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.

Jul 28, 2011

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  • Austin_SJ - July 28, 2011 2:51 p.m.

    It's a big price drop, but still not enough to make me want the system. It needs more 3DS specific games.
  • Johnny2900 - July 28, 2011 2:51 p.m.

    I'm actualy really happy Nintendo is rewarding those who purchased the 3DS early instead of just saying thanks for paying the 250 and we hope to have your support for a long time. People may be complaining that they were games released a long time ago but to me, that means I don't have to carry my DS lite with me as well as my 3DS for a while longer.
  • reuben0110 - July 28, 2011 2:52 p.m.

    Cheaper 3DS and free games, what's not to like?
  • rndmnss470 - July 28, 2011 2:52 p.m.

    I might actually consider buying one now.
  • db1331 - July 28, 2011 2:52 p.m.

    "Sorry you overpaid. Here's some games you probably don't want, or could easily play on an emulator for free." The ball is in Sony's court now. They matched the 3DS' price before. If they announce before August 12th that the NGP will be $169.99 as well, it could be a death blow to the 3DS.
  • mattrickhoffman - July 28, 2011 2:52 p.m.

    I was prepared to be pissed, but this is actually a pretty sweet deal for all of us early adopters. At least, it is if you haven't already bought a bunch of these games. I'm good with this.
  • reson8er - July 28, 2011 2:53 p.m.

    They could drop it to $50 and it would be no more than a curiosity so long as they have shit for games. Nintendo is often pretty steadfast on their pricing (recall how long the Wii was $249.99 with nary a price drop). This move reeks of very uncharctristic desperation, and very Un-Nintendo like. Reminds me of what Sony did in Europe with the failing PSPgo.
  • smallberry - July 28, 2011 2:56 p.m.

    All they have to do is get rid of the region lock and I'll buy it tomorrow.
  • Crabhand - July 28, 2011 2:56 p.m.

    Now that is an interesting price. Very cool, it makes me much more likely to buy one a little later down the line.
  • Shatgan - July 28, 2011 2:58 p.m.

    But I already bought some of those VC games! r_r, does that mean I should not buy any virtual console games till those game are free?
  • SVC5 - July 28, 2011 2:58 p.m.

    A price cut isn't doing it for me. I need better games on the system to buy it. If it had a lot of good games I would have paid $250 for it.
  • ACGUY - July 28, 2011 3:01 p.m.

    Ah shit should've waited for this drop instead of first day but. I could've gotten 2 extra games.... :(
  • MattOfSteel - July 28, 2011 3:04 p.m.

    Meh. Yeah it is dropping the price but then again I've had the thing since launch day. I hadn't upgraded the DS since my DS lite. I never got it for the 3D but because it was the first major increase in processor power. I got the third party battery extender and yeah, it does double the battery life. And surprise, surprise ... I still play my DS titles on it. Now I'm getting free awesome retro games? Bitchin' Nintendo is like an old friend. Occasionally they do something retarded, but you know they mean well. Doesn't erase all the good times you've had and will have again if you aren't a judgmental bitch about it.
  • statutoryreparez - July 28, 2011 3:07 p.m.

    I bought one first and even with the lack of good launch games ive been satisfied with street fighter, doa, and ocarina but i know more game will eventually come out even if it IS taking forever
  • Enclave84 - July 28, 2011 3:08 p.m.

    I picked one up the day it came out, but I am happy that atleast there not just saying screw you to the people who bought it before the price drop and are giving us some free games. I'm probably gonna get them all if you can, and if not I'll probably get Metroid fusion and Mario kart...maybe even zelda
  • ACGUY - July 28, 2011 3:11 p.m.

    Wait changed my mind looked at the games they were doing it's already a steal. THANK YOU NIN10DOH!
  • MrDuracraft - July 28, 2011 3:17 p.m.

    @MattOfSteel Wow, well said. OT: I was really surprised when I saw they were dropping it so soon, but 10 free VC games along with 10 exclusive to Ambassadors GBA games? Yes please. On the eShop if each of these games were $4-$5 that's $80-$100 in free games, a great justification to those who have already gotten the 3DS
  • TheDigitalG - July 28, 2011 3:18 p.m.

    Yes! I've never played Yoshis Island, this is very welcomed.
  • Burdmayn - July 28, 2011 3:19 p.m.

    I felt like $250 was a bit expensive from the start but I still bought a 3DS on launch day anyway. Since then, it seems like Nintendo has done nothing but throw free stuff my way to compensate for the lack of full games on the system, and I for one love it! If you really feel like you're being cheated by this price drop, then you should have waited. We have something called the internet these days, and it gives you plenty of ways to research what you're buying into. That aside, I really feel like this gives the 3DS a great fighting chance against the PSVita. It's looking like we're set to repeat the DS vs PSP fight all over again. Cheaper, less powerful hardware against the graphical powerhouse that costs more. I'm rather excited to see how this pans out.
  • Taxtm - July 28, 2011 3:22 p.m.

    I am glad to have gotten a 3DS on release day all the more now. Really, I only did because my DS was screwed up and I couldn't use the L or R buttons at all, so I needed a replacement and went for the upgrade, but this is a great added bonus!

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