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Is Nintendo in trouble?

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

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Nintendo

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95 comments

  • Ikiryo - December 14, 2011 12:01 p.m.

    People crying out "oh you can download those things on emulators" yeah, that's kind of not on the legal side of things and believe it or not that theft hurts the games industry. A lot of people just seem to want too much these days and they want everything yesterday... I agree it is/was on the expensive side of things and their release may have been somewhat premature but it falls back to that old adage of "good things come to those who wait" Yes the 3D is a gimmick, it's a nice gimmick though and it can be turned off if you don't like it. I bought in early and I'm more than satisfied with my ambassador status and being rewarded for my early buy in and I have faith that Nintendo are going to pull out of this spot of trouble with gusto. This isn't the first time that Nintendo have been backed into a corner and they perform at their very best when they get backed into a corner and realise when they've become complacent. In time I'm more than sure there'll be a good range of quality titles that will pay off and make people want to get one if they haven't already. Recently they've already started making tweaks in their system updates too (most recently they've added the ability to record up to 10 minutes worth of video with optional 3D) so we may yet see some great applications coming our way too. I couldn't care too much about the 3D, the graphics being HD, SD, 8 bit what ever, I couldn't care if they made a system that'll do my laundry for me while I play. All the rest are just little bonus's, I'm happy as hell with a game that looks sh** but has excellent gameplay and the first party content never seems to let me down.
  • shanzbedlas - August 3, 2011 6:48 p.m.

    i bought mine with some of my birthday money and tbh all of the old games i have work on it i got money off for trading my ds lite and now im getting 20 free games, thats good in my book
  • snothammer - August 2, 2011 12:03 a.m.

    I personally don't care. As I still don't own a regular DS, I will just wait a little while and buy a DS Lite instead. All the games I was truly excited for are ports, that I already own, and due to my messed-up eyes 3D doesn't really work for me anyway. And as far as the looming future of the tech, I HOPE that 3D is phased out. It's just another gimmick people. It doesn't make Michael Bay movies any better, you just think they look prettier. If you're really so amazed by seeing things in three dimensions, then friggin' walk outside. And if you really want action, then ride a mountain bike through a forest trail. It's way more exhilarating than the sterility of modern 3D blockbuster movies. And one final note, I don't think the Ambassador program is all that great, because arguably anyone who bought a 3DS at launch already owns most or all of those games. I know I do, and I didn't buy a 3DS. And aside from that, they're old games. Meaning, you could easily emulate them for free on your computer or your damn phone. Additionally, it means that Nintendo's already made their money off them, and there's not really any reason to pay them again. Those games should be free for everyone. Wow that was quite a rant, I suppose.
  • Eliernest1 - August 1, 2011 2:55 p.m.

    I would be in heaven to win this... My kids will do all their chores to use this...lol
  • 13itch007 - August 1, 2011 10:57 a.m.

    The only reason I would buy a 3DS is because the cheap bastards at Nintendo are making the next Super Smash Bros on the 3DS and Wii...
  • Zeb364 - August 1, 2011 5:43 a.m.

    Cuttting the price is definately the right move. I'm still not going to buy one but it's definately a step in the right direction. The Ambassador program is really nice to see, it's always good to see companies doing their best not to leave their fans out in the cold. This is sure to hurt Nintendo but in the end they'll be fine, they always are. I was shocked to see them introduce a 3D system in the first place, I thought they'd be gun-shy after their last 3D system (the Virtua Boy). Something tells me this might be their last shot at it.
  • Spybreak8 - August 1, 2011 12:17 a.m.

    I'm considering it come August 12th but I just read today that Pinball FX 2 is coming to the Vita and I couldn't think of a more perfect mobile game to soak up the hours of down time on commutes.
  • Moss257 - July 31, 2011 5:20 a.m.

    Looking forward to the 20 free games! I've only played 6 of the games listed so I'm excited! (Cause I'll finally have something other than doa to play on this thing)
  • Elitepwnsface - July 31, 2011 4:44 a.m.

    @ jedisamurai Apparently you haven't played a 3DS. Its the exact same size as a DS lite. Of course with better processing power the battery is going to be sucked dry. Shoot when i picked up my psp back in March 2005, I complained about the battery as well. Its charge lasted about 3 hours. Just rant my friend, just rant.
  • Elitepwnsface - July 31, 2011 4:35 a.m.

    Well lets be honest at least I know there are title for the 3DS. I haven't heard but 1 title that makes the ps vita worth buying. Playing Zelda and the classics from the eshop made my purchase back in march. Don't get me wrong, I'm curious of what is in store for this handheld after the current announced games are launched. A new Zelda would be nice, shoot I could kill to play Skyward sword on my 3DS. Next titles I plan on picking up are Star Fox 64 3DS,Luigi's mansion, Super Mario 3D Land(Lame name but probably has its purpose), Mario Cart 7( Now this name is gay), Paper Mario, Cave Story and Kid Icarus. I might get Metal Gear Solid 3D, but still haven't decided between that and the HD Collection for PS3. I'd say the system is definitely worth getting, but releasing most of these games within the 3DS's first year of life, what does that leave for the next few years. Nintendo has to come up with something new to keep our 3DS's in use.
  • DACLUNEMASSIVE - July 31, 2011 2:28 a.m.

    MY MUMMY DOESN'T CARE. Nintendo are shit now. What tremendous..fucking cunts they are.
  • InfinityPrimo - July 31, 2011 12:45 a.m.

    One thing is evidently clear about most of the posts on this thread: Most gamers have no clue about business... Its a sad case but true. Nintendo out of the hardware game!? Was that a joke? First Nintendo is one of the biggest corps in Japan. Making money in avenues you couldn't possibly believe. 2nd, 3DS is the highest selling console in Japan. So the more likely scenario would not be Nintendo leaving the hardware game, it would be producing solely in Japan or East Asia for that matter. 3rd, Nintendo has loads of money please don't talk Sega. Remember when PS3 launched? Yeah it was horrible, happens a lot. But with the influx of short-term memory afflicting gamers it seems you forget that ALL companies have struggles. Even Nintendo. 3DS needs some killer apps for sure but once it gets them its gonna be crazy. All it takes is ONE, JUST ONE Pokemon game and Nintendo will be selling millions of those things.
  • Demoneyes - July 30, 2011 8:37 p.m.

    The most difficult decision I ever had to not make. Due to no money, no Ambassador status for myself. Oh well...IT IS NOT LIKE I WANTED TO PLAY THOSE GAMES. ;_;
  • shawksta - July 30, 2011 7:09 p.m.

    Hardly, the main problem is the lack in the beginning, the DS had a rough start, the fact that were getting 20 free games is incredible and a first timer. Lack of Patience is whats happening, soon the 3ds will be loaded with games. I have it, so thats pretty much what im doing, Waiting
  • Sk8rFit4Battle - July 30, 2011 6:47 p.m.

    I REALLY want Metroid Fusion for the 3DS!
  • Chaoscoolperson - July 30, 2011 2:10 p.m.

    I want the 3ds sooooooo badly I just don't have the money for it! I've lost my main source of income ($50 a month for mowing my neighbors yard) and so can't build up the money for a 3ds especially with all the games coming out and DLC for those games. and now i'm going to be cut off from playing some classics?
  • jedisamurai - July 30, 2011 1:42 p.m.

    I think this is going to be remembered as Nintendo's greatest failure since the Virtual Boy (their last attempt at 3D). Interestingly it has EXACTLY the same flaws. It causes eystrain and has a limited viewing angle. It's expensive. There is no good games for it. It's big and bulky and ugly. And on top of that it has HORRIBLE battery life. Why would you want a console with a 3 hour battery life when you can get one with a 15 hour life for less money with better games (the DS Lite also plays GameBoy Advance games)? Nintendo has milked their franchises and fans for all they are worth with over-priced gimmick hardware and software and now they are getting what they deserve. For what it's worth, I hope Nintendo stops making hardware and sticks to making games.
  • reach110 - July 30, 2011 9:33 a.m.

    Danny Lubkemann, this article is for you. Nintendo needs to die; to go the way of Sega so we can have beloved franchises like Mario and Zelda get a MUCH-needed shot in the arm and get new homes. 20 free games, half of which can easily be found and played on some website somewhere. Nintendo is grasping at straws, and while they fathered my gaming life, I have since matured. They have not. I'm not saying I now want sex and blood and language in all of my games. I certainly do not. I just want something fresh that caters to my interests as a gamer, NOT as a consumer.
  • Shadowsedge117 - July 30, 2011 7:16 a.m.

    By the way, Aletheon: Lighten up. First of all, everyone's entitled to their opinion. And that includes journalists. Second of all, they only posed a question about the 3DS being in trouble, and with valid reason: four months after Nintendo releases their handheld, they announce that they're slashing the price by 1/3. It doesn't matter who you are, that's cause for concern. And third of all, if you really are sick of this website, then stop coming here. Stop posting your comments, because honestly, you were trolling a hell of a lot more with your little comment than this entire article was about Nintendo.
  • Shadowsedge117 - July 30, 2011 7:02 a.m.

    My interest still lies in the Vita. It offers more of what I'd want in a handheld in this generation, and Uncharted is enough of a killer app for me. The 3DS looks cool and I would want to get it later on, but for now I'm happy with Metroid Fusion and Nightmare in Dreamland on my GameBoy. Now if only I could get my hands on Super Mario 3...

Showing 1-20 of 95 comments

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