Deciding whether to get a Nintendo 3DS Capture Card from Katsukity in Japan or Merki in Germany/Loopy in the USA? Considering I’ve got both, I’d say I’m a good judge to advise you before making your purchase. So let’s put them head-to-head… Katsukity vs Merki/Loopy!
Before we get started, let’s just clarify before things get confusing. Merki is a European distributor of Loopy’s Nintendo 3DS Capture card, so whenever I mention Merki, you can happily replace that name with Loopy if you’re in the USA. Essentially, they’re the same capture card, just from different parts of the world for convenience of shipping.
So why on Earth would you buy two Nintendo 3DS capture cards in two different devices you might ask? Well, spoiler alert: my Katsukity Nintendo 3DS card recently died. After 6 months of let’s plays and live streaming on Twitch TV, my Katsukity Nintendo 3DS totally flatlined on me. My PC no longer detects it correctly, it only ever shows up as an ‘Unknown USB Device’ and I’ve tried everything to fix it without any change. It’s dead. RIP. I learned the hard way that Katsukity isn’t especially known for the quality or longevity of their 3DS capture card installations.
I guess the real kick in the teeth is that I e-mailed Katsukity for help and asked about getting it repaired (I said I didn’t even mind paying for the repair and shipping too) yet I got no reply. Since I was really eager to get my playthrough of a new Nintendo 3DS game underway, I decided to get an emergency Nintendo 3DS with capture card pre-installed from Merki. I ordered my Nintendo 3DS Capture Card from Merki on a Friday and it arrived in the UK by Tuesday. Mind blown.
Anyway, this is gonna be slightly biased since my Nintendo 3DS Capture Card from Katsukity died, but here’s my comparison of the two (when it worked), including the overall service. Obviously I haven’t had my Merki Nintendo 3DS Capture Card as long as I’ve had my Katsukity one, so remember to take that into account too (though the installation of the micro-USB port looks a lot less fragile and less likely to break than my Katsukity Nintendo 3DS.) It’s time to put Katsukity vs Merki/Loopy…
- Katsukity ships from Japan (either a pro or a con depending on where you are in the world due to shipping times). Sending my ‘new’ Nintendo 3DS XL from the UK and waiting for it to return from Japan took 3 months (and I even paid them extra to skip the queue when told it would take longer if I didn’t… a little cheeky perhaps?)
- Katsukity will fit your Nintendo 3DS Capture Card into any model of Nintendo 3DS (original 3DS, 3DS XL, ‘new’ 3DS XL, ‘new’ 3DS, 2DS). A big deal-breaker as to why I chose Katsukity in the first place.
- Katsukity will fit a Nintendo 3DS Capture Card into your Nintendo 3DS system if you send it to them, you don’t necessarily have to buy one pre-installed.
- Katsukity creates a micro-USB port for video capture by making a small hole next to the charger port (see photo above). The change is the least noticable out of the two Nintendo 3DS capture cards but looks the least stable when you plug/unplug your micro-USB port.
- Katsukity’s technical support and general after-sales service is pretty poor/non-existent. When I e-mailed for help with repairs, they never replied.
- Katsukity’s micro-USB port can be very fragile and has been known to break easily with regular use. As you can see from the photo above, mine wasn’t installed particulary straight to begin with and it died after 6 months.
- Merki ships from Germany or USA if you get one through Loopy (either a pro or a con depending on where you are in the world due to shipping times). I ordered mine on a Friday and it arrived in the UK by Tuesday.
- Merki will only fit your Nintendo 3DS Capture Card into an original Nintendo 3DS (at the time of writing that is, there has been plans to install into 3DS XL too, but it’s never happened so far).
- Merki will fit a Nintendo 3DS Capture Card into your Nintendo 3DS system if you send it to them, you don’t necessarily have to buy one pre-installed.
- Merki removes the back of the Nintendo 3DS to attach a black panel that houses a micro-USB port for video capture (see photo above). It increases the thickness of the bottom part of the system very slightly, but it’s not particularly noticeable when playing.
- Merki & Loopy’s technical support and general after-sales service is awesome (by this, I mean he actually replies/gives a damn). Plus there’s a forum too where you can post and ask for help (it’s a little dead, but mods always seem to be active) The forum archives helped me solve a little problem I had with the 3DS viewing software on Windows 10 for example.
- Whilst Merki’s micro-USB port installation isn’t totally bomb-proof I’m sure, he’ll happily repair any issues that arise. His installations are generally a lot more reliable and he has a better reputation for this (hell, Loopy even used to fix broken Katsukity Nintendo 3DS Capture Cards because so many people complained about them dying).
So there’s my totally honest comparison of Katsukity vs Merki/Loopy’s Nintendo 3DS Capture Cards from my own personal experience. On paper, Katsukity has a lot of advantages over Merki/Loopy, which is why I chose to put up with the super long shipping times to Japan. Plus, Katsukity can install a Nintendo 3DS Capture Card into a Nintendo 3DS XL (bigger and sexier) and as a ‘new’ 3DS XL, it also has an NFC reader built in for Amiibo. Also, the micro-USB port installation is the least noticeable out of the two. It seemed like the best choice. Heck, it was the best choice.
However, the important thing to bear in mind here is, neither of those things matter when the capture card doesn’t even work anymore!! I have to admit just for the nature of being transparent: I didn’t make any special effort to protect the Nintendo 3DS XL with the Katsukity Nintendo 3DS capture card installed. We’d take it out and about the house just like any other 3DS (hell, we wanted our play coins!). But at the same time, it was always kept in a case and never experienced any wear and tear that would stress the micro-USB port. We weren’t exactly unplugging and plugging-in the micro-USB cable over and over again. It was only used to capture gameplay around 5% of its overall use.
I hope this comparison of Katsukity vs Merki/Loopy helps you to make up your mind about which one you wanna go for. There’s no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice second time around, because as I keep mentioning: my Katsukity Nintendo 3DS Capture Card is now totally dead and useless! But it’s up to you to make up your mind for yourself. I have to admit that, despite cosmetic differences, when my Katsukity Nintendo 3DS capture card worked, both capture cards performed almost identically. I personally can’t tell any difference in quality either so don’t let that put you off. I actually preferred my Katsukity card when it worked, simply because it was in a ‘new’ Nintendo 3DS XL. If only it still worked…
Anyway, let me know if you have any comments or questions about either capture card and I’ll do my best to help you make your mind up! Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post. But if you ask me, you know what I’m gonna say… Don’t be drawn in by the minor cosmetic aspects of Katsukity’s Nintendo 3DS capture card. Get a capture card installed properly by Merki/Loopy and keep it as your ‘game capture’ Nintendo 3DS. Have a ‘new’ Nintendo 3DS XL for fun or whatever, but just keep your Nintendo 3DS purely for recording gaming footage. That way, it doesn’t need to be XL, it doesn’t need to look pretty, it just needs to be reliable and capture game footage when you need it. So far, that’s what Merki’s Nintendo 3DS Capture card has been for me. Don’t forget to check out the gameplay I recorded of Kirby Planet Robobot with Merki’s Nintendo 3DS capture card below before you go!
Mark & Becky xxx