Nintendo reports 3DS sales are up 260% following massive price cut

Nintendo appears to have found the right price for their glasses-free 3D handheld, the 3DS. The company is reporting that sales of the handheld are up 260% after reducing the price from $250 down to $170. No, that is not a typo, just a really big jump in sales.

Nintendo reports 3DS sales are up 260% following massive price cut

Nintendo launched the 3DS in the US in March and was met with sales that were disappointing. The sluggish sales performance was especially surprising after looking at the success they have seen with every DS revision released. Less than 6 months into the handheld’s life cycle Nintendo announced a massive price cut from $250 down to $170. To deal with the immediate anger from early adopters, Nintendo announced they would give out 10 free NES games and 10 free Gameboy Advance (GBA) games to anyone who bought the system and logged into their online store with it by midnight on August 11th.

If Nintendo’s press release is to be believed, the price cut was the right move. The press release takes numbers from the NPD group (who routinely tracks game and console sales). The 3DS apparently sold 235,000 units in August, with 185,000 of those units coming after the August 12 price cut. Apparently that 185,000 number is 260% higher than the number of units sold in the same period in July. The statement also mentioned that the 3DS finished August as the No. 2 best selling console.

The press release wasn’t short on the company talking themselves up either, stating;

“Consumers are responding very positively to the new suggested retail price of $169.99 for the Nintendo 3DS,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “With Star Fox 64 3D and the new Flame Red color launching tomorrow, and Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 arriving later this year, Nintendo 3DS will offer consumers cutting-edge entertainment and tremendous value this holiday season.”

August is routinely a pretty rough month for video games sales because most games are held over until September, when the holiday buying season really kicks off. This jump in sales numbers for the 3DS is impressive but it doesn’t necessarily mean Nintendo has fixed all of their problems with this price cut. The real test will be during the holiday buying season. Nintendo has some quality first party games coming out on the handheld, so if they can keep the momentum of August going, they have a chance of being able to end the year on a positive note.

What’s not really clear though is whether or not Nintendo is making any money on this handheld at this price. If they are making money on each device sold, it can’t be very much. This price drop was definitely a last ditch move to increase market penetration of the device to get developers interested in making games for it. The impact of the price drop on Nintendo’s year end financials won’t be clear until Nintendo reports the official numbers.

For now the future is looking a little less bleak for the device, despite the ridiculous add on that Nintendo confirmed for it just the other day. As an early adopter I’m still feeling torn on my purchase. Until there are some better games to play, my 3DS will remain a glasses-free 3D paperweight.