Ever since Nintendo cut the price of the 3DS last August, the company has been selling the handheld at a loss. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata tells The Independent that won't be the case for the 3DS XL, as it will be making a profit on each and every one sold. It won't be that big of a profit, he says, but it's a profit nonetheless. Unfortunately, Iwata remained resistant to The Independent's questioning on the price of the Wii U, saying that since the company hasn't announced a price for the Wii U yet, it's too early for him to speak on whether or not it will be sold at a profit.
You might also be surprised to hear Iwata say that for future Nintendo consoles and handhelds, 3D will likely only be a minor selling point. He reckons that the excitement of having glasses-free 3D (and indeed, the idea of 3D in general) is waning a bit in consumers, and that video games aren't only about what you see on the screen:
I think it’s an important element, it makes graphics more impactful, it proves a sense of immersion that 2D doesn’t have, so I would say generally that 3D is better than 2D. It’s nice to have good graphics but not necessarily on their own, so I don’t think we’ll present [3D graphics] as one of the key features of our consoles but will probably stick with 3D as one of the minor elements of our consoles in the future.
Even if 3D isn't going to be the major selling point in Nintendo consoles moving forward, Nintendo has proven in the past that it's capable of coming up with new ideas that excite gamers. One only needs to look at the Wii's motion controls to see that. Nintendo is hoping for a repeat of the Wii's success with the Wii U and its tablet-like controller, but whether or not consumers will bite remains to be seen.
Oh, and for the record, even though Iwata admits that the smartphone gaming scene has changed the way we play and make portable games, he thinks there's still room for smartphones and dedicated handhelds to exist alongside one another so long as the handheld manufacturers can deliver worthwhile exclusives. If the company can do that, then he thinks Nintendo will have a "chance to survive" in 2012's portable gaming arena.