As Nathan reported the other day, Nintendo has announced a global price slash on the Nintendo 3DS. I’ve been keeping an eye on the web these last few days, thinking about the situation, and I’ve hit some rather worrying articles lately.
The most striking, is how much Nintendo’s shares have been hit lately, with the gaming website Kotaku reporting that Hiroshi Yamauchi, the former President of Nintendo, lost half a billion dollars in a single night as share prices fell. Andriasang is also reporting that the new price cut means that the company will be running at a loss for every unit sold. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has said that the move, which has shocked critics worldwide, was necessary to improve fiscal performance next year and beyond. As well as the price cut, Nintendo has reported lower earning targets for this year, with 40% of the lowered revision being due to the price cut.
The Nintendo 3DS didn’t have a launch as successful as Nintendo had hoped, with Sony’s PlayStation Portable almost always beating it in the weekly sales charts in Japan.
Many people have blamed this on the high price of the console (£229.99 at launch, compared to the Wii’s launch in 2006, which was £179.99), the launch line-up and list of available games. During the launch period, Nintendo opted to take a backseat to allow third-party developers some more time in the lime-light (the only first-party launch title being Nintendogs + Cats and Pilotwings Resort), which meant that the top-selling 3DS title at launch was Capcom’s 360/PS3 port Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, which while selling for £40 in March, can now be found for less than £20, a mere 4 months later. Whereas other games which we were shown far before the system’s launch, such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Starfox 64 3D and Kid Icarus: Uprising were missing from the launch period (and at the time of writing, only Zelda has been released). Since then, numerous hyped third party games (in particular, MegaMan Legends 3) have been cancelled as developers are unsure about the future of the system.
Nintendo’s own press release has shown that the company is aware of how consumers who purchased the console at launch are now feeling, with quotes such as:
…never in Nintendo’s history have we dropped a system’s trade price so significantly less than 6 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…
…Although we may not be able to completely prevent you from regretting purchasing Nintendo 3DS early
Another aspect which has made the public reluctant to loosen their wallets is the 3D effect itself. In particular, British tabloid “The Sun” (owned by News International…but let’s not get into that =3) ran a campaign about the 3DS around its launch, which has led some of its readers to not allow their children to have the console, claiming that the 3D hurts the eyes. Nintendo have seemingly realised the 3D confusion, as their latest advert doesn’t even seem to try and promote the 3D effect, and Nintendo have even said that it may not be necessary to enjoy games.
Satoru Iwata has taken the blame for the 3DS, opting to take a 50% pay cut, with other representative directors taking a 30% cut and other executives taking a 20% cut. Iwata and Miyamoto aren’t as highly paid as the average American CEO, as Kotaku reports; Iwata making $2mil while Miyamoto makes $1.2mil. Iwata has however, said the company has no plans to sell its games on other platforms. Some retailers are even reported to be withdrawing the 3DS from sale until the price drop (Amazon.com have even put up seperate listings for the price-drop as pre-orders). Used 3DS’ are filling gaming stores, with some only accepting as little as $12.87 for them.
These times are definitely really hard for Nintendo; but do you think there is still hope for the 3DS, or has it been a failure?
Personally, if I hadn’t received my 3DS for free (GAME’s midnight launch competition), I’d be pretty mad now. However, I am still annoyed that games I brought for £39.99 at launch (Street Fighter, Nintendogs and Dead or Alive) are now around £20 in stores – and DOA has only been out for 2 months!