Nintendo Already Dropping 3DS Price by $80, We Explain Why

After launching in the United States on March 25 of this year to a limited selection of games and a lukewarm response, Nintendo is dropping the price of its 3DS, the company’s newest handheld gaming device, by $80. That brings its original price of $250 to a very reasonable $170.

The 3DS is Nintendo’s first real successor to the hit DS device, with brand new, improved hardware packing better performance and a display capable of displaying 3D images. Its auto-stereoscopic display means that games can have a real sense of depth akin to the 3D technology that most theaters have adopted, minus the glasses. Though it has not been as game-changing (excuse my pun) in the industry as the original DS, which introduced touchscreen gaming to the mobile market, Nintendo can boast how this is the first consumer implementation of a glasses-free 3D effect.

Nintendo is making quite a bold move so early on in the 3DS’s lifespan. It is undoubtedly a result of the significant user base that has purchased Nintendo’s previous mobile devices but has yet to make the upgrade. Disappointing worldwide sales of 3.61 million in six months really, really pale in comparison to what Nintendo’s predecessor device, the Nintendo DS, has accomplished. In six and a half years along with multiple iterations based on the same hardware, the DS has sold 146 million.

It is no secret that Apple is dominating the handheld gaming market, and it seems like iOS is not going anywhere. The iPod touch, a multi-functional device which starts at $300 for a current model, has sold over 60 million units in three and a half years. Hundreds of millions more have an iOS device of some form that feature an eclectic library of games downloadable from the App Store for prices that typically do not surpass $6.99. With the capability of smartphones being able to provide a superior experience to many handheld gaming devices, the need for separate hardware cannot be justified to the same degree as could in past years when Nintendo has seen success.

Of course, the best reasons to get a 3DS are to own one of the first devices featuring a display with a glasses-free 3D effect and because we won’t see a Mario or Zelda game of any kind on the iPhone anytime soon.

The updated price will go into effect on August 12. Is the economical price enough to sway you towards a 3DS purchase? Could it complement the mobile gaming your iOS devices provide or do you find that the 3DS features a superior/inferior experience (especially price-wise)?