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.