Nintendo 3DS Getting Massive Price Cut - Existing Owners Getting Free Games

Bill Loguidice's picture

This has been widely reported, but here's the story on IGN. Essentially, the Nintendo 3DS will now retail for $169.99, and existing owners who paid the launch price of $249.99 will get 20 free virtual console games, which consists of 10 NES and 10 GameBoy Advance titles.

I'm glad they're taking care of their existing owners. Clearly Nintendo priced this not at a price point they had to, but at a price point they thought they could get away with. If they were able to back up the 3DS launch with positive buzz and great software (i.e., software that would excite the masses), they *might* have gotten away with the $250 price point (though I continue to argue the buzz remains with smartphones and tablets, not gaming handhelds), but really, it makes you wonder why this wasn't $199.99 to start with, let alone $179.99, particularly since they're making such a huge drop of $80 already. That's a major mea culpa, and certainly not indicative of business-as-usual for Nintendo, who classically really, really hates to admit that they're wrong about something. I've been talking about this frequently, but there have certainly been some unusual goings-on at Nintendo HQ, from the lack of new titles for their existing platforms to a somewhat unusual presentation of their upcoming Wii U console. Perhaps this will be the first of several steps that Nintendo needs to regain momentum.

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Bill Loguidice
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Matt Barton wrote:

I know the future! It's N-Gage!

LOL...But, yeah, I had a vision of a Nintendo phone.

Ah, that's what I forgot to say... As I talked about in that long NGP thread from not-too-long ago, we'll see both Nintendo and Sony product incorporated into smartphones and tablets. Naturally, Sony is already doing that, but I believe the integration and capabilities will become far more profound. Sony is merely positioning themselves for the very real possibility of going whole hog in the future. Nintendo will no doubt be far more stubborn in this regard, but I would certainly expect them to eventually give in rather than do another handheld after the 3DS. Nintendo's lack of hardware sophistication is abundantly clear in the mish-mash of a design of the 3DS. For every design element, there's a head scratcher in there. It plays games great, but it's VERY slow downloading anything and running non-game software. Nintendo clearly won't be able to keep up with the rate of progress in the smartphone and tablet arena, so their only choice will be to partner with a major phone OS. Sony is much more experienced in hardware development being a key consumer electronics manufacturer by trade, but it's clear from their actions that they're not comfortable (rightly so) having all of their eggs in one basket.

As for the N-Gage comment, even at the time I thought they had the right idea. I think that much is obvious. I always saw cell phone gaming as a rising force, I just lamented the lack of standards. It took until the first iPhone for the first true standards to catch on. Nokia was far too early in the technology, though, and didn't have the right overall strategy, but we have to give credit where credit is due.

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Matt Barton
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I don't ever see a gamer type

I don't ever see a gamer type phone going anywhere. There will probably always be casual games for mobile phones, but I can't see it getting much beyond Angry Birds and Cut the Rope in terms of complexity. You really need gamer-centric controls to go much beyond that, and anything that looks like a gamepad would terminate your social life. You might as well wear a traffic cone on your head with a flashing light on top.

I think the main reason the DS has been so popular is that parents can give them to kids. It's a good self-contained solution; no need to hook it up to a TV or even plug it in. Long car ride--here ya go, kid, play some Pokemon. Unless you've got a huge commute on a bus or something where you're not driving, adults just don't have those blocks of time where you're away from a PC or console. Even then you'd probably want to invest in a games-capable laptop.

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Bill Loguidice
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Matt Barton wrote:

I don't ever see a gamer type phone going anywhere. There will probably always be casual games for mobile phones, but I can't see it getting much beyond Angry Birds and Cut the Rope in terms of complexity. You really need gamer-centric controls to go much beyond that, and anything that looks like a gamepad would terminate your social life. You might as well wear a traffic cone on your head with a flashing light on top.

Well, it wouldn't be a gamer type phone, it would be a phone that plays games even better than the phones that play games today. These enhancements could come in a variety of ways, including physical controls, better touch controls (i.e., touchscreens that push back), more robust overall performance, etc. That's the key. You're absolutely right that there's still something of a stigma with games, but the phone is the trojan horse, and it's proven very successful as a games machine trojan horse.

Matt Barton wrote:

I think the main reason the DS has been so popular is that parents can give them to kids. It's a good self-contained solution; no need to hook it up to a TV or even plug it in. Long car ride--here ya go, kid, play some Pokemon. Unless you've got a huge commute on a bus or something where you're not driving, adults just don't have those blocks of time where you're away from a PC or console. Even then you'd probably want to invest in a games-capable laptop.

The DS and its predecessors from Nintendo have been successes for that very reason. Relatively cheap, fairly durable, kids-friendly games, nothing mission critical, etc., making it ideal entertainment devices to keep kids busy. My own daughters, particularly my oldest, are living proof of that. That's part of the reason why sales of the 3DS are so sluggish--it has far less appeal for that lucrative demographic. It's arguable that where gaming handhelds will remain viable is the pre-teen gamer. Teens and up will "graduate" to the smartphones they'll be carrying anyway that also keep them in touch with social networking, let them consume media, etc.

Though I do have a gaming laptop, I'd be just fine if for some reason I was limited to my iPad 2 for gaming. It's that good.

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clok1966
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The N-gage like so many great

The N-gage like so many great ideas was just slighlty ahead of its time. It was the first true attempt at a game/phone and it flopped, if it had hit a year maybe two later.. who knows. I honeslty htink the idea was great the exacustion was lacking and it would fail no matter what. But ther eare so many product that do what somebody else did and failed... but at alter date and they are considered Inovators.

Motion control (as gamers we all know its been around forever in some crude form) but there where a couple of gyro tilt 3rd party controlers for the PSone that basicly did what the wii does (but with a wire)... back then it was considered like most other flopped motion controls.. no good but in a somewhat cruder form it was the same.

WOW- the online jagurnuaght that so many no nothings think started it all.. many before it. It just hit at the right time and did a great job.

Tablets- There where several in Japan by toshibia/sony/smasung long before the Ipad.. but none ever cuaght on (even in tech hungry japan).

Thre is so much to marketing now days.. its sad in a way. MANY products are succesful, not becuase they are better, but becuase they are marketed right.

Beta-vhs Beta was better, but was more expensive and price can decide some stuff pretty quick.

WALMART can dictiate if a product is succesfull with simple placement, or even by not allowing it in thier store it can change its sales figures.

its amazing how things work, sometimes logic doenst play any part, in fact often it doesnt. (and none of these statements are pointed at any product)...

the 3DS.. i was unimpressed, then actually played with one, and got excited, then got some eye strain, then lost interest. The Ipad, again.. i had some interest.. worked with the people here at work supporting it and lsot interest (purely as a tech head, I cant stand the closed part of it) but am more than willing to say it does what it does well. When they all upgraded to the Ipad-2 i got one of the old ones.. and.. i hate to admit. the Night i brought it home I messed with it.. and yes, quite truthfully its sitll sitting in the exact spot i left it. Really that make me an Idiot for dropping the green for it. Keep in mind I dont use my laptop either.. my netbook i do take on the road, but may as well take the full size laptop.. i keep putting it down to being smaller. For the road trips I should dig into teh Ipad.. all i use my stuff for on the road is email, some Netflix and maybe (rarely) gameing.. I just am to PC desktop centric.. I love my mouse keyboard.. and hate a laptopkeyboard/mouse combo. taht jsut me, not a limitation of the hardware.

I hae a new phone in my future.. my 2 years is up and my company lets me pick.. I was looking at eh expira just as it android.. but i really dont see me using the game part.. so why? that dang tech head in me....I think im goijng to hold off a bit.. the new Andorid phones arriving when the new Iphone5 (iphone 4.1 from the specs, need to wait for 6 to see any real changes) drops are pretty amazing on paper.. but... who know in real life.

I must say the 3DS preic is pretty appealing now.. and gotta give um kudo's for the games.. (trying to get back on track a little).

And Bill I know oyu use your Ipad.. and I know lots of people do.. but liek so many tech things I wonder how many buy it and dont.. (and not just the Ipad.. everybody in my office has a droid or iphone, i know 75% have never used it for anything but texting or phone calls... but they have $30 data plans.. what is the logic? I think far to many things are bought with "i might use it"... and man are the product people happy!) I recently worked with one of the people in our office who wanted a tablet (I recomended a Ipad2 if they wanted top the line, and Ipad1 if budget, or one of the million android if it was just a gee wizz device. She picked up a ipad2.. she had me set some stuff up on it and ... its still here.. a month later.. I let her know it was done several times, she is less then 40 feet from it.. but never bothers to get it.. guess she really needed it. I think to many devices are bought like that. heavens knows i have ought my fair share of consoles/games and handhelds like that. In fact the ammount i have bought and looked at a grand total of a few hours I should be shutting my yap right now :)

Nous
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Interesting article
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Matt Barton
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That's a good article, Nous.

That's a good article, Nous.

I think you're right Bill about the key being controls that are inconspicuous. If they can find a way to give gamer-precision controls without making it look like a gaming device...Perhaps they'll be able to do that with motion controls of find a way to make the on-screen keyboard haptic (touch feedback). I've been thinking that haptic controls were just around the corner. What I'm thinking is a touch screen like the iPhone, but instead of just displaying pixels it can actually raise the points slightly above the rest. Sorta like one of these toys--

Imagine something like that but with a little pin for each pixel and an automated way to raise and lower them.

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clok1966
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That is a great read, there

That is a great read, there are a ton of great points. I said it someplace in one of these threads earlier part of nintendos problm was the fact they dominated the handheld market so well, they just felt they would do well no matter what and it backfired. To be honest when you think back at nintendo's big gambles (and i mean BIG) many have pretty much flopped. Adding a $100 robot to the Nes, the VirtuaBoy (what the heck was its name again?), now the 3DS is doing poor (not sure i would say flop just yet, in fact i dont think it will be a flop). Nintendo gambles big and it pays off sometimes. The gameboy with a B&W screen was a pretty big gamble, the Wii, and argubly the duel screen. they all paid off. I guess when you swing for the fences alot you strike out or hit a home run.

I really cant imagin what is in the futruer right now as Phones are really the big thing. They are going to force some changes. Where i see the real problem: the phone market got so big so fast people competed on price, and alot of the content is simply crap, so the $.99 price was justified. People have got used to a EXPENSIVE app being $9.99, how are the guys charging $60 going to transfer to a market where the average thing costs $3-5? can they? You see the backlash to raise prices on what people expect to pay with Netflix. Can $20 or $30 phone games be in the future, would anybody pay that? phone games are almost throw away, phone get lost, dropped, broke, repleaced almost yearly and moving data just doenst happen. A game you pay $30 for and is gone when you upgrade phones? Will it fly? three is alot ot be said of quality of pjhone games, some are pretty dang nice and cost $10.. so the Big guys saying they make better games so can charge more wont wash (or will it?).

i do understand PC's and consoles will be around a long time (probebly forever) but the pc is no longer the FORCE it was, and Consoles have taken PC throne, but they are in for some major changes too, they have some legs left, but its changing. I think phone gaming is moving to the top quickly (i wonder on pure unit numbers (not money made) if it hasnt already?

And last.. i wonder if Nintendo can take another mis step.. wil the new console put a never to be fixed chink in nintendos' armour?

Bill Loguidice
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ROBB didn't cost Nintendo

ROBB didn't cost Nintendo $100, it's just the after market that valued it so highly because it wasn't around for very long. ROBB was arguably necessary to getting toy stores to carry the NES as a "robot toy", because they certainly weren't carrying a videogame system.

I don't think the GameBoy was a gamble in any way either. They still beat Atari to market, and it turned out that the GameBoy's combination of superior battery life and software catalog allowed them to easily fend off the competition, despite a horrible, horrible screen. Now if there was a more powerful company behind the Lynx than Atari, things might have been a bit more competitive, but that's a different type of speculation...

The Virtual Boy was definitely a misstep and a big risk. It never received any positive buzz and really didn't have a place in either the console or handheld worlds. For it to be successful, it had to create its own category. The only notable equivalent to the Virtual Boy was the Vectrex, and we know what happened with that. I kind of liken to both the Vectrex and Virtual Boy to the iPad, in that they all tried to establish new tech categories sandwiched in-between existing successful categories. Only the iPad has thus far worked out with that, obviously.

As for Nintendo surviving another misstep, it's important to keep in mind a few things. One is that they're cash rich and are not really in danger of sustained losses. In other words, they can survive quite a few more missteps financially until they hit on something that works. Two, they have IPs that are the envy of just about every company out there. That will buy them further time to correct any missteps through their ability to monetize those assets in other ways. Three, things were looking a bit bleak around the time of the GameCube (and on the heels of the lack of dominance of the N64), and Nintendo more-than-recovered with the Wii.

With all that said, they were always strongest in handhelds post SNES, and that's changing, so, it will indeed be interesting if they can get a positive response to the Wii U. Again, it's unlikely they'll be anywhere near Wii-like success with the Wii U, but they can still be quite successful with it if things work out. The x factor in all this is will it be enough to shift focus away from the 360 and PS3, and then fend off whatever next systems from Microsoft and Sony there will be, which will clearly be more powerful than whatever form Wii U takes. Releasing the Wii U in that form (meaning roughly the same power as 360/PS3), IS a big risk, as would be the system being limited to one screen controller (which may or may not end up being the case in the final version).

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Bill Loguidice
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Data transfer/backup is the hallmark of today's devices
clok1966 wrote:

... phone games are almost throw away, phone get lost, dropped, broke, repleaced almost yearly and moving data just doenst happen. A game you pay $30 for and is gone when you upgrade phones? Will it fly? three is alot ot be said of quality of pjhone games, some are pretty dang nice and cost $10.. so the Big guys saying they make better games so can charge more wont wash (or will it?).
...

Can you clarify this? In most cases (and iOS makes this standard practice, but it applies to other OS's) you can EASILY transfer everything to your next/new phone when you upgrade as long as you remain in the same OS ecosystem. That's the nice thing about today's devices, being able to buy once, be it for .99 or higher, and always own it and be able to use it on all the same devices within that ecosystem. In fact, the last time I went from an iPhone 3 to an iPhone 4, I just had to restore my iPhone 3's backup and I had all the same stuff on the 4. I'm sure the same will happen when I upgrade to the 5. Apple is now doing the same thing with apps on MacOS, and Microsoft will be doing something similar with Windows 8. Like I mentioned earlier, I actually LIKE this model of app stores because it does away with the icky business of DRM (in that it's inobtrusive and allows installs to multiple devices) and beyond my own backups, the software is backed up on the app stores.

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clok1966
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Oh I know its not that hard

Oh I know its not that hard to move stuff from one phone to another (man i need to swap browsers so a spell checker will help my horribley typing skills and you guys wont suffer reading my baddly mispelled words). its really not that hard on a PC either, its just nobody does it. its kinda strange its ok to Upgrade a phone every year for $2-300, but a PC that costs $5-700 and only needs to be upgraded every few years is too much ( i guess its all in the use). I know i can keep all those games/apps but the gnereal public doesn see it that way, and sadly the phone guys are kinda jerks about it.. charging some "fee" to do it for you. I'm not saying it cant be done, I'm saying most do not do it (and alot dont as they just dont know they can). This perception is goign to play into it. The Phone companies are not going ot advertise this, they want you rebuying stuff. I recently wne throuhg my old phone (verizon) which I gave to my roomate, we both are on the same plan to save money.. he clicked onteh navigator which lets you use if for free for 30 Days.. but i jut saw its been charging us $10 a month for a year.. (my roomates fualt more than anaything.. but why put something I can click on a phone and get charged like that?) i mean i accidenlty call people sometimes when i put my phonein my pocket to fast.. how that happens i hae no idea as it take more than one touch to call...

I work in a business tha caters to average people and deal with programers who say stuff like" they should know shift click does this" THEY DONT! the reason the iphone was so huge is simple minds( non tech is what i mean) could deal with it (please dont take that as a bad comment, its just true) it just works as has been said so many times... SAY? is there an app for that? to move data from phone to phone? I know i have software that came with my phone that does its, but its not point and click, its simple, but I KNOW many of my user base would mess it up.

So as I had an Iphone and used the app store.. but never looked hard at it.. If i buy somthing and its on MY ACCOUNT, if i get a new iphone i dont have to rebuy, i can just redownload it? Or do you mean i can use some backup program and move it? If its just a simple redownload.. then i stand corrected, that is pretty dang simple and easy, anybody should be able to do that.

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