3DS: Will Nintendo finally lose the handheld market?

So, today Nintendo finally announced the final plans for the 3DS launch. Japan gets it on the 26th of February, with the rest of the world waiting a month before getting their hands on it. A whole ton of data came out: it comes bundled with a charger stand, an AC adapter, a 10cm telescopic Nintendo 3DS touch pen, a 2GB SD card, six augmented reality cards as well as instruction booklets. New functions include a slide pad, motion sensor and gyro-sensor. It will have parental controls like the Nintendo DSi and the DSi XL portables before it. It is can play games downloaded off the 3DS's Virtual Console as well as games downloaded onto a Nintendo DSi and works with  Nintendo DS game cartridges, and keeps the cameras of the DSi line. They even announced exact sizing, which is a little too dull to post.
 
None of that matters, though, compared to the biggest statistic of all: price. And that is where I think Nintendo will lose people. 
 
The announced price in Japan is 25,000¥. Current conversion rates on XE.com put that at $299.02 in the US, and £189.30/€219.25 for Europe pre-tax (UK typical rates put that at 20% extra, pushing it closer to £230/€265), which is more than the Wii. 
 
Now, yes, it's a very cool piece of kit; portable 3D, capable of running games with great graphical quality, etcetera. But let's be serious, here. For the UK price, you can have a 250GB Xbox 360S with 3 games and £20 spare to spend on more stuff, or be £20 shy of a 160GB PS3 Slim. Both offer way more playability. If you insist on being portable, you could have a PSP and a DSi together for that cost. Is it really worth that much? 
 
I'm sure it will sell well at launch, but like it seems is happening with the Wii now it will tail off afterwards if they can't justify it well. Nintendo need to learn the lesson from Sony and the PS3 launch, which here in the UK launched with a bit of a sad trumpet due to the astronomical pricing. A high entry cost means early adopters might be the only adopters for quite a while, and without holiday sales to prop it up, this could be the first time another company (Sony, with the practically confirmed PSP2) takes the handheld crown...

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Posted by flufflogic

So, today Nintendo finally announced the final plans for the 3DS launch. Japan gets it on the 26th of February, with the rest of the world waiting a month before getting their hands on it. A whole ton of data came out: it comes bundled with a charger stand, an AC adapter, a 10cm telescopic Nintendo 3DS touch pen, a 2GB SD card, six augmented reality cards as well as instruction booklets. New functions include a slide pad, motion sensor and gyro-sensor. It will have parental controls like the Nintendo DSi and the DSi XL portables before it. It is can play games downloaded off the 3DS's Virtual Console as well as games downloaded onto a Nintendo DSi and works with  Nintendo DS game cartridges, and keeps the cameras of the DSi line. They even announced exact sizing, which is a little too dull to post.
 
None of that matters, though, compared to the biggest statistic of all: price. And that is where I think Nintendo will lose people. 
 
The announced price in Japan is 25,000¥. Current conversion rates on XE.com put that at $299.02 in the US, and £189.30/€219.25 for Europe pre-tax (UK typical rates put that at 20% extra, pushing it closer to £230/€265), which is more than the Wii. 
 
Now, yes, it's a very cool piece of kit; portable 3D, capable of running games with great graphical quality, etcetera. But let's be serious, here. For the UK price, you can have a 250GB Xbox 360S with 3 games and £20 spare to spend on more stuff, or be £20 shy of a 160GB PS3 Slim. Both offer way more playability. If you insist on being portable, you could have a PSP and a DSi together for that cost. Is it really worth that much? 
 
I'm sure it will sell well at launch, but like it seems is happening with the Wii now it will tail off afterwards if they can't justify it well. Nintendo need to learn the lesson from Sony and the PS3 launch, which here in the UK launched with a bit of a sad trumpet due to the astronomical pricing. A high entry cost means early adopters might be the only adopters for quite a while, and without holiday sales to prop it up, this could be the first time another company (Sony, with the practically confirmed PSP2) takes the handheld crown...

Posted by Willy105

That's kinda hard to believe. Apple's products sell at around twice the price the 3DS will be in Japan, and they are doing very well, and they are Nintendo's only competitors in the market.
 
Unlike, the PS3, it is not the most expensive in the market, the 3DS is actually the cheapest of the next gen handhelds (3DS, iPhone, iPad). 
 
However, it gives Sony a great opportunity to bring a super cheap handheld into the brawl.

Edited by ProfessorEss
@Willy105 said:

However, it gives Sony a great opportunity to bring a super cheap handheld into the brawl. "

Haha, that's like saying "...it gives the latest summer blockbuster movie the opportunity to release an awesome videogame." :P
Posted by odintal

considering the technology behind it, the price isn't that bad. 

Edited by ProfessorEss
@odintal said:

" considering the technology behind it, the price isn't that bad.  "

But if you ignore the tech behind it the price is pretty bad.
That's A LOT more than I'll ever pay for toilet/airplane gaming.
Posted by xyzygy

OMG, you can get a 360S with three games for 40 £ less than a PS3 Slim with no games and a smaller hard drive in the UK?! That's almost theft. 
 
On topic, I don't think Nintendo will ever lose the handheld market. Remember, this thing can also play DS games so people can just sell/trade in their DS's and use the money towards this.

Posted by flufflogic

DS trade prices are rubbish now, though. By March, they'll be abysmal. 
 
I think having a handheld that costs more than a comparable home system is a massive sales killer; think PSP Go, which over here is £250, twice the cost of a standard PSP3000. 
 
And yes, the cost of a PS3 over here is pretty much wallet rape. Even second hand, a 360 with 120GB HDD is £100, and the nearest PS3 is the 40GB for £130...

Edited by Kindrik
@flufflogic: True, but some retailers will do a special "Trade in your DS (Lite/i) here and get $XX off of a 3DS preorder!" type thing, temporarily bumping up the DS trade value so that you'll buy the 3DS from them. At least I believe that's what will happen and I remember EB Games doing it for GBA towards a DS.
Posted by Diamond

To me it seems too high for mainstream gamer appeal, it doesn't have all the functionality of a smartphone so it's not really comparable.  Still, Sony hasn't shown off anything with regards to the PSP2 and the 3DS has a really strong library seemingly.
 
What drives casual gamers to buy handhelds like the DS and Gameboy, which were always gateway systems?  I think a low price was always a factor...  If this was a normal time for gaming we'd probably be expecting the next generation of consoles at a higher price sometime soon, but it's not.
 
The economy for actual people is only getting worse and worse, will people pay more and more for gaming?

Posted by ryanwho

Internet experts speaking with the same expertise they did on the Wii years ago. 

Posted by Chaser324

Even at a $300 price point, the 3DS is guaranteed to still sell millions of units based simply on the branding, the appeal of the cutting edge tech, and the current DS user base. If you can't or won't pay that much, keep in mind that the price will eventually drop.

Moderator
Posted by flufflogic
@ryanwho said:
" Internet experts speaking with the same expertise they did on the Wii years ago.  "
But the Wii was an affordable gamble. At a £180 launch price, it was far cheaper than either rival, and offered a more family friendly games experience. The 3DS launches against its old version, and with a serious minus point: it's over twice as much as a DSi. Advance or no, the launch line-up is more to attract us, not the typical DS owner. It's out of season to sell to kids, it's out of price range to be a year-round seller, so the early buyers will be adults who early adopt. That's not a massive market for Nintendo, compared to families. 
 
As for trade offers, most will be "get it half price"; already here in the UK, a DSi is only worth £75 trade, an XL £100. Both are less than halfway to a 3DS, expected at £250. The psychological barrier of getting rid of something and still having to pay over £100 is big, and that's why it'll be early adopters who drive sales. 
 
Look, people are putting forwards the same arguments they pushed for the PS3 launch; that was a big failure. It had the branding, the popular old model that everyone had, and a huge price. The last point wrecked sales, turning an expected huge launch crowd (500+ was what Sony boasted at the time) at the flagship launch into a queue of less than 50 people. I'm not saying Nintendo will have that; I'm saying it's an indicator of what could happen here. In the US/Japan, I'm sure they'll sell plenty at launch, but to the same people who went mad for iPad. Gamers... will wait until it hits sub-£200/€200/$250, and Nintendo don't drop hardware prices very quick. 3 years on, a Wii is still £150, a mere £30 off the launch price, and sales have almost halted.
Posted by TheGreatGuero

It won't cost that much in the US. I can't imagine it being more than $200. In Japan, Nintendo can get away with it because they'll gladly gobble up anything Nintendo releases. Here their audience is tougher, so they'll lower the price to accommodate. Well, that's my prediction, anyway.

Posted by scarace360

Hey Nintendo will never fail. We thought the same thing when they showed the wii off. We thought they where crazy. Look at what happened.

Posted by Shirogane
@Willy105 said:
"However, it gives Sony a great opportunity to bring a super cheap handheld into the brawl. "


I'm not the only one who laughed at this right?
Posted by CharleyTony

I don't understand why people put the DS PSP, iPhone, iPod Touch in the same "Handheld" section. Do people really buy "iPod Touch"(es) just to play games ? 
When I look at those products, there is a handheld gaming setion, that is the DS and the PSP. The other stuff is Mobile Gaming.  
Sure it has come a long way from the crap we saw 5 years ago but since a big portion of the devices are actually smartphones and need a contract for service ( Im putting iPhones, iPod Touch, Android, Blackberry, WindowsMobile in the same category) the main customer here is an adult, not kids. 
 
Mobile gaming is digital distribution games, no physical copies available, devices that usually require a service contract, a market that also sells Apps. 
Handheld gaming is Physical games and digitally available games, product that require a publisher because you need to make physical copies of the ames, releases that are full price (20 to 40 $), the machine does not require a contract, can be played by children. 
 
if you look at 3DS vs PSP2 , we can't say who will come out on top because we know next to nothing about the PSP2, while the 3DS is almost at our doorstep. The 300$ price tag is a little bit much but Im sure Nintendo chose that because they believe that they can get away with it and people will still buy it. Im am stil in the wait and see position, my DS works fine and doesn't that much playtime. I dont need a new system right now...
Posted by JJWeatherman
@TheGreatGuero said:
" It won't cost that much in the US. I can't imagine it being more than $200. In Japan, Nintendo can get away with it because they'll gladly gobble up anything Nintendo releases. Here their audience is tougher, so they'll lower the price to accommodate. Well, that's my prediction, anyway. "
I hope you're right. If it is lowered though, I only see it coming down to maybe $250. Cutting the price $100 in just a months time seems unlikely.
Posted by Willy105
@Shirogane said:
" @Willy105 said:
"However, it gives Sony a great opportunity to bring a super cheap handheld into the brawl. "
I'm not the only one who laughed at this right? "
Well, if they want to actually do anything next-gen, this would be the time to do it.
Posted by flufflogic

I have to admit, everything I hear about PSP2 makes me think it too will be costly; touchscreens are not cheap, and replacing buttons will up costs per unit. 
 
I doubt Nintendo will reduce outside Japan; everyone thought the Wii would be cheaper, too, and it turned out to cost more (Proof for the doubters). So yeah, expect a little mark-up for outside Japan.

Posted by kagato

Personally i reckon Nintendo will go for a £250 price point and that will sell just fine.  On launch it will sell out as Gamers rush their local stores and by the time the holidays roll around the price will drop and things like 3d brain training and professor layton will cater to the masses.
Posted by WinterSnowblind

It's pretty pointless to discuss the UK and US prices because we don't know what they are.  Direct conversions aren't going to be accurate.  I can definitely see the unit being £250 in the UK, but if Nintendo want to stick to their 'cheap' philosphy then I doubt it'll be over £200.  While I'm sure it would still sell well, it would alienate a lot of buyers.

Posted by EpicSteve

$300!!!!!

Online
Posted by Gamer_152

It's a lot of cash for a 3DS but I still don't think Nintendo are at risk of losing the handheld market any time soon.

Moderator
Posted by TheGreatGuero
@JJWeatherman said:
" @TheGreatGuero said:
" It won't cost that much in the US. I can't imagine it being more than $200. In Japan, Nintendo can get away with it because they'll gladly gobble up anything Nintendo releases. Here their audience is tougher, so they'll lower the price to accommodate. Well, that's my prediction, anyway. "
I hope you're right. If it is lowered though, I only see it coming down to maybe $250. Cutting the price $100 in just a months time seems unlikely. "
Considering that the American equivalent is $300, I think it might be easy to believe that it would be $250 here. However, the Wii launched at $250, so really I think it'd be pretty outrageous for a handheld to cost that much or more.
Posted by iAmJohn

No.

Posted by Gizmo

EVERYONE would buy one if it was £150.

Posted by Jethuty

 
This is the exact outcome. 
Posted by Azteck
@Gizmo said:
" EVERYONE would buy one if it was £150. "
I wouldn't..
 
And yes, it's a pretty steep price for a handheld. Then again, keep in mind that this is coming from someone who's not big on handhelds. I can certainly see why it's popular, it's just not for me. Nevertheless, asking for $300 is pretty heavy, but as stated above, Apple manages just fine. You have to remember though that you get a lot more usability out of most apple products than you will from a 3DS. Might be completely off on this though.
Posted by Zithe
@Azteck said:
" I wouldn't..  And yes, it's a pretty steep price for a handheld. Then again, keep in mind that this is coming from someone who's not big on handhelds. I can certainly see why it's popular, it's just not for me. Nevertheless, asking for $300 is pretty heavy, but as stated above, Apple manages just fine. You have to remember though that you get a lot more usability out of most apple products than you will from a 3DS. Might be completely off on this though. "
The way I see it, the 3DS is in a special place that separates it from typical handhelds. While we are still struggling to get  3D working well in TVs, something the size of the 3DS is much easier. It's finally bringing something to the handheld that consoles can't do better yet.
Posted by Gonmog
@flufflogic: Umm that is wrong 2500 yen is 300 bucks :/ LOL 
Posted by Azteck
@Zithe said:
" @Azteck said:
" I wouldn't..  And yes, it's a pretty steep price for a handheld. Then again, keep in mind that this is coming from someone who's not big on handhelds. I can certainly see why it's popular, it's just not for me. Nevertheless, asking for $300 is pretty heavy, but as stated above, Apple manages just fine. You have to remember though that you get a lot more usability out of most apple products than you will from a 3DS. Might be completely off on this though. "
The way I see it, the 3DS is in a special place that separates it from typical handhelds. While we are still struggling to get  3D working well in TVs, something the size of the 3DS is much easier. It's finally bringing something to the handheld that consoles can't do better yet. "
This is true, but you have to remember that it's not super comfortable (as far as I could tell) to use. I mean, you have to have your head in a specific way to see the full 3D which could get kind of aggravating after a while, that is, assuming they didn't fix that? I'm not saying it's a bad piece of technology, it's certainly impressive. I just don't see how people would use it comfortably. That said, I'm sure it'll sell well. Maybe not Wii-well, but enough to cover expenses and let them buy lobster for dinner  for a few months.
Posted by Gonmog

Most people have said it is not bad at all. you only really hold a hand held in one way anyways so there is not extra strain to hold it the "right" way.@Azteck:

Posted by Zithe
@Azteck:  I guess the point I was trying to make was more about the fact that it's finally given us a reason to play our handhelds at home, even. Normally I'm with you about not being big on handhelds. I have a DSi, but I rarely touch it (pun not intended). I'm almost always at home, so I can just play my consoles or PC. But when the 3DS launches, I feel like having 3D that actually works would give me motivation to finally pick up my handheld in place of consoles.
Posted by Azteck
@Gonmog said:
" Most people have said it is not bad at all. you only really hold a hand held in one way anyways so there is not extra strain to hold it the "right" way.@Azteck: "
Well that's good to know. I'm probably way behind on all that stuff, I don't really keep up with Nintendo products.
@Zithe said:
" @Azteck:  I guess the point I was trying to make was more about the fact that it's finally given us a reason to play our handhelds at home, even. Normally I'm with you about not being big on handhelds. I have a DSi, but I rarely touch it (pun not intended). I'm almost always at home, so I can just play my consoles or PC. But when the 3DS launches, I feel like having 3D that actually works would give me motivation to finally pick up my handheld in place of consoles. "
I can totally see what you mean. It's different from other consoles and thus gives you an incentive to use it instead of just having one to play on the go. Out of curiosity, how long do you think the new-tech-feeling will last with the 3DS? Out of experience, a lot of new technology seizes to be as amazing as they were when you first bought them within months. That might not be the case with this one though as it's truly innovative, and almost one of a kind on the market.
Posted by Zithe
@Azteck said
" I can totally see what you mean. It's different from other consoles and thus gives you an incentive to use it instead of just having one to play on the go. Out of curiosity, how long do you think the new-tech-feeling will last with the 3DS? Out of experience, a lot of new technology seizes to be as amazing as they were when you first bought them within months. That might not be the case with this one though as it's truly innovative, and almost one of a kind on the market. "
Well, I am personally very excited for 3D gaming so I might be a little bit biased. In the last couple of months, I have seen many people questioning if 3D will really add to the gameplay or just act as a new shiny coat of paint. I am convinced that being able to better judge distances and depth will have a major impact on gaming. I especially notice this when looking at current games like Tumble (check out this Quick Look at around 22:00). I also think it will fix a lot of camera issues in modern games.
 
So to answer your question, I don't know how quick gamers will grow accustomed to the 3D experience. I doubt it will take long, as humans usually adapt to things fairly quickly. However, I think once you reach this point, you might be a little bit disappointed when going back to 2D.
Edited by zityz

It will sell perfectly fine. IF there is one thing to remember in life is that people will ALWAYS try to buy the latest tech piece no matter the price. Honestly if you think that paying $300 for a handheld that has the best visuals out for a handheld, 3D without the use of glasses and a slew more improvements that are quite cool. Look no further than your local starbucks to see all those idiots who have bought a MacBook just for word processing and internet.  
 
If people will buy a $599 PS3 at launch people will buy a $300 handheld. 
If people will buy a $549 iPad for only the 16GB model people will buy a $300 handheld 
If people will buy a $429 iTouch with 64GB people will buy a $300 handheld with 2.5GB capacity 
 
so it will sell.

Posted by Diamond
@zityz said:
If people will buy a $599 PS3 at launch people will buy a $300 handheld.
Some people buy Ferraris and take trips into orbit, too.  We're talking about mass market appeal.  $300 or $250 is a lot better than $600 though.
Posted by flufflogic
@Gonmog said:
" @flufflogic: Umm that is wrong 2500 yen is 300 bucks :/ LOL  "
Used XE.com, as I said in the post; here's a screencap. 
 
Posted by Gonmog
@flufflogic
I have to admit, everything I hear about PSP2 makes me think it too will be costly; touchscreens are not cheap, and replacing buttons will up costs per unit. 
 
I doubt Nintendo will reduce outside Japan; everyone thought the Wii would be cheaper, too, and it turned out to cost more (Proof for the doubters). So yeah, expect a little mark-up for outside Japan.
Not to be a dick. But reread what you posted. May have been a mistake but you clearly said that the wii cost more outside of Japan and give a website with bad info on out to prove your point. And now you post with a link showing your wrong.
Edited by flufflogic
@Gonmog said:

" @flufflogic

I have to admit, everything I hear about PSP2 makes me think it too will be costly; touchscreens are not cheap, and replacing buttons will up costs per unit. 
 
I doubt Nintendo will reduce outside Japan; everyone thought the Wii would be cheaper, too, and it turned out to cost more (Proof for the doubters). So yeah, expect a little mark-up for outside Japan.

Not to be a dick. But reread what you posted. May have been a mistake but you clearly said that the wii cost more outside of Japan and give a website with bad info on out to prove your point. And now you post with a link showing your wrong. "
Uh... no. If you follow the link, you will see the Wii in Japan cost the equivalent of $205, and launched in the US at $250. It launched here at £180, equivalent to $300. It's not bad information, it's actually right there on the page in the exact section the link goes to! 
 
That's twice you've done that now. To repeat: the announced price is 25000¥, conversion of which on XE.com comes out as roughly $300. The Wii launched at the same price in Japan, at the time converting to $205 after sales tax is removed; US price was $250 at launch. Therefore, it is likely they will again mark the price up.
Posted by SathingtonWaltz
@scarace360: Idk. Lets not forget that after the SNES, compared to Sony, Nintendo was slowly on the decline. The N64 is well remembered and loved, but look at the sales numbers. The Playstation destroyed it. And then the Gamecube, they were falling even faster. The PS2 sold more units than both the Gamecube and Xbox combined, and it's STILL SELLING. I don't think people give Sony credit where they deserve it.  
 
They did A LOT of things right in the past, and the PS3 launch was really the first real blunder (a big one at that too) they made. But still, compared to the past consoles that were in third place (Sega Saturn, Turbografx 16), I would say the PS3 is still relatively successful thanks to Sony's strong first party exclusive library, free and ever expanding/growing online service, and decent third party support (now). There long term commitment strategy for the system was not perfect, but it's turning out to really be working for them. 
Posted by Max_Antrax
@flufflogic: its a a product from nintendo. 
 
So all your points are invalid
Posted by damnboyadvance

You have to remember though, there is no official price for the US yet, and things like that tend to be a little less expensive here. So I wouldn't expect anything more than $250.
 
When you consider the technology though, the price could be well worth it, even if it's more than an iPod Touch.

Posted by flufflogic

Y'see, this is the thing; it'll sell. I just don't think it'll be anywhere near the 4 million Nintendo expect in the first month. I mean, yes, iPad did similar to that, iPhones tend to do that - but they're multifunction devices. Has any console ever had a 4 million opening month?

Posted by Konanda


You are forgetting something in your arguement and that is shit is more expensive in Japan for pretty much everything!  
Expecting the price in other parts of the world to be what it is in Japan is not something you can count on. It's actually more likely that this new product is going to be more expensive in Japan. That is the more statistically accurate prediction to make based on price is that it will be cheaper in North America and Europe.

Assuming that the Japanese price will carry over to those regions is not logical in the slightest.     

Posted by bartok

I think it is going to go down in price in the US. The only way Nintendo will lose the handheld crown is if  "PSP 2" has dual analogue sticks, faster load time,  cheaper price, and makes people forget what a mess the original PSP was.

Posted by Hailinel

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.

Posted by MikkaQ

PSP cost just as much upon launch and the original DS wasn't much cheaper, people will pay this. Pretty silly to say they'll lose their footing on the market because of a launch price. Look at the PS3, they ended up doing okay. Besides it'll drop in price, and sell gangbusters either way.

Posted by Ace829
@Konanda:  So hopefully a $225-$250 price range in the US?
Posted by Jimbo

The novelty factor is gonna sell this thing like crazy.  If they price it lower than $300 and sell out straight away, it'll just end up being sold on ebay at $300 (or more) anyway, so what's the point?  Once the initial rush dies down and they can comfortably keep up with demand, they'll just drop it a bit and sell another zillion units.

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