Nintendo has cut the price of the Nintendo 3DS handheld by a third on all the markets to 169.99 dollars and, considering that the platform is available starting with the middle of March, this is the fastest after launch price cut in the history of video game hardware.
Nintendo also gave out 20 video games to those who bought the device for full price, naming them Ambassadors in the process.
The Nintendo 3DS was originally launched during February in Japan and one month later in the United States, just one year after it was officially confirmed by the manufacturer because of a feared press leak.
The initial sales performance of the 3DS was very good, as players flocked to see how the three dimensional view changed gaming experiences, and Nintendo projected a solid year for the device.
Unfortunately the company failed to big titles needed to sustain that pace and has also delayed some crucial services, like the eShop and the Video feature.
The big question is whether the price cut is a sign of desperation from Nintendo
or just a good marketing move for a handheld that would otherwise go the way of the PSP Go in a few years.
A combination of the two is probably the correct answer, as seen in the use of the word “momentum” (which is usually used by Sony when the PS3 lags behind the Xbox 360) by Nintendo and in the recent sales data from Japan, which shows a big jump in sales.
The cut is also a pretty clear sign that the smartphone gaming revolution is truly affecting handheld gaming and could be a big sign that the Sony made PlayStation Vita
might also face a tough market when it launches before the end of 2011.
The September NPD Group figures will be crucial to Nintendo's future strategy and will show whether the price cut has any significant effect or if those who plan to play on the move are more interested in picking up dollar price titles on the iPhone or on the Android.