The past few weeks haven't been kind to Nintendo. The hubbub surrounding the crackpot save-system of Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, delay of Crush 3D, Shinobi and Metal Gear Solid (specifically because of slow 3DS sales), and the demise of Mega Man Legends 3... this is a painful series of events. What's more, we haven't seen a Virtual Console update in two weeks. Today, just four months after the 3DS's launch, Nintendo announced an $80 reduction from the handheld's price tag. What the hell is going on here?
What's Happening: If you're an early adopter of the 3DS, don't fret about the price drop just yet. Yes, it sucks you couldn't save that scratch, but you're getting bonuses. Connecting your 3DS to the eShop before the new price of $169.99 takes effect on August 12 earns you the illustrious status of "Ambassador."
So, what's in it for us suckers?
Starting Sept. 1, Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors will be able to download 10 NES Virtual Console games at no charge and before they are available in the Nintendo eShop to the general public. These games, including Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Jr., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber and The Legend of Zelda, are slated to become paid downloadable games, but Ambassadors get them early for free. Once the paid versions of the games are posted to the Nintendo eShop later in the year, the updated versions will be available to Ambassadors for download at no cost.
Okay, that's pretty great. $80 great? Probably not, and Nintendo knows it. Round two of the reward goes like this:
By the end of 2011, Nintendo will provide Ambassadors with 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games. These include games like Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ 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 the Nintendo 3DS in the future.
This is where things get sticky. You'll note that Nintendo said it "has no plans" to release these 10 games to the lowly post-price-drop public at all, ever. We suspect that'll change down the line when they realize a $10 Mario Kart download will make them some sick bank.
Next page: What this means for you... and for Nintendo