Nintendo CEO issues 3DS “dramatic price drop” apology

Aug 4, 2011
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Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has published an apologetic open letter to Nintendo 3DS early-adopters, who "may feel betrayed" by the company's decision to slash the handheld's price to $169.99 mere months after its launch. The letter, available in Japanese on Nintendo's site and translated by Giant Bomb, blames a situation in the gaming segment that has "changed greatly" even in the short time since the 3DS went on sale.

"If the software creators and those on the retail side are not confident that the Nintendo 3DS is a worthy successor to the DS and will achieve a similarly broad (user) base," Iwata suggests, "it will be impossible for the 3DS to gain popularity, acquire a wide range of software, and eventually create the product cycle necessary for everyone to be satisfied with the system." In short, without strong initial sales to produce a solid user-base, developers may turn their attentions to rival platforms or smartphone gaming for iOS or Android.

A slash in the sticker price was the easiest way to achieve that, Iwata argues, though we did suggest that Nintendo could go one step further and borrow some of the smartphone subsidy model. "We feel a strong responsibility to develop the 3DS as a platform" the chief exec concludes, outlining the so-called "3DS Ambassador" program which aims to salve the upset with free games and other content.

Nintendo of Europe has published a similar open letter, saying that it is "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."

To Those Customers Who Bought A Nintendo 3DS Before The Price Change

Greetings, everyone. This is Satoru Iwata from Nintendo.

Thank you very much for purchasing a Nintendo 3DS.

We have just announced a price drop for the Nintendo 3DS system effective on August 11 [August 12 in North America].

In the past, there have been price drops for video game systems some time after their release in order to broaden the user base further. However, never before has Nintendo chosen to issue such a dramatic price drop less than 6 months after a system release.

We are all too keenly aware that those of you who supported us by purchasing the 3DS in the beginning may feel betrayed and criticize this decision.

This unprecedented timing for a price cut is because the situation has changed greatly since we originally launched the 3DS. We decided it was necessary to take this drastic step in order to ensure that large numbers of users will continue to enjoy the 3DS in the future.

If the software creators and those on the retail side are not confident that the Nintendo 3DS is a worthy successor to the DS and will achieve a similarly broad (user) base, it will be impossible for the 3DS to gain popularity, acquire a wide range of software, and eventually create the product cycle necessary for everyone to be satisfied with the system.

Those customers who purchased the 3DS at the very beginning are extremely important to us. We know that there is nothing we can do to completely make up for the feeling that you are being punished for buying the system early. Still, we would like to offer the following as a sign of our appreciation to you.

[3DS Ambassador program details]

We feel a strong responsibility to develop the 3DS as a platform -- to ensure that, in the end, everyone is satisfied; we will make every effort to do so.

Additionally, we know everyone is waiting for Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. They are scheduled for release in November and December, respectively, so we ask for your patience until then.

Thank you again, and we look forward to your continued support.


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