GAMING GIANT Nintendo's president, Satoru Iwata has issued an apology to the loyal Nintendo fanbase who invested in the 3DS early after it emerged that the Japanese gaming juggernaut will slash the retail price of the handheld console.
Stating early adopters "may feel betrayed" by the decision to cut the recommended retail price from £229.99 to an expected £150-£155 in the UK just six months after its release, Iwata blames an unnamed situation that "has changed greatly" since February.
Whether this anomaly is the continued rise in popularity of rival platforms such as Apple's IOS or Android is not clear, but what is obvious is Nintendo's strategy to position the 3DS as the market leader of the handheld sector.
In the open letter to consumers, originally in Japanese but translated by Giant Bomb, Iwata said:
"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."
In layman's terms what Nintendo is trying to do is stimulate sales in order to incite developers into dedicating more time and resources in the production of 3DS software that appeals to potential buyers, and stimulate the supply and demand cycle further. Simples.
Analysts have suggested slashing the shelf price would be the most efficient way of reigniting interest in the console while others have tabled the idea of Nintendo providing cash incentives to game studios along the lines of the smartphone subsidy model.
In an attempt to extinguish the fires of anger burning in the bellies of early 3DS buyers Nintendo is promising free games and other gifts as part of a package it's calling the "3DS Ambassador Program". More details on that as they come.
Read the full letter from Satoru Iwata to 3DS fans below. µ
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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.