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Nintendo 3DS Price Dropping to $170 July 29, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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In a shocking move, Nintendo has announced they intend to drop the price of the recently released Nintendo 3DS handheld from its launch price of $250US to $170US, a price drop of eighty dollars!

The 3DS is the successor to the extremely popular series of Nintendo handhelds, starting with the Game and Watch, moving to the extremely popular Game Boy series, and finally the Nintendo DS series of handhelds.  Since the Game Boy, Nintendo has been the clear market leader of the handheld generations, defeating such rivals as Atari, Sega and even Sony in the previous handheld generations (based upon unit sales).  It was expected by many in the gaming media that the 3DS would continue this trend and meet with massive initial sales, but once the handheld launched, sales petered out.

The 3DS has not had the initial sales that Nintendo was hoping for.  Since it’s launch it is still shy of selling one million units.  Many third party exclusive games for the platform have either been delayed or outright cancelled due to the currently low install base.

Nintendo has admitted the new price for the unit is no longer profitable for them, but they do expect it to not stay this way.  My guess is they intend to increase production of the units, which will bring costs down, but this would be a double edged sword if they exceed demand for the handheld.  They also said the reason for the price drop so soon after launch is due to harsh memories over the GameCube, and the belief if they had dropped the price of the console sooner, they could’ve had better sales in the earlier years of the console’s lifespan.  As such the GameCube finished last in the previous console generation, behind the PS2 and Xbox, and did not get the total amount of units sold they needed to consider it a success to themselves.

The price drop is expected to come in August.  I believe Nintendo is hoping to have a good price for the unit lined up before the holiday season in an attempt to become more affordable to customers in time for Christmas.  This drop is also timed to come before Sony launches their handheld, the Playstation Vita, which is expected to launch this fall at a price of $250 for WiFi only and $300 for a 3G/WiFi model.

Anyone who currently has a 3DS and bought it at the initial launch price will be given free access to a bunch of exclusive Virtual Console downloadable games.

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