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Read Satoru Iwata's Apologetic Letter to Existing 3DS Owners

Nintendo's charismatic leader tries to explain the company's drastic price drop.

Satoru Iwata published an apology to 3DS owners on Nintendo's website after the news hit.

UPDATE: Overseas readers point me towards a similarly honest note from Nintendo of Europe, though it's not attributed to anyone particular at the company. It's worth reading in conjunction with Iwata's note.

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When a company's flagship product falters, you don't expect the president to slash his salary in half, but that's exactly what Nintendo's Satoru Iwata did last week, after revealing the drastic 3DS price cut.

Nintendo has not been happy with 3DS hardware sales to date, and rather than patiently waiting another few months for a holiday boost, it's injecting the platform with a signifiant price drop less than six months after launch.

Iwata's making a full court press to boost Nintendo's new handheld, even if it means ticking off early adopter customers, Nintendo's core following.

After the announcement, Iwata published a letter to Nintendo fans on the company's website. This letter hasn't been officially translated to English by Nintendo, nor has Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime passed along something similar. I had a friend translate the letter, which comes across about as heartfelt and genuine as you could expect from the head of a major corporation.

The closet thing I've seen for American customers is a message summarizing the announcement.

I've decided to reprint the translation in full, with the exception of where Iwata details the 3DS Ambassador program, Nintendo's mea culpa through free NES and Game Boy Advance games, which you can read more about here.

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.

The retail price for 3DS will drop from $249.99 to $169.99 on August 12.

In order to participate in the 3DS Ambassador program, log into the eShop before midnight on August 11.

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Posted by patrickklepek
Satoru Iwata published an apology to 3DS owners on Nintendo's website after the news hit.

UPDATE: Overseas readers point me towards a similarly honest note from Nintendo of Europe, though it's not attributed to anyone particular at the company. It's worth reading in conjunction with Iwata's note.

--

When a company's flagship product falters, you don't expect the president to slash his salary in half, but that's exactly what Nintendo's Satoru Iwata did last week, after revealing the drastic 3DS price cut.

Nintendo has not been happy with 3DS hardware sales to date, and rather than patiently waiting another few months for a holiday boost, it's injecting the platform with a signifiant price drop less than six months after launch.

Iwata's making a full court press to boost Nintendo's new handheld, even if it means ticking off early adopter customers, Nintendo's core following.

After the announcement, Iwata published a letter to Nintendo fans on the company's website. This letter hasn't been officially translated to English by Nintendo, nor has Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime passed along something similar. I had a friend translate the letter, which comes across about as heartfelt and genuine as you could expect from the head of a major corporation.

The closet thing I've seen for American customers is a message summarizing the announcement.

I've decided to reprint the translation in full, with the exception of where Iwata details the 3DS Ambassador program, Nintendo's mea culpa through free NES and Game Boy Advance games, which you can read more about here.

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.

The retail price for 3DS will drop from $249.99 to $169.99 on August 12.

In order to participate in the 3DS Ambassador program, log into the eShop before midnight on August 11.

Posted by DystopiaX

well at least they're not doing a psn is down thing and giving you relative crap, the stuff they're givig you is almost worth it

Edited by Grissefar

first

Edit: that's some price cut. It seems like they are dedicated. I just don't know how many moms will buy that thing, still.

Edited by wolf_blitzer85

HEY GUYS IT'S COOL LIKE IN THREE MONTHS YOU'LL HAVE MARIO. YOU ALL LIKE THAT SHIT RIGHT?

Sounds better than that sterile ass apology letter.

Edit: Either way though, still happy with my 3DS and I can't wait to have 20 new icons on my icon bar/tray thing.

Strike that, 20 new PRESENTS on my icon bar/tray thing.

Posted by Xtrminatr

@Grissefar said:

first

even if you were first you wouldn't have gotten the quest.

On topic: Good to see this, it's definitely refreshing to see a company who gives a shit about its user base.

Posted by Mesoian

The price drop really isn't fixing the problem though. There is still going to be a pretty massive hole until november with only StarFox643D (ugh) to hold us over. They are really not convincing me that I need this hardware. I don't even think they've convinced themselves internally that they need this hardware.

Posted by JoeyRavn

Never buy a console on release. Always wait a couple of months for a price drop. Always. At least they are acknowledging the problems, instead of shrugging them off and sweeping them under the rug.

@Grissefar said:

first

You spelled "fail" wrong :O

Posted by Hizang

I am still a bit the games they are giving help make it less painful, but it's still pretty annyoying.

Posted by michaelawesome

Classy Nintendo.

Posted by mrpandaman

Damn son!  
 
At least they are trying to make good with the initial people that bought the system.

Posted by Slaker117

I'm not normally a big fan of Penny Arcade, but yesterday's comic pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter.

Posted by ShinAli

I don't really care about all the old games, I've been playing almost all of them way before the whole virtual console thing via the real thing and emulators.

How about you give us Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart to make up for the terrible launch line up as well as the sudden price drop?

Oh wait I know why it's because old games are basically worthless to them.

Posted by Thor_Molecules

Very interested to see if the price drop has the effect Nintendo is hoping for. 
Seeing that there are almost zero "must-have" 3DS titles right now, it might take more than a pricedrop for people to want to own one.

Posted by Alphazero

The handheld part for both Sony and Nintendo's press conferences at E3 seemed aimed directly at Apple and the iPhone. They know the market is shifting, and dramatically. I don't envy their position.

Posted by GeekDown

I'll probably end up buying one now, I have been putting off buying a DS for years now, so it feels like the time is right.

Posted by TheDudeOfGaming

Satoru Iwata is a stand up guy, that's all i have to say.

Posted by Captain_Felafel

I oddly enjoyed reading that in my head's version of Iwata's Japanese tinged English accent.

Online
Posted by CrossTheAtlantic

I think I've just fallen out of interest with handheld games. When I was a kid, I had all the time in the world to play on one (especially during car rides), but these days, I barely have time to play console/pc games. It's a shame. I remember the hours I lost to Pokemon and later Golden Sun and lots of other great games.

Posted by Legend

Am I the only one who read this in Iwata's voice? :P

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff

I have no regrets about buying my 3DS on launch day, as I've gotten good use out of it. Looking forward to all the free games, though!

And Satoru Iwata continues to prove he is awesome.

Posted by thekingoftoilets

So, in another translation "Hey guys, we dun goofed with our launch library, so we dropped the price on the 3DS, and here is some free stuff you can get if you bought the 3DS early at a later time, along with the other good 3DS games you can have at a later time, so enjoy :D".

Posted by nazer858

@Legend said:

Am I the only one who read this in Iwata's voice? :P

nope :)

Posted by RE_Player1

I liked Kaz's video apology for the Playstation Network more. Dude was in a pimp office with some sick elevator music playing.

Posted by PLWolf

Just gave my son my DS:L and bought a DSI:XL for myself. I'm good.

Posted by Bumpton

Since it's release I've basically just waiting for a good excuse to buy one. The GBA and DS are both amazing systems! Yeah, it's slow to start, but I'm still optimistic. Honestly, the Ambassador program is almost convincing... Those are great games.

Edited by Zithe

So I've read both of these articles and connected to the eShop on my 3DS, but I don't see any information at all confirming that I will get my games or when they will be released. Anyone got more information?

Edit: Well I looked over the Nintendo article and seems the NES games will be coming in September and the GBA games by the end of the year. Little bit longer wait than I was hoping for. I really wish I would have waited for the price drop.

Edited by Famov

Nintendo has some smart people but they clearly made mistakes here.
 
Make some good software available, and I will buy your products. I genuinely look forward for when that happens with the 3DS, and I find that price drop tempting, but for now I will continue to wait.

Posted by Piranesi

Nintendo are slowly realising that the handheld game market has slipped away from them. The death of the 3DS may be greatly exaggerated, but this seems like a company on damage limitation mode. With the Wii cash cow running dry, and Wii U eating through their reserves as they try valiantly / desperately to get third parties on board, they need more than Mario to save them.

Posted by YukoAsho

Classy letter, and you can tell it wasn't written by a secretary, but by the man himself.
 
That said, legacy titles are not enough to make the system worthwhile.  There needs to be new, good software that makes people excited to get the unit.  Nintendo's nostalgia cash-in titles may appease the fanboys, but they need more for the rest of us.

Posted by BadNews
@Mesoian a lot of companies were canceling games probably due to poor 3ds sales. If they lower the price it will sell better, sells better will make it more attractive to developers. This leads to more games meaning it becomes an awesome system.
Posted by TheAdmin

@Piranesi said:

... they need more than Mario to save them.

The problem is that they don't even have Mario there. They have a Zelda port - but not much more.

Posted by shodan2020

It's a nice thought, but I'm still hanging on to my DS Lite. That thing is perfect for me. :)

Posted by Jolt92

I do love me some Nintendo-games, so I can get behind this. Still feels pretty bad, but hey, I had some fun with it and I think I will with these games they're giving us, just read the list and the ones announced are bangers!

Posted by Ub3rSlug

I'm wondering if the dates for Super Mario Land 3D and Mario Kart 7 are in reference to a worldwide launch, or if Iwata was only talking about the Japanese market...

Am I just an idiot or do most (if not all) of the upcoming games from Nintendo only have soft release dates (i.e. a month or season window)?

Posted by LiK

Wonderful Patrick .

Posted by BooDoug187

I'm waiting for them to just go door to door, handing the damn things out and begging you to play it.

Posted by Rockdalf

I'm just glad for the apology and explanation.  Yes, I understand why they did it, I knew why they did it when they did.  But the fact that they bother with explaining it says a lot, and other companies (*cough* Capcom) could learn a lesson here.

Posted by sirdesmond

I hate how people throw a fit when there is a price drop after they buy something. Tough luck. Were you not aware that technology seems to decrease in value as time passes? Were you not aware that early adopters normally always bear the highest cost of entry?

I paid $250 dollars for my 3DS. I walked into a store, gave them that amount of money, and was given the 3DS. The transaction was completed, and I was entirely aware of exactly what I was paying for it (and the fact that it would probably be cheaper in the future). I am happy Nintendo is going to give us "ambassadors" 20 free games, but I wouldn't have thrown a fit if they had done nothing at all.

Posted by crusader8463

Still haven't seen them mention a single reason why I would want  3DS.

Posted by Shaanyboi

I honestly don't feel betrayed by this.  Granted, I didn't have to pay full price for a 3DS due to trade-in deals, but regardless, considering how much I actually use my 3DS (which is actually alot, surprisingly), I feel I've gotten a worthwhile piece of tech with an unfortunately uncertain future. 
 
I'm not big on Nintendo as a company, and I question alot of their decisions and their generally smug attitude.  It's pretty annoying actually.  But they're a company I'm glad exists in contrary to everyone else, doing what other people can't.  I hope this turns around for them...
Posted by Grissefar

@Xtrminatr said:

@Grissefar said:

first

even if you were first you wouldn't have gotten the quest.

On topic: Good to see this, it's definitely refreshing to see a company who gives a shit about its user base.

Which quest?

Edited by EgoCheck616

@BooDoug187 said:

I'm waiting for them to just go door to door, handing the damn things out and begging you to play it.

Looks like the fanboys got their caffeine fix today.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

Am I the only one who still doesn't think this is enough? This didn't seem genuine or heartfelt at all, it seemed pretty boiler-plate to me. They fucked up, they should have been giving people something more than a bunch of games most of us have played on 30 different platforms a million times. PSN users lost online capability for a couple months, and got significant, recent, good games for that. 3DS Early adopters get pretty royally screwed by paying for something that never gets any software worth picking up and then they drop the price before most people even get any use out of them and they get 20 games from 20 years ago? Sony get's shit for their games already having been played, but Nintendo doesn't? On top of that, I'm pretty sure the time window for doing the Sony stuff was a good bit more than 2 weeks that they are giving for this Nintendo thing. Plus those games were available right then and there. Not in later months, like I'm hearing this Nintendo stuff will be.

Posted by Chet_Rippo

If they just released pokemon black and white on the 3DS instead of the DS the sales wouldn't be such a huge problem, plenty of people would have bought it.

But as it stands the only game coming out I'd buy a 3DS for would be luigis mansion 2.

Posted by Brendan

With all the trade in deals, I got a 3DS and a launch game for roughly $160 CAD, so I'm pretty good anyway.

Posted by TwoOneFive

glad i didnt buy that crap id be so mad right now

Posted by mrangryface

"Please Understand" *bow*

I wonder if his letter had that the image of that little construction guy bowing on it.

Posted by DarkBro

It would be cool if being a 3DS Ambassador allowed you to gift one of your 20 free games to a friend or use them in a different way to entice someone to jump on a 3DS. I think of more of a "referral"-type service when I hear the word "Ambassador" myself.

Also, I don't know if others have pointed this out yet, but I'm fairly sure that "apologic" isn't a word (maybe the word Patrick was looking for was "apologetic"?).

Posted by endless_void
@MordeaniisChaos said:

Am I the only one who still doesn't think this is enough? This didn't seem genuine or heartfelt at all, it seemed pretty boiler-plate to me. They fucked up, they should have been giving people something more than a bunch of games most of us have played on 30 different platforms a million times. PSN users lost online capability for a couple months, and got significant, recent, good games for that. 3DS Early adopters get pretty royally screwed by paying for something that never gets any software worth picking up and then they drop the price before most people even get any use out of them and they get 20 games from 20 years ago? Sony get's shit for their games already having been played, but Nintendo doesn't? On top of that, I'm pretty sure the time window for doing the Sony stuff was a good bit more than 2 weeks that they are giving for this Nintendo thing. Plus those games were available right then and there. Not in later months, like I'm hearing this Nintendo stuff will be.

Totally agreed. I sent a very long email to nintendo myself and they had replied back with ``well too bad, we can`t do anymore to help you``. Its just ignorance. If they were loyal to the consumer base, they would take the hit, and atleast wait 6 months, if not a year. Nintendo disappoints me more than ever.
Posted by Shuborno

The $170 price point is one I'd buy a 3DS at if the battery life were better... but it's the same hardware, so no interest from me yet.

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