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Nintendo slashing 3DS price tag, offering free games to keep current owners from rioting

Nintendo is taking drastic actions to give the 3DS a solid lead in the handheld arms race. Today the company announced it would be dropping the cost of its newly released system by over 30% in markets around the globe starting August 12th, bringing the US retail price tag down to $169.99 from $249.99. In its bid to reduce any ill-will amongst early adopters and current owners, Nintendo will also be giving away free NES and Game Boy games via the eShop to all those who own or purchase the system prior to the massive price drop.

“For anyone who was on the fence about buying a Nintendo 3DS, this is a huge motivation to buy now,” said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime in today's statement. “We are giving shoppers every incentive to pick up a Nintendo 3DS, from an amazing new price to a rapid-fire succession of great games.”

The free games included in Nintendo's 3DS Ambassador program (aka the “Look, we're sorry you bought this thing early for a higher price, so here are some free games that came out decades ago” promotion) include 10 NES classics like Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Jr., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber and the Legend of Zelda; and 10 Game Boy notables including Metroid Fusion, Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart and Yoshi's Island. The NES titles will be available to purchase for all 3DS owners, however the Game Boy freebies will be an exclusive offer for pre-price cut loyalists only.

In a follow-up statement, Nintendo admitted the new retail strategy is a bold move, and that it is in no way meant to punish early adopters, explaining, "Never in Nintendo's history have we dropped a system's trade price so significantly less than six 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."

What appears at first to be a desperate attempt to boost slagging 3DS sales may simply be a move on Nintendo's part to strengthen its install base before Sony drops the Vita. Then again, it could be both. Let us know if the price cut intrigues or infuriates you below.

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71 comments

  • ThatFanInThePeacoat - August 4, 2011 8:09 p.m.

    As someone who wants those games on my 3DS, I'm happy. I'll buy it before the price drop.
  • shnazzyone - July 30, 2011 6:32 a.m.

    I'm pretty happy with this. I was going to get huffy but then nintendo played the old school card they play so well. My big question is if the games will feel too hastily done when I get them. However the chance to own fusion, yoshi's island, LOZ, SMB and Wariowarez inc all over agian in a legitimate protable format for fast switching makes me very happy. I will relish my oodles of game icons that will be gracing my home screen by the end of the year and I will give a no hard feelings on this one. Now if only they'd get a legitimate fix to the screen scratching.
  • Jaces - July 29, 2011 8:20 a.m.

    I've seen all the games being released for 3DS but a lot of those aren't till next year. This price drop almost made me go out and buy one and then I thought...oh wait, still no games. Nice move Nintendo but I'll still end up waiting.
  • TrAnMu - July 29, 2011 4:55 a.m.

    YAY! This will be a much easier price point to argue with my mother. B-days comin up!
  • BlindMarksman - July 29, 2011 4:53 a.m.

    @db1331 As a Nintendo fan i must say that i am intrigued by what both consoles have to offer. At $250.00 i am really tempted to buy a Vita, because, let's be honest here, it looks really promising. This price drop will make the decision between the Vita and the 3DS easier.Though i wish i could have both. But come on! At $250.00 dollars, the PSV is ALREADY selling at a loss so big, they will start earning money 2 1/2 YEARS from its release. Dropping the price to $170.00 would be a brutal backfire to Sony, because, even if it had world record sales, Sony would end up losing a TREMENDOUS amount of money. The price each console has is already relevant to what the console offers, so: 3DS - $179.00 & PSV - $249.00 is a fair price.
  • BlindMarksman - July 29, 2011 4:29 a.m.

    @db1331 As a Nintendo fan i must say that i am intrigued by what both consoles have to offer. At $250.00 i am really tempted to buy a Vita, because, let's be honest here, it looks really promising. This price drop will make the decision between the Vita and the 3DS easier.Though i wish i could have both. But come on! At $250.00 dollars, the PSV is ALREADY selling at a loss so big, they will start earning money 2 1/2 YEARS from its release. Dropping the price to $170.00 would be a brutal backfire to Sony, because, even if it had world record sales, Sony would end up losing a TREMENDOUS amount of money. The price each console has is already relevant to what the console offers, so: 3DS - $179.00 & PSV - $249.00 is a fair price.
  • UsernameLoser - July 29, 2011 3:06 a.m.

    @db1331 They announced the Vita was $250 and 3G Vita for $300 at E3.
  • MouseKlok - July 28, 2011 11:42 p.m.

    I saw this, and my heart stopped. I really hope the 3DS does not share the same fate as the Virtual Boy....
  • Kilburn474 - July 28, 2011 11:39 p.m.

    Guys. Seriously. Start proof-reading your articles for grammatical errors. "3DS to become significant cheaper starting August 12th"? I understand having a few slip ups, but it's damn near every day/article.
  • IceHawk79 - July 28, 2011 10:59 p.m.

    When are these free games going to be launched?
  • ruskii - July 28, 2011 10:40 p.m.

    @smallberry "All they have to do is get rid of the region lock and I'll buy it tomorrow." ^This
  • Smash_Bro - July 28, 2011 10:35 p.m.

    w00t w00t, tons of free games for me! I'll probably end up downloading them all, even the ones I don't want. Just 'cuz they're free. btw, when csn I have all these games? Is the offer up right now? I've grown to understand that the lack of 3DS games is (most likely) due to Nintendo being focused on Wii U. Which is fine by me, since I really, REALLY want--nay, NEED--them to start planning Smash Bros Wii U. Dammit, Team Sora, finish Uprising!!
  • MetaMoss - July 28, 2011 10:30 p.m.

    PSN Welcome Back: Sorry about the internet services being down for a few months and possibly having your credit card info stolen, have a free game! 3DS Ambassador: We're dropping the price, but since you guys bought our device early, we're giving you 20 of our best games for free, some of which are only available by this program, and the rest earlier than everybody else! Nintendo just became the best corporation ever. In the history of mankind. Or at least in tech-related stuff.
  • lovinmyps3 - July 28, 2011 10:05 p.m.

    I'll definitely pick up a 3DS now. Probably this fall. That's a huge price drop. Perfect incentive to those of us who were holding out.
  • WillisTron - July 28, 2011 9:54 p.m.

    I JUST BOUGHT MINE ON MONDAY... I. Am. So. Angry.
  • HankVenture - July 28, 2011 9:41 p.m.

    Well as someone who already purchased the 3DS and had no issue with the price to begin with I am very happy with the free games (* IF i am able to get Metroid Fusion*) but I guess if I was low on money I would be pissed off
  • ChiChiRocket - July 28, 2011 9:27 p.m.

    @flautist8807 Aw, you beat me to it. But yeah, I'm kind of confused at the double listing of Yoshi's Island.
  • BITunorthodox - July 28, 2011 9:25 p.m.

    humm, massive price cut after a terrible launch... countdown to 3DS lite or w/e they'll call it... battery that isn't utter sh- will be included
  • ThatGamerDude - July 28, 2011 8:54 p.m.

    I might actually consider getting one now then again there's that shiny brand new 360... nevermind!
  • LOZ4EVAH - July 28, 2011 8:34 p.m.

    Whaat!? Totally blown away by this news. Was planning on getting one since I got my job but this'll speed things up!! Thanks Nintendo!

Showing 1-20 of 71 comments

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