Project Natal (Kinect) and 3DS

June 14, 2010

Today MSFT demoed Natal (now renamed 3DS) at the annual E3 convention.  The response has been largely positive (although no effect on the stock price which is to be expected given the tiny cashflow impact on xbox in the massive windows/office dominated conglomerate that is MSFT) from the media and gamers.

Tommorow will be Nintendo’s chance to show that it can still innovate.  Coming off the last cycle with its two out of the park home runs, expectations are running high.  At ANT we are hoping to see a number of things:

Firstly the 3D better be good, not gimmicky good, its gotta be brag to your friends and show your grandma good. 

Second, is Nintendo starting to build out its online services.  Apple has leveraged the App Store to offer low cost games that could never sell at retail but are adored by short attention span consumers.  Such a feature should be core to the 3DS.

Finally, it would be nice to see Nintendo move away from its current strategy which seems require betting the company every time the video game cycle ends (this was formally every 5 years but seems to be stretching out to 10 years which is a plus).  It would be nice to see the start of a software upgradeable platform ecosystem starting to takehold.  This would be modelled off Apple’s strategy and would allow multi device software to create network effects the way the App store has for iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad.  ANT believes that hte next refresh of Apple TV will make use of the App store and thereby challenge NTDOY in the living room.  Apple should consider releasing a Macbook air style laptop where is it dual screen so that the bottom screen is touch keyboard.  This would provide another outlet for apps (i.e. proper laptops) and would signal a time to sell the PC software distributors (not sure if any exist at this point though).

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