Nintendo promises massive 3DS price cut

Nintendo’s slashed the price of its 3D handheld 3DS by a massive 40 percent in Japan, and says it plans to do the same in other countries.

It’s now to be priced at Y15,000 – just $190.

“So that the company will be able to create momentum for Nintendo 3DS and accelerate its market penetration toward the year-end sales season, when the lineup for the applicable software shall be enriched, the company has decided to make this markdown,” Nintendo says.

“The company will carry out the markdown in the overseas markets in this 2nd financial quarter (ie July – September 2011), although the ranges and the timings of the markdown will be different from that of Japan.”

It’s a massive price cut for a device that’s only been on the market for four months. But sales have been comparatively poor, with only 830,000 of the handhelds having been sold in the US.

There are several possible reasons, one obvious one being the comparative dearth of 3D games. The company’s hoping to remedy this later this year with the launch of Star Fox 64 3D, due to appear in early September, and Super Mario 3D Land following in November. By the end of the year, Mario Kart 7 and Kid Icarus: Uprising should join the lineup.

Other problems hampering the 3DS include the upcoming launch of the PlayStation Vita handheld, which is expected to cost just under $300.

The price cut was announced as Nintendo posted a $324 million loss for the April-June quarter – slightly worse, even, than its losses for the same period last year.

“While there have been price cuts in the past, not even half a year has elapsed since its release, and we are making a bigger discount than ever in the past history of Nintendo,” says Nintendo president Satoru Iwata.

“This will undermine the trust of everyone who has supported us from the very beginning of the Nintendo 3DS, and we are keenly aware that it could lead to criticism.”