Round Table: The 3DS Price Is Right(?)

Following the announcement of 3DS’s final retail price of $250, the staff gives reactions. Too cheap, a fair deal or way too much for Nintendo’s latest piece of hardware? Find out inside!

By Adam Sorice. Posted 01/19/2011 16:30 3 Comments     ShareThis

Wario World pile of gold artwork masthead

Unless you’ve been under a 2D rock today, you’ll be well aware that Nintendo has now announced both the release date and pricing for its latest handheld console, the 3DS. Hitting stores stateside on March 27th at the price of $250, we now know when we will be able to get our hands on Nintendo’s first foray into the world of 3D and exactly what it will set us back.

But is it worth it? And will our staff race to the stores on launch day to pick up their very own 3DS? Read on to find out the staff’s reaction to all the big news of today.

Matthew Tidman

I was planning on Nintendo releasing 3DS at $300. Really, it was one of the few things I was sure about with the system. But as Nintendo is prone to do, it shocked me by selling the system for $50 less than I was planning on. Of course, after factoring in the cost of a game, it’s still going to probably end up being $300, but that’s just the nature of the beast.

So what do we get for our $249.99? A couple of pack-in wares, a dock, and a sense of superiority. It’s a shame though that none of the wares excite me, though. It’s like the pack-in ware on DSi XL: a couple of random things that I probably wouldn’t have spent money on if I’d had the choice. Other than my laughter at a misread of “Face Riders” instead of “Face Raiders,” there’s really nothing I’m too excited about coming packed in with the system.

But I am now likely to buy the system on day one. I was a little shaky when considering a possible price of $300, but $250 is a lot easier to stomach. Now I just wish that Nintendo would let me know exactly what games I’m going to be playing with my launch system.

James Stank

I was planning on paying whatever Nintendo wanted for 3DS. $250 is great because now I get to put some of that money that I had planned on spending on the system towards games. I know that $250 is a good deal of cash, but you get so much for it; I can’t argue against it. It is more powerful than Wii, and can depict graphics close to those of the PlayStation 3 (as seen in Resident Evil: Revelations). So in all honesty, how could 3DS not be $250, or more?

Four Swords Link rupee artwork
Link (and Link, Link and Link) shouldn’t be fighting over Rupees, $250 is a fair price for 3DS according to James.

While we still don’t know exactly which games we will have on launch day, the fact that you can download classic Game Boy and Game Boy Color games more than makes up for what could be a launch lacking Ocarina of Time. If Link’s Awakening DX is on the Nintendo eShop on day one, that will be more than enough to tide gamers over until Ocarina.

The interesting thing now, is when the PSP2 will release, and at what cost? I can’t see it being cheaper than 3DS, so it will probably be $300. Either way, March 27 can’t come soon enough! I was hoping the console would release here in America closer to the Japanese launch, but this gives me time to finish the DS games that I haven’t beaten yet (and there’s quite a few of them).

M. Noah Ward

In the end, this media event wasn’t as revelatory as I’d hoped. Knowing the price and release date is great, and $250 is definitely better than $300. But with only three first party games mentioned from Nintendo for the system’s launch– Steel Diver, Pilotwings Resort and nintendogs + cats— and several others (first and third party alike) attributed to “launch window” (whatever that’s supposed to mean (ed.: it means between launch day and e3)) is annoying. Also disappointing is the lack of details on 3D movie rentals/sales/downloads– they weren’t mentioned. Yes, the pedometer is clever and a single system friend code is an overdue godsend. But I bring up all these other details because $250 remains a substantial amount of money. You could get roughly 5 full retail Wii games for that price, 8 DS games, or scads of WiiWare or DSiWare titles. You could even get a new home console if you wanted (but as my quibbling cohosts and listeners said in the last podcast, that doesn’t happen).

But, as DMGIce once wrote in to the podcast about, he needs a substantial ratio of must-have games to justify a system’s purchase. I’m the same way– except I want the games to actually be available for purchase. With all the games we know are in the pipeline for 3DS, and all the breathless promises from Nintendo, 3DS has the potential to have one of the best first-year software catalogs of all-time, console or handheld. But until I know when those must-have games are coming out, or see a steady stream of 3D movies to play on the device, I’m not going to dump $250 to play submarines and hang gliders.

Adam Sorice

I wasn’t sure how the European 3DS conference would make me feel, I just wasn’t banking on “completely ripped off.” While Nintendo of America was having an early morning press conference in New York, Nintendo of Europe was spending its afternoon discussing 3DS (in much more, delayed detail) in Amsterdam. And while Reggie and the gang gave all my fellow staffers an upfront and pretty fair deal with 3DS (in my opinion at least) Nintendo fans in Europe have been left at the mercy of big budget greed, to some degree. And I’m not happy about it.

For while Nintendo of America simply announced, “March 27th, $250” to the throng of gaming’s elite journalists (included our very own Kevin!), the European press were instead told, “March 25th, but the retailers will decide how much to charge for the system.” Leaving the price up to retailers seems to be a completely baffling, out-of-nowhere decision by Nintendo. I would have put good money on there being a price point, but I can only sense that this is a bad sign for European gamers.

DS, "It Prints Money" spoof image
“Damn you, Nintendo!” says Adam.

And it didn’t take long for the sour side of this arrangement to rear its ugly head as HMV and Game, two of the UK’s biggest gaming retailers, both announced price points of £229.99 for 3DS. In US Dollars that would amount to $363 at today’s exchange rate, and I am not happy about it one bit, for a variety of reasons. And even though video game products are typically more expensive in Europe than in the US or Japan, it all feels somewhat opportunistic to me.

3DS is launching in America at the same price as Wii did ($250) and I was preparing for a similar setup over here when they finally announced the pricing today. Wii went on sale in the UK at £180, so I was expecting 3DS to be near that price, but knowing how British prices often veer into the shady, I was expecting £200. Instead, Nintendo has monumentally passed the buck to retailers by letting them fix the prices, who will likely stay high together instead of trying to fight each other down, and this has lead to a £50 increase over the Wii for no justifiable reason. 3DS is on sale in America at a price comparative to £165. There shouldn’t be such an abyss between the price of a gaming console in two incredibly similar countries.

I’m sure retailers will blame the recent VAT increase (which has seen everything go up already) and falling profits and a myriad of other reasons for this disproportionately high price, but the only excuse is that Nintendo decided that it wasn’t going to be the bad guy in this situation and has now left the pricing of 3DS in the hands of money grabbing retailers. Couple all that with the lackluster launch line-up, and my Day One purchase is shrinking back to my birthday in May, or even the middle of summer when all of Nintendo’s “launch window” games have actually launched. Poor show Nintendo, poor show.

Evan Campbell

The $250 price point makes sense. Nintendo still sells boatloads of DSi and DSi XL systems — with the latter’s anniversary edition retailing at $190 — so why not up the ante? The company had major problems in the past with shortages and huge demand for Wii and DS because the consoles were sold at such a low price point. The Big N will not make that mistake again.

As a consumer, though, I was hoping for something more considerable packed in with 3DS. While the applications and camera features are cool, a 3D movie and/or some Nintendo Points — scratch that, eShop Money? — would have whetted my appetite more. Speaking of eShop, the online store will not even be available at launch. The same holds true for movie functionality. This is unacceptable. So, James, you’re stuck with the 3DS launch line-up and should not expect The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for some time.

Still, I absolutely adore Nintendo, and 3DS blew my mind at E3. For $250, I hope to be holding a beautiful, black 3DS on day one (though I wish it was purple).

So the staff has come to less-than-consistent opinions on 3DS’s launch price, but much of that has to do with what else comes with the system. Are you completely happy with the price, or do you have reservations as well? Tell us in the comments!

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