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Does The Nintendo 3DS Price Drop Foretell Trouble?

July 29, 2011

Early adopters of fresh gadgets may feel slighted after purchasing the Nintendo 3DS portable game machine. Nintendo has announced a significant drop in price of its flagship product from a listed $250 to $170 to take effect on August 12, MSNBC is reporting.

The price drop is virtually unprecedented for such a new and highly publicized game system and comes alongside of Nintendo releasing their financial earnings report for the months of April, May and June ““ a report that showed that a mere 710,000 3DS devices were sold worldwide during that time, well below expectations.

Hoping the price cut will help turn things around, the company says it still expects to sell 16 million 3DS gadgets worldwide by the end of the fiscal year next March.

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime stated in a press release, “For anyone who was on the fence about buying a Nintendo 3DS, this is a huge motivation to buy now.”

Many tech watchers expressed concern early on that the Nintendo 3DS price was too high when it launched. Gamers also point out that a lack of inspiring games available at launch left them less-than-eager to pony up for the device. Also there have been complaints about dizziness and headaches from game play on the 3-dimensional screen.

Other pundits point to the success of the iPad and iPhone in taking the punch out of Nintendo. With its near-limitless platform for games, media and social networking, the Apple mobile devices make a tall and wide obstruction to winning the hearts of customers.

Game developers are releasing new and innovative titles for Apple’s iOS at a furious pace and the quality on many of them is tremendous. The prices for these games are also near impossible to beat with most of them available for under $5.00 and many under $1.00 or even free.

Free is difficult to beat when you are the company depending on purchased games. To help ease the pain for those who purchased the 3DS early, Nintendo will offer 20 free downloadable games to “anyone who owns a Nintendo 3DS system and uses a wireless broadband internet signal to connect to the Nintendo eShop at least once before 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Aug. 11,” USA Today reports.

Those owners will then be enrolled in a 3DS Ambassadors program, allowing them to download 10 NES Virtual Console games (Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda are among options) and 10 Game Boy Advance titles free of charge. The NES games will be available September 1, and GBA games later this year.

If Nintendo gains some sales traction with this promotion, will Sony also feel pressured to drop the price on its forthcoming PlayStation Vita game gadget? The Vita, which launches later this year or early next year, is a very different machine.

However the Vita, like the 3DS, is a handheld device, and like the 3DS it could have trouble selling, especially with Sony announcing that the basic model will run $249 with a more expensive 3G model priced at $299.

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