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The success of the 3DS has vindicated Gunpei Yokoi and the Virtual Boy

Forums - Nintendo Discussion - The success of the 3DS has vindicated Gunpei Yokoi and the Virtual Boy

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killeryoshis said:
Who wrote this? AThe 3DS did so badly Nintendo had to take losses so it wouldn't fail. The 3DS is a disappointment sales wise. It should be at 100+ million. Nintendo focusing so hard on 3D is what caused such a big drop. If anything it shows that 3D will never be a big seller. It shows that even the mighty DS could not make it successful. Hopefully the idea stays in a radioactive dump where it belongs.

Agreed. It can fester down there together with waggle and motion controls.



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Johnw1104 said:
I agree with your assessment... the only group that deserves admonishing are the Nintendo execs who decided to dump a platform they knew they wouldn't be supporting on the market just to recoup some of their losses.

I own a Virtual Boy (I'm a bit of a collector for those earlier days of video gaming) and while awkward to use the three dimensional effect really is quite impressive for the era, held back mostly by the inexpensive red/black color scheme. It was too early to do the Virtual Boy right while keeping it affordable, but the idea itself wasn't at fault. I've long wished to see a Virtual Boy featuring the original specs and hardware that Gunpei had in mind, as I suspect it would be quite impressive... the main was basically batting 1.000 before and after the Virtual Boy across his career, and I've no doubt this one would have been uniquely fun as well.

I don't necessarily think they released it with the intention of not supporting it.  They put together a $5 million marketing campaign with NBC and Blockbuster and offered the Virtual Boy system as a $10 rental.  They were still announcing games at E3 in '96.  And, in late '96 they were still working on developing the Link Cable that would have allowed 2 Virtual Boys to be connected for competitive play.  I don't think they threw in the towel on the device until they realized that even the price cut wasn't going to save it.  I think if the plan was to dump it on the market just to get back whatever they could on it, they wouldn't have spent any addition $ on it during/after launch.

Incidental side note.  I almost bought a Virtual Boy for my brother for his birthday in 1997.  I was working my first job, and so I finally had more money to spend on gifts for family than before.  I wanted to buy him a new console like my parents always did for us at Christmas time.  So, I went to Toys R Us and browsed the gaming section.  They had a Virtual Boy on display with "Wario Land" for demo.  I tried it out, and I thought it was pretty cool.  I was very close to buying it, but something was bothering me.  It was the "Discounted to $99" tag on the display.  I can't specifically remember if the tag said "Clearance" or not.  The Virtual Boy had been discontinued already by that point, but at the time, I didn't know that.  But, the tag itself gave me the suspicion that was the case.  I didn't want to give my brother something that was exiting the market, so I bought him our first Sony Play Station instead (we already had a Nintendo 64 that our parents gave us for Christmas in '96).  Ironically, that Play Station died one day after we set it up.  It stopped reading disks mid-game and wouldn't start again.  It was the first gaming device anyone in my family ever had to return (ColecoVision, Intellivision, TRS-80 CoCo2, NES, SNES, N64, Gameboy...).  But, we went back to the store for a replacement, and that one got some years out of it before it died.  Even so, when I saw that the Virtual Boy had in fact been discontinued while we were enjoying games like Vandal Hearts, Suikoden, Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, Wild Arms, etc... I knew that I had made the right choice that day.



I didn't read more than a paragraph based on how flawed the premise of this thread is and how flawed it was in your last thread.

The question you have to ask about Gunpei Yokoi is if it was really him who pushed for the Virtual Boy to release or if he merely ended up as a scapegoat. After all, Shigeru Miyamoto has exhibited a very strong interest in 3D and even defended the Virtual Boy in Iwata Asks. Maybe Gunpei Yokoi has been vindicated by the 3DS in that it was always Miyamoto who was the main man behind Nintendo's 3D push and the resulting failure, and that Miyamoto got promoted into retirement by Nintendo after the failure of the 3DS.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

AlfredoTurkey said:
killeryoshis said:
Who wrote this? AThe 3DS did so badly Nintendo had to take losses so it wouldn't fail. The 3DS is a disappointment sales wise. It should be at 100+ million. Nintendo focusing so hard on 3D is what caused such a big drop. If anything it shows that 3D will never be a big seller. It shows that even the mighty DS could not make it successful. Hopefully the idea stays in a radioactive dump where it belongs.

Agreed. It can fester down there together with waggle and motion controls.

Without that, we wouldn't have immersive VR today.



One of the faults in the OP is the premise that the 3DS was such a massive success. The 3DS is more akin to the PS3 - massively down from its predecessor, brought in loads of losses, but it still sold decently.



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I absolutely love the 3d effect, I always play with the slider on max, it gives uniqueness to the games, specially if they were made with the 3d effect in mind like Mario 3d land or kid icarus.



I read the final paragraph. I am so appalled by it that I would report your post as flamebait if I didn't already know that the mod team were sure to dismiss the report.

You must really like the Wii U and 3DS if you write such essays to attempt to prove their value. Look, you are free to like those consoles despite their shortcomings, but don't glorify them as bright spots in Nintendo's history.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

RolStoppable said:
I read the final paragraph. I am so appalled by it that I would report your post as flamebait if I didn't already know that the mod team were sure to dismiss the report.

You must really like the Wii U and 3DS if you write such essays to attempt to prove their value. Look, you are free to like those consoles despite their shortcomings, but don't glorify them as bright spots in Nintendo's history.

...Flamebait? All he said was he appreciates the 3D of the 3DS (which I did as well whenever a game opted to actually take advantage of it) and that it vindicates Gunpei's original vision for the Virtual Boy. That's an opinion, not flamebait lol

The 3DS wasn't some outrageous success like the DS, but in an era when people wondered if handheld gaming would persist at all it still managed to sell quite well, especially when compared with its only contemporary competition. With the explosion of the mobile market this was easily the most difficult environment Nintendo ever released a handheld into, so to still approach Gameboy Advanced numbers (~70 million to ~80 million) is no small feat, and it certainly does not belong in the same breath as the undeniable sales failure that was the Wii U.

I would not say that any of this vindicates the "Virtual Boy" that was actually released, as that was a flawed product from the start. It does, to some extent, show that Gunpei's original vision for the Virtual Boy was quite impressive, and if there's a criticism I have to lob at him it's that he ought to have recognized earlier in development that such a vision would be too expensive to achieve with the technology of the time. "Vindication" is a strong word, then, but one can certainly better understand his thinking with the benefit of retrospect.



RolStoppable said:
I read the final paragraph. I am so appalled by it that I would report your post as flamebait if I didn't already know that the mod team were sure to dismiss the report.

You must really like the Wii U and 3DS if you write such essays to attempt to prove their value. Look, you are free to like those consoles despite their shortcomings, but don't glorify them as bright spots in Nintendo's history.

What exactly in my opinion pieces are Flamebait?

I have never tried to label the Wii U as a bright spot in Nintendo history.  My thread on the evolutionary path of the GameCube to Switch noted the Wii U's form function as a step (the final step) on the path to the successful Switch.  Did I enjoy my Wii U?  Yes, I did.  I got use and enjoyment out of it from launch day through 2017.  I've used it more sparingly since the Switch came out, but even recently I am still playing my backlog on it from time to time.  But, I have never denied that it was a commercial flop.  I don't know how you can look at the design of the Wii U's gamepad and the Nintendo Switch and not see the similarity and deny that the former was a step in the latter's direction though.  

Did I enjoy my 3DS?  Yes.  Like the Wii U, I got both use and enjoyment out of it throughout it's lifespan.  I can think the device was a success without somehow trying to twist history.  The rise of mobile gaming was going to impact the sales of whatever device Nintendo put out into the handheld market.  It certainly wasn't going to be able to come close to, let alone match, the 153 million sales of the DS.  If the 3DS was a flop though, it would never have sold 70 million units and continue to be selling today.  Consumers don't just go ahead and buy whatever device has the Nintendo logo on it, price cut or no.  The Virtual Boy is indicative of that.  What I specifically said, which maybe you glossed over, was that the 3DS is nearing Gameboy Advance level sales.  Considering the climate of the handheld market, that's not a flop in my book.  Sony's handheld sales dropped by 80% this gen.  The 3DS was able to limit Nintendo's drop to about 54% from a much higher predecessor.  So, yes, I think 70 million sales and counting, and being currently the 11th highest selling dedicated gaming platform is a success.



Johnw1104 said:

...Flamebait? All he said was he appreciates the 3D of the 3DS (which I did as well whenever a game opted to actually take advantage of it) and that it vindicates Gunpei's original vision for the Virtual Boy. That's an opinion, not flamebait lol

The 3DS wasn't some outrageous success like the DS, but in an era when people wondered if handheld gaming would persist at all it still managed to sell quite well, especially when compared with its only contemporary competition. With the explosion of the mobile market this was easily the most difficult environment Nintendo ever released a handheld into, so to still approach Gameboy Advanced numbers (~70 million to ~80 million) is no small feat, and it certainly does not belong in the same breath as the undeniable sales failure that was the Wii U.

I would not say that any of this vindicates the "Virtual Boy" that was actually released, as that was a flawed product from the start. It does, to some extent, show that Gunpei's original vision for the Virtual Boy was quite impressive, and if there's a criticism I have to lob at him it's that he ought to have recognized earlier in development that such a vision would be too expensive to achieve with the technology of the time. "Vindication" is a strong word, then, but one can certainly better understand his thinking with the benefit of retrospect.

Yes, flamebait. The OP is basically presenting an argument that is as credible as Donald Trump's claim that global warming doesn't really exist and is an invention of China.

Any success that can be attributed to the 3DS is in spite of 3D. There's the early price cut that resulted in Nintendo posting their first fiscal year loss since they had entered the video game business. There's the 2DS which was not planned and only exists because the market's rejection of 3D was so strong that Nintendo became convinced that such a desperate move is necessary to stabilize the platform. There's the New 2DS XL which gave consumers finally a fair choice between 3DS and 2DS, because the initial 2DS did not have a clamshell design; and what do we see consumers choosing? They buy the New 2DS XL in higher numbers than the 3DS models now. 

And finally, there's Switch. If 3D was a success like the OP wants you to believe, then why is it non-existent in Switch? If 3D was a selling point, then it should have become standard and Switch should be floundering for not having it; instead Switch flies off the shelves, showing how unnecessary and unwanted 3D was. Switch also casts major doubt on the belief that mobile was killing handheld gaming. I never believed it because touchscreen inputs are so limited that they in turn greatly limit the variety of games. But those who did believe it and probably still believe it... they should really ask themselves if it isn't more probable that self-inflicted damage by Nintendo was a much bigger cause of the decline from DS to 3DS.

As for the Virtual Boy, the story is that Yokoi was opposed to releasing it in the state that it was. I've touched on this in my first post in this thread.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club