Nintendo came under fire earlier in the month as UK press reported that thousands of British consumers claimed to suffer from headaches and dizziness after playing the new Nintendo 3DS console. Launched on March 25, the console allows players to see action in 3D without the need to wear special glasses. The device works by flashing separate images into each eye, creating the illusion of depth.
The initial excitement surrounding the launch of the Nintendo 3DS, which saw hundreds of eager gamers queue for hours to be the first to own one of the consoles, has been overshadowed by reports of unhappy customers complaining of feeling unwell after playing the console, and furthermore being refused full refunds as the products are not deemed faulty. As a precaution, Nintendo now advise that children under seven stick to playing the 2D version of the DS, as well as recommending that gameplay sessions for 3DS users are restricted to 30 minutes.
Looking at Buzz scores for Nintendo DS they echo this story with Buzz increasing in the weeks leading up to the launch as excitement around the new technology heightened. On March 1, the brand stood at 12.9 points, rising to 19.7 points as the console was launched on March 25, and reaching a peak of 24.2 points on March 30. However, as the first story broke in The Sun newspaper, on April 5, the backlash began. By April 11, Nintendo DS’ Buzz score had significantly dropped down to 10.7 points.
The good news is that brand’s Quality score has seen only a small, insignificant fall since the story broke. However, Quality, along with the other measures which are used to assess a brand’s long-term equity traditionally takes longer to shift than Buzz (the most responsive measure), so only time will tell if negative press has significantly affected the Nintendo DS brand.
Despite general negative press surrounding the 3DS and conflicting reports from Nintendo, who suggest that in fact only a handful of consoles have in reality been returned to retailers, longer term perceptions of the brand have yet to be affected.