Nintendo hasn't sold as many Wii U consoles as it hoped it would, and with both Microsoft (Xbox One) and Sony (PlayStation 4) planning to launch next generation gaming systems this holiday shopping season, a price cut seemed inevitable. And so it goes, with Nintendo today announcing a $50 price drop for the Wii U Deluxe, bringing the cost of ownership down to $300, effective September 20, 2013.
The Wii U isn't the only big console news coming from Nintendo's camp. On the mobile gaming front, Nintendo today revealed plans to launch an XL version of its 3DS console with a screen that's almost twice as large (90 percent bigger) than the original version. It will ship in North America on August 19, 2012 for $200, packing a new form factor and either red or blue digs.
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata announced a new digital network for the 3DS handheld and upcoming Wii U consoles that will finally bring the company's online operations up to par with its competitors, or so Nintendo hopes. It's called the "Nintendo Network" service, a platform that, among other things, will let gamers grab hold of gamertags. Welcome to the Internet, Nintendo, do stay awhile, would you?
Nintendo offered a couple of excuses as to why it posted significant losses for the April-December period when one year prior the numbers were looking pretty rosy. The house that Super Mario built got beat up during the nine months ended December 31, 2011, with sales totaling 556.2 billion yen, or $7.2 billion, down nearly a third from the same time period in 2010.
The economy being what it is, companies are quickly figuring out consumers don't have the same kind of disposable income to toss around as they used to. Nintendo caught on fairly fast after launching its 3DS console for $250, prompting the game maker to take a mulligan and readjust the price to $170. Here we are nine months later and the 3DS has notched over 4 million unit sales.
When the Nintendo announced that 3DS sales weren’t living up to expectations, 3D skeptics were quick pile on. The company responded by sharply cutting the price, and while I have to admit even we were skeptical, it seems to be exactly what they needed to change their fortunes. According to the NPD group, the system has sold an impressive 1.65 million units in the USA year to date, putting the handheld on track to outsell its predecessor the Nintendo DS during the same period.
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?
Maybe Joe Gamer and his friends aren't as enthused about 3D gaming as Nintendo hoped they would be. In an interview with USA Today, Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime, revealed that consumers bought just shy of 400,000 Nintendo 3DS units in the first week after the handheld game console launched. Fils-Aime tried to put a positive spin on the sales figures, but compared to Nintendo's other systems, the 3DS isn't having the same kind of impact.
Some things you definitely should not try at home, like microwaving electronic components. Leave it to the professionals and the crazies to take on such tasks, of which Kenny Irwin might be a little of both. Irwin operates the Microwave Show, a YouTube channel dedicated to popping various electronics into microwaves and recording the carnage. His latest experiment is Nintendo's 3DS handheld console.
Never mind the headaches and reported Black Screen of Death syndrome affecting some 3DS consoles, for some, the real gripe against Nintendo's latest handheld game player is the price. Without any extras, the 3DS runs $250, or $50 shy of a slim Xbox 360 console with a 250GB hard drive. Decide for yourself whether this comes as any consolation or more salt in the wound, but a recent breakdown of parts pegs the bill of materials (BOM) and manufacturing costs of the 3DS at $103 and a quarter.