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HOLY SHIT – Nintendo Drops a Bomb July 28, 2011

Posted by Brandon C. in News & Opinions.

Oh damn; oh shit oh shit oh SHIT. Nintendo is in some deep shit, and I don’t mean girl-dump-rainbows-and-butterflies kind of shit. I’m talking grade-A, waist deep, fat-guy-after-Pizza-Hut-turbo-dump SHIT.

Nintendo just released their sales data for the past three months, and it’s not pretty. Sales have taken a nice little Sunday stroll right off a cliff. We’re talking bottomless pit type drops here, people; Wii sales down 50% – DS sales down 60%. It wouldn’t be so bad if the 3DS was selling like the hot little handheld should be. Instead, we’re talking under a million units WORLDWIDE. 710,000 to be exact since launch. This is NOT good news for the Japanese console maker.

It’s lukewarm news for gamers, too – Nintendo has decided to tie a pair of concrete shoes to the handheld’s price. August 12th will be D-Day for the 3DS, when it’s price drops almost $100 to only $169.99.

A drop that steep and quick should give you a nosebleed. Obviously, it’s serious “holy-crap-your-pants-belt-tightening” time at Nintendo.

We’ve seen price drops like this on handhelds like the dead-to-rights Gizmondo and the ill-fated Tapwave Zodiac (a personal favorite of mine, by the way,) but never on a handheld from one of the Big Three before. Oops, I’m forgetting the PSP Go and Virtual Boy. Where are those systems now?

Dead in the water. Man, I’m just full of awesome analogies today, aren’t I?

I’m cautiously optimistic with a side of realism about this turn of events. There’s two things this COULD mean for Nintendo, and at this point it could go either way.

The optimistic outlook?

Nintendo’s price drop persuades gobs of gamers to purchase the pretty awesome handheld, bringing an influx of much needed sales immediately. On the games front, developers see said influx of sales and capitalize on the sudden boom in sales by flooding the 3DS’ library with quality titles. Both the problem of lack of games and high price tag are solved. Early adopters are happy with 20 free 3DS eShop titles and a sudden boom of awesome new games to play from first and third-party support lines.

When the holiday season rolls around, consumers are enamored with the 3DS’ awesome tech, low price and library of quality titles; deciding to purchase a 3DS over the more expensive and less of a sure shot PlayStation Vita. Nintendo regains it’s dominance in the handheld market and everything is hunky-dory for gamers and Nintendo. Sony is, once again, seemingly left in the dust.

Now, the pessimistic outlook.

Early adopters feel burnt by Nintendo’s offering of 20 pre-chosen titles from the eShop, and most don’t even download them. Potential buyers are put off by the sudden price drop, and see it as an admission of defeat from Nintendo. Nintendo sees a small influx of sales from said price cut, but ultimately the campaign is less than successful. Buyers instead look at the PlayStation Vita as an acceptable replacement for their handhelds, and the successor to the PSP is a runaway hit during the 2011 holiday season.

Developers perceive the price drop as a lack of faith on Nintendo’s part, and even more games are canceled due to the extreme risk involved in releasing the titles. As the releases dry up, so does the system’s sales, and ultimately the 3DS goes down in history as a massive failure on Nintendo’s part.

Which scenario is more likely? So far, Nintendo is getting a lot of positive support on the web. By far the community’s biggest problem with the handheld has been it’s price, and Nintendo is more than fixing that problem today. The second has been developer support – we can likely expect renewed interest in the 3DS’ capabilities by developers, and maybe even a reversal on the decision by a few developers to cancel certain games (Mega Man Legends 3, OH GOD PLEASE!)

Personally, I hope the best for Nintendo and the 3DS. I own one, so I should hope for the best… I’m looking forward to a bunch of free games from Nintendo in addition to the games I planned on purchasing later this year anyway, games like Star Fox 64 3D and Super Mario 3D. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more Mii’s in my StreetPass queue, and playing a lot more multiplayer with a lot more people.

I really hope Nintendo can stick this – even if it feels very much like a last ditch effort on their part. I hope Nintendo grows from this experience and takes away one crucial piece of much needed humble pie – just because it says “Nintendo,” doesn’t mean people will buy it over something else.



1. Ian Bay - July 28, 2011

If Mega Man Legends 3 comes back, then I will definitely buy one, now that it’s only 169 buckss, I’m probably going to get one anyway this fall…does want LoZ:OoT3D, here’s hoping that Nintendo gets their shit together

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