I’m beginning to think Nintendo has swung like a pendulum from extreme over-confidence in the 3DS prior to its launch to extreme under-confidence in the system’s quality now that it’s actually available.

Think back to last summer, when the 3DS was the surprise hit of the 2010 E3 show. Press and analysts couldn’t stop marveling at the quality and simple wow-factor of the glasses-free stereoscopic 3D technology.

The impressive gimmick, combined with Nintendo’s unblemished track record in dominating the portable gaming market for decades, led many inside and outside Nintendo to think the 3DS would be as big or bigger than the insanely successful DS.

Fast forward to March, when initial sales for the 3DS came in much lower than expected worldwide. Nintendo’s first reaction, afteracknowledging the problem, was cutting the price by nearly a third much sooner than anyone expected, and offering a parcel of free, downloadable games by way of apology to early adopters.

The move may have been prudent, but coming from a company that was very recently arguing that consumers should be willing to spend extra money for “high-value” games, it’s a move that didn’t reflect confidence in the hardware.

Then came today’s revelation, via a Famitsu article, that Nintendo is planning to release an optional “expansion slide pad” attachment that adds a second slide pad along the right side of the system. It’s as if Nintendo is telling consumers, “Not only was the hardware we released a few months ago too expensive, but it’s also not well-suited to control today’s games as is. BUY IT TODAY!”

(full article)