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Nintendo drops price by $80 on 3DS and backlash inevitably ensues

What did Nintendo expect from consumers who went out and purchased the Nintendo 3DS as early adopters only to see an $80 price drop within months? When a company comes out with any highly priced device and then drops the price just a few months later, then irate customers will most certainly ensue.

Nintendo plans to decrease the current $249 price tag of the handheld 3DS down to $169 sometime this month. I am glad I have progressed out of the need for handheld gaming, because I would be furious if I had purchased this device and something like this happened to me. Nintendo’s CEO, Satoru Iwata, is offering a conciliatory supplement called the “Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program” for early adopters who may feel slighted by this sudden swing in price just a few months after initial release. This will include 20 free virtual console games for the Nintendo eShop. Just make sure that if you own a Nintendo 3DS that you login to the Nintendo eShop at least once, if you have not already, prior to August 11th as that will be the last time to qualify your 3DS for this program. Although the thought of 20 free games sounds appealing it appears that there will be time restrictions to the downloads and all 20 games may not be available for download at once. According to the Nintendo press release below the program will have 2 elements which are:

“The program contains two elements:

1.Beginning Sept. 1st, Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors will be able to download 10 NES™ Virtual Console™ games at no charge and before they are available in Nintendo eShop for the general public. These games, including Super Mario Bros.™, Donkey Kong Jr.™, Balloon Fight™, Ice Climber™ and The Legend of Zelda™, will be released as paid downloadable games, but Ambassadors can download them in advance of launch for free. Once the paid versions of the games are released in Nintendo eShop later in the year, the updated versions will be available to Ambassadors for download at no cost.

2. By the end of 2011, 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.: Minigame Mania and Mario vs. Donkey Kong™. These games will be available exclusively to Ambassadors, and Nintendo currently has no plans to make these 10 games available to the general public on Nintendo 3DS in the future.”

Though this program is somewhat generous, I believe there are still many users who will regret ever spending $249 on a handheld system with the feature of 3D as its only focal point. A feature that I believe equates to nothing more than a gimmick. More details can be found in press release below.

[spoiler] 28/07/2011
Nintendo 3DS Ambassador programme

Nintendo has today announced a global change in the trade pricing policy of Nintendo 3DS. In Europe, this will be applicable from August 12th.

There have been times in the past when we, Nintendo, have marked down the trade prices for our video game machines a certain amount of time after launch to further accelerate adoption of the hardware, but never in Nintendo’s history have we dropped a system’s trade price so significantly less than 6 months after launch.

We are aware this may cause you, the loyal fans who supported Nintendo 3DS from the beginning, to lose trust in us, and this is not our intention in any way.

All of you who have kindly supported Nintendo 3DS from the beginning are Nintendo’s most important customers. Although we may not be able to completely prevent you from regretting purchasing Nintendo 3DS early, we would like to express our gratitude to our special customers like you by offering 20 free downloadable games from Nintendo eShop.

These free games are available to anyone who owns a Nintendo 3DS system and uses a wireless broadband Internet signal to connect to the Nintendo eShop at least once before 23:59 pm (Central European Time) on August 11th. These Nintendo 3DS systems will be automatically registered in the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador programme. For information and a tutorial video on how to connect your Nintendo 3DS to the Internet, please visit the Nintendo 3DS website here.

UPDATE: Please note that the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Programme is not related to the Wii Connection Ambassador intiative, already running in Europe. To register for the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Programme, you only need to make sure you visit the Nintendo eShop at least once on your Nintendo 3DS before 23:59 pm (Central European Time) on August 11th.

The programme contains two elements:

1.Beginning Sept. 1st, Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors will be able to download 10 NES™ Virtual Console™ games at no charge and before they are available in Nintendo eShop for the general public. These games, including Super Mario Bros.™, Donkey Kong Jr.™, Balloon Fight™, Ice Climber™ and The Legend of Zelda™, will be released as paid downloadable games, but Ambassadors can download them in advance of launch for free. Once the paid versions of the games are released in Nintendo eShop later in the year, the updated versions will be available to Ambassadors for download at no cost.

2. By the end of 2011, 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.: Minigame Mania and Mario vs. Donkey Kong™. These games will be available exclusively to Ambassadors, and Nintendo currently has no plans to make these 10 games available to the general public on Nintendo 3DS in the future.

More details about this programme will be announced in the future.[/spoiler]

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Learn more the author of this post:

Solomon Massele
Solomon is our Senior Managing Editor here at TekGoblin and he is also a columnist for Best Buy Mobile Magazine. He has been a technology enthusiast for years and currently contributes to companies such as TekGoblin, Best Buy Mobile Magazine, and others in the past such as SPJ Reviews. You can keep up with his updates on Twitter at @iceman7679 and his visual tech related reviews on YouTube at www.youtube.com/iceman7679. He loves everything tech, and talking about it!
  • Anonymous

    I don’t see why anyone would have a backlash.  20 games for $80 is a good deal, and I’m surprised more people aren’t rushing out to buy a 3DS to take advantage of this deal.

    I believe the fact that 3D is the main focus on the Nintendo 3DS is a marketing mistake, but not a problem with the system itself.  The graphics on many 3DS games look excellent in 2D mode, and the system is far superior to the previous generation DS systems.

  • Anonymous

    I bought the 3DS just a few days after release and am pleased with the offer of 20 free game downloads as they were games I had wanted to purchase eventually anyway, and as they are a huge company, they could just not offer any reparations at all. I also feel that in the months I have already had it I have gotten more than $80 worth of enjoyment and entertainment out of it. I do not consider the 3D aspect a “gimmick” at all, and I don’t think that anyone should. I honestly don’t think that anyone that has played Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS for any length of time could in good faith refer to this device as being based on a “gimmick”. For those of us who can accurately perceive the 3D effects, the gameplay is astounding and entertaining, and the work that they did on updating the graphics of a long time fan-favorite from N64 was detailed and incredible. I think, perhaps, you should play it before you publicly declare your opinion of it as being a mere gimmick. Look all around you. Every technological device that they are updating either has or is rumored to have 3D at some point in it’s lifetime. It’s well past gimmick territory now, it’s a trend. Also, you should fix “When a company comes out with any highly prices device.” I think you meant “highly priced”.

  • http://profiles.google.com/chrissomerry Christian Meredith

    Only selling point is 3D? Obviously someone who hasn’t played the original DS, a PSP, and a 3DS, with a good selection of games, and compared them. The 3DS comes out on top, definitely. Graphics (WITHOUT 3D) are good enough to get it by and compete with the Vita (remembering how the DS had significantly worse graphics than the PSP, and yet the PSP didn’t do to well except in Japan where it still sells like hotcakes).

    As for 3D, completely changed my perspective on handhelds. Can’t get enough of it in Zelda, can’t bare to turn it off even if I get a bonus frame-rate boost (which is actually pretty nice for non-3D players, so everyone wins). I can probably bare to turn it off in Samurai Warriors, but that’s just because that game has so much happening at once on the screen that it occasionally has drops in framerate thanks to the 3D. And my friend who honestly couldn’t care less said “I keep having to turn the 3D back on, it doesn’t feel right without it”.

    So, from that, I conclude that the 3D is as much a gimmick as volumetric shadows, shaders and bloom are = ergo not at all. If you took the graphics away from PS3s etc you’d get heaps of complaints, but aren’t those graphics just “gimmicks” too? Similarly, the 3D and the visual effects it can create on the 3DS are not mere gimmicks, but help create an artistic realisation of what you’re playing.

  • http://profiles.google.com/chrissomerry Christian Meredith

    Doesn’t SEGA release those sorts of 20 games for $80 packs anyway (at least they do in Australia – in fact if I was to buy all the games they’re releasing on the virtual console/second hand right now, it’d cost me $100+ AUD for sure, which is the same as our price drop).

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