Downloadable Nintendo 3DS demos arrive

Nintendo will begin offering game demos through the 3DS’s digital download platform today.

The flagship demo will be of Capcom’s Resident Evil Revelations, with titles like Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympics scheduled to get downloadable demos in the coming weeks.

“The demo program allows Nintendo 3DS players to be among the first to test-drive select games. Players can try out new genres or series, often weeks before the full versions are available in stores,” said Nintendo in a statement.

It is a welcome extension of something Nintendo still has trouble fleshing out – its online presence. While systems like the PS3, Xbox 360, and PSP offer extensive game and demo downloads, including add-on content, Nintendo has struggled to find its voice in a market where gamers are increasingly connected.

The 3DS, however, is a push in the right direction. It has a stronger focus on downloadable content than its predecessor.

Some, though, are concerned about the next home console, the Wii U. Nintendo has said next to nothing about what that console’s online footprint will be, and if it cannot stack up to the services from Sony and Microsoft it may be a flop before it hits the market.

Nintendo seems to already be getting a wake-up call from the 3DS, which suffered a very slow adoption rate at the outset but has managed to now reach more than 4 million unit sales.