Nintendo has announced that the price of the 3DS portable game console is being dropped from $249.99 to $169.99 on August 12th. If you do the math, that’s a 32% price cut for a console that’s less than 5 months old. Nintendo couldn’t have picked a louder way of announcing to the world that sales of the 3DS suck.
According to Game Informer, Nintendo will be taking a loss for every $170 3DS they sell. Never in the company’s history have they taken a loss on hardware sales, even though both Microsoft and Sony engage in the practice even now. The thinking is pretty obvious: sell lots more consoles at a cheaper price, and make up for that lost revenue with loads of game sales. Retail sales of the 3DS handheld console have been less than the company hoped for almost from the start, so apparently they felt that something drastic had to be done. But it’s still kind of a surprise that the big N would sacrifice a bit of its pride this way. That’s never been how Nintendo does business.
Nintendo also announced a plan to keep current 3DS owners (and owners who buy the device before August 12th) from crying foul: early adopters will be automatically enrolled in the “Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program,” which will entitle those players to 10 NES Virtual Console game downloads and 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games by the end of this year, all for free. The NES games — which will become paid games at some point, available to everyone, but which “Ambassadors” will get to own early, and for free — include the original Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Jr., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber, the first Legend of Zelda, and more. The 10 Game Boy Advance games will not be made available to the public, ever; they will be exclusive to Ambassador members. These titles include Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare Inc., Mega Microgame$, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, and four more yet to be announced.
So… Do you think the 3DS will ever match or surpass its predecessor (the DS) in popularity? And does this price drop make you want to own a 3DS more than before?