distant second at 8.7%) and 65.2% said they would “definitely” or “probably” buy it. 26.5% said they were interested but not sure yet if they would buy one. Sadly, this question was not asked of 3DS owners, nor did they ask non-3DS owners about WiiU.
In the grand scheme of things, this is a small sample size not exactly representative of the majority of Japanese consumers (you know women be shopping etc etc). But these are still discouraging numbers coming from a group that seems to own/play a lot of video games.