3DS price drop spurs huge sales rebound

Sales of Nintendo’s 3DS handheld system jumped 260% after the company’s unprecedented $80 price drop, but there’s still a long way to go.

Nintendo has a very solid track record of being able to keep its console prices solid for a long time after being released, but the 3DS is a very different story.

In addition to being the most expensive system Nintendo has ever released, it launched without any good games, and heavyweight franchises like Mario still aren’t available.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata admitted there were many faults with the release of the 3DS. In addition to the lack of launch titles, the company missed its target of a holiday 2010 release, which could have spurred significantly more sales and given it much more traction out of the gate.

As a result, the company had no choice but to slash the price of the glasses-free 3D gadget, from $250 to $170. It happened just a few months after the console’s launch, a move nearly unprecedented for Nintendo.

Nintendo, which has long been the leader in portable video game hardware, says it sold 235,000 3DS uits in August, with 185,000 coming after the mid-month price drop. That is a jump of 260% over July’s sales.

Some have predicted doomsday scenarios for Nintendo with concerns about the viability of a dedicated game playing device. In a world of iPhones and iPads, and Internet-connected game consoles, consumers have come to expect much more of their devices.

That being said, sales of the 3DS’s predecessor, the DS, continue to be strong and there is no shortage of developer support for Nintendo’s products.

The company clearly needs to change some strategies to remain relevant in this changing market, but it seems poised to do whatever it can.