In a surprisingly aggressive move by the usually conservative Nintendo of Japan, the 3DS will be seeing a substantial price drop in it’s home territory, with new 3DS’ now being priced at 15,000 yen, down from the previous launch price of 25,000 yen. At current exchange rates, that’s a savings of almost $110 dollars, and possibly the single biggest price drop for a major piece of gaming hardware in history.
UPDATE: Nintendo of America has confirmed that this price drop and free downloadable games offer applies to the US as well: As of August 12th, new North American 3DS units will retail at $170 dollars, and all current 3DS owners who connect to the 3DS e-Shop before August 11th will get access to the free NES and GBA games detailed in the original story, after the jump:
In addition to the cheaper hardware, Nintendo is also tossing out twenty (!) free Virtual Console titles for existing owners of the 3DS, divided evenly between NES classics and Game Boy Advance games. These games aren’t shovelware either, as the free games contain well-regarded hits like Super Mario Bros (NES), The Legend of Zelda (NES), Metroid Fusion (GBA), and the GBA version of Super Mario Bros 3, as well as several more.
As stated earlier, this is an uncharacteristically aggressive move by Nintendo, and this sudden change in strategy was motivated by two factors: panic over the impending release of the PS Vita, which is priced at the 3DS’ former, higher price, and the fact that while 3DS sales have been decent, the system has yet to achieve the runaway, effortless success and fast adoption rate of previous Nintendo handhelds. As the dedicated handheld gaming market continues to be cannibalized by smartphone gaming apps, it will be interesting to see if Nintendo’s new pricing increases the system’s tepid sales, but at the very least, the 3DS is certainly looking like a more attractive purchase.