Business for the video game industry is as vibrant as ever, but the same cannot be said for Nintendo. For a company that has provided top-tier console experiences for longer than any other, Nintendo is in a tricky position and has been forced to make some drastic decisions. The most recent of which is their decision to significantly lower the retail price of the 3DS, which according to recent comments, may be more calculated than it originally seemed.
Nintendo’s announcement that the 3DS will be getting an $80 price cut (for a new suggested retail of $169.99) less than five months after its release date is definitely surprising, but may not be the desperate last-ditch effort many have claimed. Nintendo will no longer make a profit selling the 3DS hardware, but the price-drop will bring in a host of new players, and the “twenty free games” promotion is sure to make existing 3DS owners more excited about the handheld.
With this in mind, the comments made by Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata during a recent investors briefing, make more sense. Last Friday, Iwata claimed that part of the reason for the 3DS’ upcoming price-drop is based on lessons the company has learned from GameCube. There’s no question that the GameCube didn’t quite compete with the original Xbox and PlayStation 2 in the way Nintendo had hoped, and Iwata stated that many still at the company feel that the console was somewhat of missed opportunity.
The lesson Nintendo learned from their experience with the GameCube probably has to do with waiting too long to drop the console’s price, as the system didn’t go down in price until more than two years after it was first launched. If they had lowered the price sooner, a sales boost might have come in time to help sell more games and pull Nintendo out of its slump.
Whatever the reason, many gamers and consumers still perceive the 3DS price-drop as a sign of desperation. To remedy this and get back on track, Nintendo needs to build back trust, focus on delivering quality games for the 3DS, and make sure that people that do purchase a 3DS are satisfied.
Is the 3DS price-drop really a calculated move, or do you still think it’s a last-ditch effort to save the Nintendo that we all know and love?
The Nintendo 3DS will drop down to a suggested retail price of $169.99 on August 12.