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Is The Nintendo 3DS Already Tanking?

Tuesday Kotaku pointed out that developers are canceling their Nintendo 3DS projects left and right. Lots of them, or so it seems. It's quite possible that it's all just a coincidence, but the observation follows reports that the new handheld gaming machine is experiencing lower-than-expected sales despite a successful launch.

"Nintendo 3DS has not been selling as expected since the second week [of availability in the United States and Europe], and this is not just in the Japanese market but also in the United States and Europe, where no direct impact from the great earthquake has occurred," Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said during an investor briefing in Tokyo back in April. "Therefore, we recognize that we are in a situation where we need to step up our efforts to further promote the spread of Nintendo 3DS."

So far it doesn't appear that Nintendo's efforts have worked. EA's My Garden was originally slated as a launch title but never made it to the shelf. Saint's Row: Drive-By has also bitten the dust along with four HudsonSoft titles including Omega Five, Kororinpa: Marble Mania, Bonk, and Bomberman – the latter four may actually be the result of Konami's take-over of Hudson Soft back in January.

Kotaku also notes that Assassin's Creed: Lost Legacy has officially been canned, and Mega Man Legends 3 was canceled as of Monday. BloodRayne: The Shroud has been put on hold and DJ Hero 3 has yet to make an appearance. Crush 3D has reportedly been delayed due to uncertainly over whether or not the 3DS is actually going to succeed.

Ouch.

Is this a sign that developers are jumping the 3DS ship before it really even sets sail? Or is Nintendo cleaning out the trash, intent on not having a plethora of subpar games which have littered previous Nintendo hardware? Given that the interest in the new 3D handheld seems somewhat lackluster at this point, the former abandonment is quite possible.

Last week Nintendo announced that Netflix had finally arrived on the new platform, now available in Canada and North America. The application is free to download and install, but requires one of Netflix's new subscription plans that currently has the popular movie service wrapped up in a huge cloud of consumer backlash.

"The new Netflix application looks great, plays great and is a fantastic consumer experience," said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. "It gives Nintendo 3DS owners access to an amazing wealth of movies and TV shows, which they can watch conveniently from thousands of free Wi-Fi access points across the country. Nintendo 3DS truly offers something for everyone."

Of course, the 3DS won't find itself digging an early grave: as always, Nintendo will come to the rescue with dazzling first-party titles. The revamped Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D has already found itself in the #5 slot for the month of June, beat out by Disney Interactive's charming Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game seated in the #4 position. Both titles were the only two 3DS games that actually made the top ten in that particular month.

Did Nintendo choose the wrong path by taking the 3D route instead of developing a hardcore handheld unit like Sony’s upcoming PlayStation Vita?