TechRadar reports that the Nintendo 3DS is selling poorly compared to expectations, with the company now being bolstered by the Wii U. Nintendo blames the games:

During the three months ended June 2011, for the Nintendo 3DS The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was launched and favourably received, but Nintendo had few other hit titles

Big fucking surprise there, then. This is what has always happens with Nintendo handhelds. A few hit titles are rolled out, but the games releases rapidly trend towards Pony Game 7 and Pointless Dolly Dress-Up Bullshit 4. The difference this time round though is that Nintendo has massive competition from Apple. Instead of rushing out to buy a Nintendo DS with 3D, kids can for roughly the same price buy an iPod that:

  • shoots HD video;
  • connects to the internet, for Facebook, web browsing, and so on;
  • stores and plays music, and;
  • offers a staggeringly large games catalogue, with each title costing less than its 3DS equivalent.

On that last point, it’s still commonplace for Nintendo fans to claim the App Store is full of shitty games, and that happens to be absolutely true. But the App Store also has about 40,000 games at the time of writing. If only one in a hundred is worth playing, that still leaves you with 400 games. In my experience writing for Tap!, I’d say that ratio’s out anyway, because I find something new and exciting to play—often costing nothing or priced under a few quid—every single day. I own a ton of fantastic games across all genres, and many of these games have appeared since the 3DS arrived.

Nintendo isn’t doomed. Writing off the company would be ridiculous, since it is generally pretty smart and the closest thing to Apple in gaming, daring to innovate. But it dropped the ball on this generation’s handhelds, trying to eke out another round from an old idea while Apple blazed past with something new. Apple should perhaps be wary now, because, historically speaking, leaders in the games industry have tended to get complacent, allowing rivals to steam ahead. This appears to be the case with Nintendo now, so perhaps it can fight back next time round. If not, it’ll be increasingly reliant on its TV consoles, and if they go belly-up, it’ll be the latest Sega.