Nintendo today took a bold step to reinvigorate consumer interest in its 3DS handheld, dropping the price of its 3D-enabled gaming device by $80. Effective August 12, the Nintendo 3DS will cost $169.99, down from the $249.99 price it’s maintained since its launch earlier this year.
Nintendo announced the 3DS price drop just as consumer-electronics pundits are bemoaning the state of 3D hardware sales, particularly 3D TVs, and as a study by the NPD Group shows declining consumer interest in purchasing 3D technology for their homes. Ironically, the Nintendo 3DS was the one category of 3D device whose awareness increased, although the data did not show an increase in consumers’ 3DS purchase intent. Naturally, Nintendo hopes the 3DS price drop will change that.
“For anyone who was on the fence about buying a Nintendo 3DS, this is a huge motivation to buy now,” said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “We are giving shoppers every incentive to pick up a Nintendo 3DS, from an amazing new price to a rapid-fire succession of great games.”
For Nintendo 3DS early adopters, many of whom may feel burned by the relatively sudden 3DS price drop, Nintendo is providing 20 free downloadable games from the Nintendo eShop. These free games are available to anyone who owns a Nintendo 3DS and wirelessly connects to the Nintendo eShop at least once before 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Aug. 11. Users who meet those requirements will automatically be registered in the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program, which contains two elements.
The first element starts Sept. 1, when Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors will be able to download 10 NES Virtual Console games at no charge and before they are available in the Nintendo eShop to the general public. These games, including Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Jr., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber and The Legend of Zelda, are slated to become paid downloadable games, but Ambassadors get them early and for free. Once the paid versions of the games are posted to the Nintendo eShop later in the year, the updated versions will be available to Ambassadors for download at no cost.
The second element will go into effect by the end of 2011, when Nintendo will provide Ambassadors with 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games. These include games like Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Mario vs. Donkey Kong. These games will be available exclusively to Ambassadors; Nintendo currently has no plans to make these 10 games available to the general public on the Nintendo 3DS in the future.
More than 830,000 people in the United States have purchased a Nintendo 3DS since the system’s launch on March 27. That figure is below Nintendo’s original projections.