Nintendo is as guilty as anyone of buying into the 3D hype, not because it released a 3D handheld console, but because it grossly overestimated how much mobile gamers would be willing to pay to see Mario and Co. jump around in a third dimension. There exists a market for the 3DS, just not a very big one at the $250 launch price. But what about at $170?
It appears Nintendo found the sweet spot, or at least a place where 3D gamers are willing to congregate. Citing statistics from market research firm NPD Group, Nintendo said it sold more than 235,000 3DS consoles in the United States last month, making it the second best selling dedicated game system in August. Out of those, 185,000 flew off store shelves following the drastic price cut on August 12, a 260 percent increase compared to the 19 days before.
"Consumers are responding very positively to the new suggested retail price of $169.99 for the Nintendo 3DS," said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. "With Star Fox 64 3D and the new Flame Red color launching tomorrow, and Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 arriving later this year, Nintendo 3DS will offer consumers cutting-edge entertainment and tremendous value this holiday season."
The price cut wasn't without controversy. Nintendo isn't known for slashing prices so quickly, and certainly not to that extent. Nintendo's massive price reduction caught early adopters off-guard, who essentially paid an $80 premium to have the console in their hands at most 19 days before those who jumped in after the cut. To make amends, Nintendo introduced an "Ambassador Program" for early adopters, a consolation of prize of sorts comprised of 20 free downloadable games (10 NES Virtual Console games and 10 GBA Virtual Console games).