Back in June Reggie Fils-Aime spoke to Kotaku, saying that the main problems of the 3DS – the lack of core games, and the lack of online capabilities – had been fixed. Ocarina of Time 3D became a big reason to buy the 3DS, and there are plenty of confirmed upcoming Nintendo games such as Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart. Meanwhile, the 3DS online network and eShop are now up. But these additions have not given enough consumers an incentive strong enough to buy the 3DS; Its sales figures are continuing to underperform despite its strong first week and despite Nintendo’s initial expectations. Nintendo hoped to sell about four million 3DS’s in the first few weeks of its release, but this is the figure they achieved after three months.
Because of this, Nintendo have decided to drastically lower the price of 3DS consoles. On August 11th, you will be able to buy a 3DS in Japan for 15,000 Yen compared to the original cost of 25,000. The following day, US gamers will be able to get a 3DS for $169.99, significantly lower than the original $249.99 price tag. Nintendo have not commented whether the price drop will happen in other parts of the world, though it seems likely.
Nintendo of Japan president Satoru Iwata admitted “Never in Nintendo’s history have we lowered prices to such an extent, less than half a year since the product launch. But we have judged that unless we move decisively now, there is a high possibility that we will not see many of our customers enjoying a Nintendo 3DS.”
If you already have a 3DS and you connect to the eShop before August 11th, you can sign up for the “Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program”. Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors will be able to download up to twenty free games from the eShop. On September 1st, Ambassadors will be able to download ten free NES Virtual Console games, including Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong Jr. Nintendo had these games planned for release at a later date, but Ambassadors will get them for free and earlier than non-Ambassadors. By the end of 2011, Ambassadors will also be able to download ten free Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games, including Mario Kart and Yoshi’s Island. These ten games will not be made available to non-Ambassadors. For more information and a full list of the exclusive games, click here to see the official Nintendo website.
Nintendo 3DS sales will probably be very poor prior to August 11th. I think people would much rather spend $80 less on a new console in a few week’s time than effectively spend a hefty $80 on eShop games they probably won’t play much anyway. If you want a 3DS you’re better off just being patient and getting it soon for nearly $100 less than Nintendo intended. Perhaps 3DS sales will start picking up then.