Discussion Point: Nintendo Pro

 

Back in November 2006 Nintendo launched it’s most successful home console, the Wii. The Wii was revolutionary in how the player interacted with the TV via it’s unique motion-controlled Wii Remote. Along with the Wii Remote, Nintendo released a slew of brand-new peripherals to enhance the player’s gaming experience. Among the line-up of new accessories, Nintendo introduced it’s traditional controller solution dubbed “The Classic Controller”. And I wasn’t too fond of it.

Nintendo's controllers have seen better days.

It’s not that I didn’t like the Classic Controller, it just felt like a step backwards for the Big N. Of all of Nintendo’s crazy controller designs, this one seemed the most bland and boring. Although I give credit to it’s generous D-pad and clicky face buttons, I couldn’t forgive the analogue sticks that were too close to each other, the awkward positioning of the “ZL” and “ZR” shoulder buttons and the overall general feel of a PlayStation 2 controller. As you would  have guessed I was delighted to hear that Nintendo was redesigning the Classic Controller in 2009 to launch alongside the highly anticipated Monster Hunter Tri game. Although it wasn’t until April of 2010 that America would get the new controller, I welcomed the addition of the Classic Controller Pro.

Ah, a little better.

The Classic Controller Pro fixed a few of the qualms that I had with the original: better analogue sticks, ergonomic grips and the option to get black as a color. As welcomed as these changes were its too bad to see this controller look even more like a Playstation 2 controller, they axed the analogue shoulder buttons and there was still no rumble feedback. I also really wanted a wireless option, as being tethered to a “wireless” device just doesn’t sit right with me. But you have to pick your battles, and Nintendo seemed to have  won a small battle with their new controller. Still, the question remains…. why didn’t they do that in the first place?

Fast forward to 2012, and Nintendo has been on a roller coaster during the past year. Huge forecast drops, slow sales of their new handheld, the Nintendo 3DS, a sudden price drop, then finally sales doing pretty dang well. Riding on the waves of it’s success, Nintendo then announced a new peripheral called the Circle Pad Pro. The main idea behind the Circle Pad Pro was to add a second analogue stick to the 3DS and enhance player input for better accuracy in games. It wasn’t a shock to find out the main reason for releasing the peripheral was to sell alongside the new Monster Hunter 3G game, either. Nintendo must think that it’s “Pro” players are Monster Hunter players, which makes sense right? Well “Pros” must like functionality over beauty, because… well, look at the majestic device:

Making the Game Gear look good.

Well, it’s nice that Nintendo cares enough about the players’ safety because why else would such a dedicated, hard-working company add a safety flotation device to a handheld? Or a TV dinner tray? Honestly people, I could keep going, it really never gets old when you take a good look at that ugly tumor. Can you blame me? How else could I cope when I heard that my beloved company released such a hideous device? Is this the price I pay to go Pro by making  me leave my “handheld” at  my house? And why didn’t Nintendo just add the functionality in the first place? So many questions for a company that almost always gets things right the first time. I know, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Besides this thing has such a niche market you can probably find TONS of these things laying around in stores right? WRONG.

Just a week after the Circle Pad Pro goes on sale I see this:

 

Really? And still 5 days of bidding left to go.

$36 dollars with 5 bids on eBay? The crazy thing is there are 5 days left of bidding! Is this also a problem on other sites?

Yep. $50, no joke.

Sure is. Marketplace giant Amazon.com has sellers selling the device for $50. Nintendo mysteriously only sold the Circle Pad Pro through GameStop for a MSRP of $20 and on the store section of Nintendo’s official website. So based on the price hikes from other stores, this must be sold out everywhere, right? Actually, it’s not.

At the time of this writing, Nintendo.com still has these add-ons for the normal price of $20. I do admit that I had to call 5 GameStops the day of release to even track one down, and Matt has written an article about the rarity of the device. But why aren’t people at least  buying these from the Nintendo online store? People aren’t really stupid, especially soon-to-be Nintendo Pros, so why then aren’t they buying it for normal price? I’m really not sure why. Nintendo announced that it would be selling the peripheral alongside GameStop, so people know, right? I want people to enjoy this device, but not at the expense of their bank account or their dignity. Hopefully this article will get the word out and people will see that they can give their wallets a break. A big question I would like to ask Nintendo is why are they making it hard for players to find the Circle Pad Pro? Don’t they want to get advanced functionality into the hands of its players? What does it take to be a Nintendo Pro?

 

I sure hope this will exist soon.

 

This conundrum leaves us discussing the inevitable; the revision of the 3DS. Brian made an awesome mock-up of the device that could be called the 3DS Pro. Nintendo is a prideful company, and it’s image is important. They want a device to be sleek and compliment their history of awesome looking handhelds. The real question is, how soon? And will it replace the current line up of 3DS systems or will it sell alongside the first model? My vote goes to the former and I hope they give us a few options when they introduce a revision.

I am really loving my time with the 3DS, and the Circle Pad Pro is a nice addition that addresses one of my biggest complaints about the system. I really wished that Nintendo would make this peripheral more accessible and let players experience dual-analogue on the go. But Nintendo has had their reasons in the past and I am confident that soon we will know why they decided to take this route and only let a select few go Pro.