Drop it like it’s (not) hot

Hot on the heels of a temporary drop to $199.99 at several major Canadian retailers (including Best Buy and Wal-Mart), and coinciding with the release of Nintendo's latest quarterly results, slashing their profit forecast for the year by a whopping 82%, Nintendo announced today that they're dropping the price of the 3DS effective August 12 to $169.99 USD.

For those of you keeping track at home, that’s almost a third of the price gone. In unrelated news, thank goodness for price protection policies. Early adopters get a bunch of free NES and Game Boy Advance games from Nintendo’s Virtual Console service.

If you’ve bought one already, is that enough to placate you in the face of an unprecedented price drop? If you haven’t bought one already, will this convince you? And in general, is Nintendo now facing a turnaround in fortune rivaling that of Sony upon the release of the PS3?

  1. Is this that surprising? Especially in an economic downturn- Many families still consider the GBA “just fine”, I’m not sure that a 4th iteration of the DS hardware was a great idea. We had the DS, the DSLite, the DSi. They didn’t do a great job of distinguishing this one from the rest of the line.

  2. IMO, distinguishing itself isn’t the biggest problem for the 3DS. It’s the fact that there are basically no worthwhile games for it aside from arguably Ocarina which is a port/remake.
    If they had launched with Mario, Pokemon, Zelda, Dragon Quest, Castlevania, & Metroid that didn’t suck and were new, not just ports/remakes they would have been fine even at the old price. (I know that’s more than any previous Nintendo system has launched with, but point still stands).

  3. Incidentally, this totally screws Sony’s NGP/Vita (assuming it wasn’t dead in the water like 3DS anyways due to idevice competition*), because one of their bullet points was “we’ll offer better graphics etc. but be priced competitively with the 3DS”. Yeah, not so much on the price anymore. Can’t really see them dropping the price before the thing’s even launched.

    *sure, you can argue that the gaming experience on non-idevices is superior but $1 to $5 versus $40 games is going to make a difference for some significant proportion of people.

  4. Is it surprising the 3DS got a price cut? Not really. Is it surprising it got a price cut of a third of its original price, a mere four months after its release? It was to me!

  5. More info: the new price apparently means the 3DS is now selling at a loss, says Bloomberg Japan. (link goes to Andriasang)

  6. This is the sort of surprise that will mean me probably picking up a 3DS in a couple weeks. Apparently the differential is enough to get me into “well there will probably be enough good games for it eventually” territory whereas the original price wasn’t happening.

  7. The first comment on that page, chrominance, suggests that the original Japanese article does not in fact say the 3DS will now be selling at a loss (and running it through google translate, I don’t see anything in the article suggesting it as well).

    Some info:

    This article from March claims the DSi originally cost around $75/unit to manufacture (at launch), and the 3ds costs around $100/unit to manufacture.

    And the DSi launched at $170.

    So for the new 3DS price to constitute a loss, profit for Nintendo must have been less than $25/unit at the DSi’s launch?

    My take on this is that they should have launched the 3DS at $195 at the most. And we know from comparing the numbers with the DSi (see above), that $195 would have been a sufficient price as far as profit-per-unit goes.

    My guess is that the $250 launch price was due to hubris coming out of last year’s E3 announcements, seeing the enthusiastic response, etc.

    I think they also underestimated the extent to which the enthusiasm out of E3 last year may have been due to seeing new Icarus and Mario games, both of which are still conspicuously absent from store shelves.

    A year ago I thought I would have felt compelled to buy one by now.

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