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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