Saturday, September 24, 2011

What's Next?

'What's next' is always a fun question and has been one I've been asking myself lately.  While I think the Wii has a great deal of gaming life left (*), it's certainly hit the sunset in terms of new development.  I know new games are being released, though I don't see a ton of content that's appealing.

(*) Gaming life as in titles I've yet to complete, previously released games I haven't purchased and unique WiiWare titles that somehow squeak through.  For example I've been going through Liight this month and it's been a great deal of fun.  For $5 it's a no brainer.  (released in March'2011)

While I have been thinking about this for some time now, some extra funds in the way of birthday gift cards put a new spin on price.  Some of these costs, yes even the 3DS, don't seem so bad when they can be offset or eliminated.  :)

It's pretty clear what the options are and here are some brief thoughts:

Wii U

  On one hand it's kind of exciting that a Nintendo console will [hopefully] be able to compete with Microsoft and Sony for AAA titles that we've been missing out on.  On another it's not clear if they are going to implement storage and online well or if it's going to be a system that surges ahead horsepower-wise, but continues to be two generations behind with connectivity, social aspects and downloadable content.

  As for timeframe I don't see it being an issue to wait for another 6-12 months, it's more a factor of them providing a solid alternative to the PS3 or 360.


  I've had mixed feelings on the 3DS and even contradicted myself over the past 7 months or so.  The range of perspectives has gone from not seeing a use for a DS on the go (just use a laptop, gosh I'm not a kid!), to playing some games on my android phone to considering a more robust gaming experience in a small form factor.  Some of my other motivations are to be able to game without leaving the living room to go to where my Wii is hooked up.  Whether or not the Wii U satisfies that last item via the use of the tablet is yet to be seen.

Potential Pros: 
  • Very nice looking and crisp display.
  • Backwards compatibility with DS titles.  (though I hear they may be a bit blurry)
  • Being able to play the latest and greatest games.
  • Downloadable content and access to virtual console titles.
  • Much richer experience than with phone games.  (i'll hold my rovio/angry birds rant for another post)
  • Mobile and/or flexible gaming where I'm not attached to a tv.
  • Price - $250 was waaaayyyy too steep, but I can probably go for $169.
  • [edit]  Forgot about the AR card games.  I didn't quite get it at first, but they do seem cool.

Potential cons:
  • Fairly sparse game selection up to this point.  The next three months should be interesting as some of the E3 announcements looked very cool.  (kid icarus, luigi's mansion 2, mk7, starfox, etc.)
  • eShop - Seems cool, though I hear it's still cumbersome and sort of last-gen.
  • 3D - I currently don't care about the 3D "effect".  I know I'm going to need time to adjust to it, though my brief demos in Best Buy left me with a headache for a few hours and a slightly odd feeling in my stomach.
  • Will there be a redesign in 2012 for another circle pad?
  • Friend codes:  They haven't died yet have they?  I guess it's better with not having per-game FC's right?  Is there anything you can really do now as far as easily communicating with friends?
  • [edit] Battery life.
  • [edit] Screen scratching due to each side vibrating / rubbing against another?  (link)


  While I feel a Wii U or 3DS is an easier "fit", I often think about how a PS3 would factor into my gaming schedule, the associated costs and it's lifespan.  With sony dropping the 250GB base unit to $249, 320GB at $299 and move bundle at $349 it starts to bring it to a price point I'm more comfortable with.

  I think this and the 360 is really based on how the Wii U turns out as I would like some modern gaming without having to get a good PC at some point in the future.

PS Vita

Looked very cool from what I saw at E3 and it should be interesting to see the price point now that the 3DS has dropped.  I'd probably be missing something without a PS3, but I don't really know about the integration at this point.

XBOX 360

There's a pretty slim chance I'd get a 360 right now in all honesty.  I have no problem with the 360 itself, but am not too keen with the online subscription part of it.  I don't have a core group of friends that are all online with their 360's fragging away, so there's no immediate reason (D00D- gears 3!!) for me to get one.


"Gee, based on the amount of text you typed in each section, which one are you leaning towards?"  I know, it's laid on a bit heavy for the 3DS right now.  I'm still trying to balance out the features vs potential issues, but in all honesty it might be the best option at this time.  I probably wouldn't get a Wii U until 2014 and this would fit right in between while I can use my Wii and laptop for years to come.

I didn't include PC gaming since I don't see myself putting that kind of money into a larger desktop or gaming rig at this time.  Though another consideration is just putting the gift money directly into Wii and PC games (amazon).  With my kind of deal hunting I can get quite a few games if I don't sink it into a console...

What console or gaming systems are you looking at next or planning for down the road?


  1. Good morning!

    For me, it's been a see-saw between 3DS and Vita. Wii U I'm just not sold on - I'll probably make it be out for awhile and prove itself first. 3DS has some awesome titles on the way. However, I've been more impressed with the Vita since its announcement. Thhhheeen 3DS dropped in price, which has me back on the fence, but - I think I'll topple off of the fence and into the Vita's yard. I have about $150 on my gamestop card right now, and by spring I'll have well over $300 between giftcards I get from online surveys, nearly have enough gamestop 'points' for a $50 card, and inevitably more tradeins. I could get the $250 vita and a game or two at that point.

    For your consideration as well - I was reading about a PS3/uncharted 3 bundle on IGN:

    Comes with Uncharted 3, 320GB version of the PS3 plus a free month of Playstation Plus. :)

  2. I know what you mean. I'd love to be sold on the WiiU, but need to see it out in the wild some before stepping off the cliff.

    LBP and uncharted for Vita, that's tempting. Pretty cool ps3 bundle too.

    So yeah, lots more waffling and I'm not sure what the best route is. I certainly know that I don't want to miss out on Nintendo IP's in the future whether it's 3DS or WiiU. Where's that money tree to fill in all the other gaps? :)

  3. See, and that's the one thing that kills me about the 3DS or even Wii U - those first party Nintendo titles. They're easily among my favorites, but the 3rd party stuff doesn't usually hold up nearly as well as the other 2 major systems. Be curious to see which way you eventually go with it. i know being so close to 3DS land myself, it's going to be a struggle to hold out until the Vita (luckily I have a um.. *cough* new game or two to keep me busy until then, plus that whole blogging thing)

  4. Yeah, this blogging thing really takes some time!!

    Been checking out the vita more and it's some impressive tech for sure along with some cool games. Bad part is that for $250-300 that brings me back to the PS3 range.

    Just give me 24 hours and I'll have another angle to waffle on. Besides, where's ol'BitNick to talk us into the 3DS? :)

    Have also been checking out more 3DS videos like Mario Kart7 and some other titles. Pretty cool stuff and certainly more fodder for that side of the fence. Right now it's mainly concern over the battery and possible redesign with a second circle..

  5. Right? BitNick's slacking big time anymore, sheesh. :) See, some of the first party titles look great, like mario kart, icarus, luigi's mansion 2, etc. But yeah, if I had to pick ps3 or vita, and didn't have either? I'd prolly wind up in PS3 land. But, seeing as I have that covered, for me the next 3 to consider are wii u, 3ds and vita.

  6. It's like he's busy with a life and all kinds of responsibilities... ;)

    I'm actually not sure if having a PS3 makes your decision easier or harder at this point. In some ways it may be more difficult as it's pretty easy for me to fall back to a PS3 when I balance the mobile vs HD console aspect.

    Or maybe I can just talk about it to death and never make a decision. lol

    I actually did stop by Gamestop at lunch to demo the 3DS and played DOA Dimensions for a few minutes. The 3D was pretty cool and I adjusted it all around before leaving it on high for a few rounds. (game seemed cool too, but super easy which I'm sure is what they were going for in a demo) My eyes and head did seem a little, uh, "off" for a few minutes when leaving, but not nearly as bad as when I demoed Pilot wings in April.

    All in all it was enjoyable and I'm really looking forward to some of the titles coming out in the next few months. (if I do end up with a 3ds, which is looking more probable each day) Got a bunch of them on an amazon wishlist for reference and price comparison when I need them.

    One unrelated thing at gamestop that struck me was the used game prices. You probably know what I mean, but they were trying to sell things like the New SMB Wii for $44 used where I can get it for new on Amazon for $40-44 right now. Maybe there's a Gamestop points or member thing that makes more of a difference, but I wasn't impressed with any of their prices.

  7. Pfft. Real life. Who wants one of those?

    For me, I think the Vita plays nicer w/ the PS3. I've read all kinds of stuff about being able to put some PS3 games on there, that sort of thing. I also have downloaded PSP games I could put on. It seems I'm a bit heavily invested in Sony - but that being said, I've traditionally wound up with just about all of the Big N's toys at one point or another (Virtual Boy excluded)

    Yeah, some of the used game places are just behind on the times, honestly. There's another one, Disc Traders, where I'm at - sometimes they have awesome prices. My kid got a Lost Planet game for like $3. They also had Mario Galaxy for $26 used. Considering you can get it new now as a Selects title for $20, that was kind of mind-boggling to me.

    Definitely have to be looking for certain things or certain deals. Amazon usually has some decent used game prices - and it's even better if you get it shipped from Amazon because you can get free shipping if you rack up a big enough tab. There's some other decent online places - seems to have pretty solid prices, and there's a use game service through that seems okay priced too.

    For me? Usually I hit Gamestop when I see a title that is really cheap - and has been out for awhile, and generally take advantage of deals they might have at the time (like buy 2 get 1 free or something). I don't generally buy a single title from them anymore for the reason you saw - they still charge too much compared to other places online.

  8. RL is overrated..

    I can see it now, you get a Vita at release and the 3DS lite/revision2 in late 2012 or 2013..

    Funny you should mention Galaxy as it was $24 (used) at gamestop, though to their credit people are trying to sell the new non-selects on amazon for $22-28. Maybe they're just waiting for someone looking for a gift who hasn't done their research?

  9. And then there's the fact that the 3DS will no doubt get a makeover. It's like Capcom with their fighter titles (Time for an Ultimate super hyper perky spiffy Street Fighter 4.5!) - so I figure I have time to wait as they figure out what they're doing going forward, but I do believe I'm pretty much sold on the Vita.

    And yeah, I actually asked the guy at Disc Traders about it and he's like: well, we get the titles in, and we price based on quantity in stock at the time, but sometimes it takes a while for us to go back through and change the prices.

    The other thing I had noticed in the past and asked about, was I had found two copies of a game or movie title, and they were priced different, and he said it was sort of the same thing. Maybe the one that was $15 came in when they had less in stock, and the $12 came in when they had more.

    Still, the lack of uniformity struck me as odd.

  10. Pretty sure I've talked myself into a 3DS, but the thought of a redesign soon still bugs me. Now if it were in spring 2013, two years after release, that's not so bad. Though spring/fall of 2012 is fairly soon and I'd hate to miss out on those potential improvements. I'm sure BigN is going to be dead silent about this to not affect any surge in the holiday sales. I have to imagine there are numbers of people waiting for the big titles to release before jumping in.

    I think I'm also going to get another $75 amazon card through my health ins policy for doing the annual health survey thing. ChaChing! Hey, the 160GB PS3 is selling for $225 through a 3rd party vendor now on amazon.....

    Actually I'll probably just work on fleshing out my nerd spreadsheet of costs including the potential 3DS games I'm looking at.

    That's interesting on the disc traders thing. I suppose I understand if there is considerable fluctuation in stock, but it seems like there should be more consistency and understanding of what's happening out in the real world on new prices.

  11. Nothing wrong w/ the decision to go 3DS - there's some very cool games in there I'm interested in too. The $75 amazon card bonus thing is also cool - I have no such offers unfortunately. Intreting about the 160GB PS3 though, that's not a bad price. Your nerd spreadsheet of costs - I like that name. What all are you plotting out on it? System, most wanted games, things like that?

  12. The $75 was a pretty nice bonus and helps me stock up on another two games. I also started this online wellness coach thing for $25, but will not have enough time to complete before we switch carriers.. oh well.

    I do nerd sheets all the time especially when making purchases and trying to balance out several options. Though for this one it's just a simple summary of the overall $$ impact broken up in several categories. One of those things where the costs can really add up quickly even with gift cards involved. :)

    - Hardware/Accessories + "Must have" games
    - Gift card credit
    - net difference
    - optional games I'm still considering
    - overall total

    Probably will do another post about the target games and see what others are playing.

    Though other sheets are much more involved like when we were looking at cell phones/plans two years ago. Was factoring in 3 carriers to consider various things like a 25% employee discount at one vs phone cost vs service vs coverage, how that will impact our monthly bill and overall two-year expenses compared to what we were paying. It was a situation where we could downgrade to basic phones and save quite a bit due to the smartphone/data plan work is paying for.

  13. "Pretty sure I've talked myself into a 3DS, but the thought of a redesign soon still bugs me."

    See, after sitting on the sideline and reading the post, then the's this piece that makes me glad I still don't have a 3DS.
    Being that we know Japan is getting the circle pad attachment, and the DS was redesigned at least twice, I'm thinking I'll hold off until at least next year for the 3DS...though, I'm not in your situation so a new portable gaming device could be the way to go. Though(here comes the wild card!), have you considered just getting a regular Nintendo DS?
    You can get a used one for under $75, and it has a great assortment of games...though the 3DS does have the updated interface, Netflix, better online(I guess), and nicer graphics...

  14. @Incomplete - interesting. I'll be honest, I've never really tried a very logical breakdown like that when considering systems, but you know what? It might be an interesting exercise as I waffle around Vita/Wii U/3DS

    @coffee - I'm so glad the regular DS's are cheaper too. Mostly because of my daughter, whose cartridge slot broke (again) so all she can play is GBA games (one of the advantages to DS/DS-Lite imo)

    The new bells and whistles to the 3DS definitely have me interested in that over a standard DS - but I know what you mean about how you're kind of glad you sat it out until now. The ambassador program was neat - but for me? Not a big deal - I'd prefer the discounted price. Why? I'm probably one of the few guys out there who still has most of those original games. ;)

    My biggest challenge is holding out until the Vita comes out, and not picking up a 3DS first when I get sucked into a few of their titles I want to play more. :)

    - also: great topic you got going here. Lots of discussion!

  15. - also: great topic you got going here. Lots of discussion!

    I appreciate that and for you guys sharing some thoughts. That was exactly what I was after with the post to see where things went after thinking and discussing even though I was sort of pointed at the 3DS already.

    @Coffee: That's an interesting wild card with the DS and it's something that's flashed across my attention several times, but hadn't given it any serious consideration. Some random thoughts on that:

    - Great price and game selection.
    - Pretty sure there's an older Tetris (which I hear some prefer over Tetris: axis for 3DS), mario kart and "new" Super Mario Bros.
    - No worries about my eyes going bonkers on 3D.
    - Battery life is awesome from what I hear.

    - No downloadable unless I get DSi (I think)
    - Sinking less initial money into a device and not being able to play some of the latest stuff. (though there is something to be said for DS titles that aren't $40/ea) I'm typically not a 1st adopter/latest tech kind of guy. Though my gut tells me that I wouldn't really be satisified with a DS so that may not be the best investment right now.


    I still believe that a 2013 redesign is acceptable for me to not feel like I've been screwed over. (unlike with my iPod nano where they came out with a new one very soon that had a camera, FM radio and other stuff. !!) At least with 2013 I can justify that I've had X timeframe of gaming whereas if I had waited I would have been without or only PC/Steam games. The circle "boat" attachment is a mild concern and I suppose if there were any real games that I wanted that used/required it, I would be more fired up.


    I know I've had various offline conversations with both of you and events in the near future have a role in shaping my decision. With any luck we'll be moving across the country in several weeks. We've decided to not buy a house immediately so most of our stuff, likely to include the Wii, is going to be in storage. Combine that with baby #2 and console/PC gaming personally looks slightly less attractive which is where I think the 3DS could be a good fit. Even with my laptop there's the whole startup/prep/connect-the-gamepad thing whereas handheld gaming is right there and can be picked up or stopped quickly. At least that's a driving force behind it and who knows, maybe I'm wrong. :) I do know that going strictly on android games just isn't going to cut it beyond short spurts.

    @Chalgyr: Sounds like the DS is just the right price if needed for replacement especially considering the GBA support. I'm with you on the Ambassador program. Really awesome that they did something to not leave customers out in the cold and some nice games in there, but ah, I'll be glad to take my $80 and either put it towards two new titles or a handful of exactly what I want.

    Don't worry, we have faith that you can hold out until the Vita hits. 12/31, right, or was that just a generic date Amazon slapped on there?

    Thanks again for the comments and keep the ideas coming!

  16. @Chalgyr: Regarding the spreadsheets, I should note that sometimes I get too wrapped up in them, and end up getting burned out with all the effort. Sort of like some of the research and analysis is more fun than what I'm actually trying to accomplish..

    But really it does help at times even if it's just more of an eye opener to see the full dollar impact in black and white.

  17. @Incomplete - Vita date - I think that's just generic at this point. I heard early next year - so first or 2nd quarter? Not sure

    On a related note, I liked the list of 3DS games in the other post

    As for the downloaded content remark above, yes - DSi I believe is the first one that allows for that. My son likes the flipnotes program on his DSi too, and never downloaded any games until it - so I think that's the first iteration that allows for downloaded games. It also plays better with different kinds of routers. My girls both have just DSlites and they can't do any online because their systems don't support our router's security type.

  18. @Chalgyr: I see, just their end-of-year thing when they don't know.

    Thanks again for the feedback on the 3DS games. Always nice to hear about games I missed, dismissed or opinions on ones I'm on the fence with.

    That makes sense now with the DSi/DSiXL, I thought that was the case. Do the DSLites only support something like WEP and not WPA/WPA2? I disabled WEP years ago on ours when my Palm Tungsten C finally died.

  19. Precisely - DS and DSLite only support WEP and I've got the WPA/WPA2 on my router, which did not get support until DSi - though in fairness the prior 2 DS iterations just connected for games like Pokemon - no online shop/flipnotes/etc. For me, the 3DS is the way to go if you go for a "DS" of some sort. 3DS... Vita... Vita... 3DS. Good thing I have that stack of new Sega Steam games to keep me busy.