/ Technology

The game’s still on for Nintendo’s 3DS

Nintendo 3DS

Cancelled games. A dramatic price drop. Falling shares. It’s all looking a bit grim for Nintendo and the 3DS. But is it actually all doom and gloom for Nintendo’s latest 3D handheld games console?

Earlier this week, Nintendo announced a dramatic price drop in the cost of the 3DS (down to $170 from $250 in the US) addressing one of the main criticisms of the handheld.

Early price drops do happen in the console world from time to time (see the N64 and original Xbox), but this could well be the fastest one yet – it’s only four months since the 3DS released.

The handheld’s sluggish sales have even led Nintendo president Satoru Iwata to cut his salary by 50%, with other directors and execs also seeing pay cuts. And it’s questionable whether the 3DS’s new price will help, as Nintendo will apparently now make a loss on every handheld sold.

It’s no surprise

The 3DS hasn’t exactly been selling like hot cakes, and the number one reason, as discovered by Nintendo’s own customer research, was the price. So now that they’ve addressed this, is Nintendo home and dry? Not yet.

When I reviewed the 3DS earlier in the year, I commented that it was an impressive bit of tech, but that the content was severely lacking. I still stand by this, and can make my point by sharing my own game stats from the system. My top three played games are Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Zelda: Links Awakening and Pilotwings.

My brand new console has spent most of it’s time being used to play games from over a decade ago. The lack of a decent library of launch titles, or ‘killer app’, has really hurt the 3DS.

Smartphones and Sony’s challenge

In an age when most of us carry a smartphone around in our pocket, each with their own libraries of thousands of downloadable games, console makers really need to make sure that they can offer us games we want to play, especially at £30 a pop.

So assuming that the new price drop and a healthy games library come into fruition by Christmas, everything should be fine for Nintendo. Except of course that the Sony new handheld, the PlayStation Vita, is just on the horizon – it promises to be the most technologically impressive handhelds we’ve ever seen.

However, the Vita will be in the same boat as the 3DS at its launch, with a high asking price and a lack of software (initially at least). While Nintendo has taken a bit of a battering by launching first, I’m sure we’ll see them come out on top, just as it has with every handheld it’s released to date.

If Sony is smart, it’ll be looking at the last few months of the 3DS’s life, and adjusting its marketing accordingly…


I’ve read somewhere that the 3DS has issues with the user trying to focus on 3D in such a small area, tricking your eyes and also your brain, could also be a factor?

3D in general doesn’t sit with me very well, I get headaches and so I stick with good ol fashioned full HD 🙂

Carter says:
1 August 2011

I can’t see artificial 3D at all, so I have reluctantly given this console a miss. I’m still looking forward to the 2D PS Vita, though.

I wonder what the actual price will end up as in the shops – £149??

Nintendo’s president Iwata has apologised to early buyers of the 3DS. Nintendo is giving 20 free downloadable games to try and appease them, but here’s an extract from the apology:

“This unprecedented timing for a price cut is because the situation has changed greatly since we originally launched the 3DS. We decided it was necessary to take this drastic step in order to ensure that large numbers of users will continue to enjoy the 3DS in the future.

“If the software creators and those on the retail side are not confident that the Nintendo 3DS is a worthy successor to the DS and will achieve a similarly broad (user) base, it will be impossible for the 3DS to gain popularity, acquire a wide range of software, and eventually create the product cycle necessary for everyone to be satisfied with the system.

“Those customers who purchased the 3DS at the very beginning are extremely important to us. We know that there is nothing we can do to completely make up for the feeling that you are being punished for buying the system early.”


Dominic says:
27 August 2011

I managed to pick my 3DS up brand new for only £99 in a shop near me (Grainger games) that had them on offer for a week only. I do think it needs more games and i hope the price drop sees it through. Its a good console but sometimes the 3D can be irritating to the eyes making you want to turn the feature off.