As a result of poorer than expected worldwide sales for Nintendo’s 3DS, the company has announced significant price cuts for its latest handheld, effective in August, in the hopes of increasing unit sales ahead of the all-important Holiday period in November and December this year.
Starting August 11th in Japan, the price of the 3DS will be cut from ¥25,000 ($320) to ¥15,000 ($192). On August 12th in the US, the price will drop from $249 to $169.99.
Also on August 12th, the price of the 3DS in Australia will be cut from AU $349.95 to AU$249.95.
Price cuts for the 3DS are also coming to Europe and South Africa on August 12th, with exact pricing information to be announced at a later date. Europe in particular will enjoy a price drop of “around a third,” a spokesperson confirmed to VG247, “as part of a global trade price reduction initiative.”
If you already own a 3DS, however, and have connected to the Nintendo eShop at least once before August 11th, you’ll be entitled to a collection of free games as part of a newly announced ‘Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program’ to reward “Nintendo’s most loyal customers.”
Twenty free games will be available to members of this programme, and starting September 1st you’ll be able to download ten NES Virtual Console games for free, including Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Jr., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber and The Legend of Zelda.
In addition, ten Game Boy Advance games will also become available for free download by the end of the year to members of the Ambassador programme, including Yoshi’s Island, Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Mario vs. Donkey Kong.
These Game Boy Advance games will be exclusive to Ambassadors and “Nintendo currently has no plans to make these 10 games available to the general public on the Nintendo 3DS in the future.”
It’s no secret that the 3DS has been coolly received around the world with very little software to back up the console’s new features, including glasses-free 3D, improved wireless capabilities and social features. Nintendo confirmed this reception with raw numbers during a recent investor report, revealing that only 0.71 million 3DS units were sold in the three months ending June 30th, accompanied by software sales of only 4.53 million during this reporting period.
Similarly, sales of the Wii dropped to 1.56 million units during the quarter (down from 3.04 million last year) and DS sales fell to 1.44 million (down from 3.15 million last year).
Good news, however, is that Nintendo has confirmed release windows for two of the 3DS’s biggest titles this year, Super Mario 3D Land (final name) in November and Mario Kart 7 (working title) in December.
Star Fox 64 3D is also in the mix (due September 9th), while Kid Icarus: Uprising is slated for a ‘holiday season’ release.