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Updated: Amazon flags Nintendo 3DS for inventory issues

[Update: Amazon has responded to VentureBeat.]

Online retailer Amazon.com has flagged the Nintendo 3DS and placed the handheld gaming console under review until further notice, according to the device’s page on the site.

Handheld devices are a huge part of Nintendo’s portfolio. The Nintendo 3DS is supposed to succeed its previous handheld device, the Nintendo DS. That handheld gaming console was a smash hit with gamers and outsold its primary competitor, the PlayStation Portable, by a wide margin. The 3DS will have to compete with the PlayStation Vita, Sony’s next portable gaming console.

“While this item is available from other marketplace sellers on this page, it is not currently offered by Amazon.com because customers have told us there may be something wrong with our inventory of the item, the way we are shipping it, or the way it’s described here,” the company said.

Representatives from Amazon contacted VentureBeat and said that the flag came from an “inventory issue,” though the company would not specify what that meant exactly. The company is still selling the blue version of the Nintendo 3DS, just not the black one, said Michael Frazzini, director for Video Games sales at Amazon.

A spokesperson from Nintendo told VentureBeat that it is looking into the matter right now, but wouldn’t give any additional details. A number of gamers on gaming forum NeoGaf complained that the device doesn’t close properly and it scratches the screen. They also complained that the top screen “wobbles.”

“Wow, that could be trouble for Nintendo. Well-deserved, though, because of the screen-scratching,” one reader on the forum said about the flag on Amazon. “The wobbly hinge, though, is way overblown.”

But those complaints likely don’t hold a lot of weight and don’t seem very plausible because Nintendo is well-known for having top-quality hardware, M2 Research senior analyst Billy Pidgeon told VentureBeat.

“As far as form factor and manufacturing quality is concerned, Nintendo is usually pretty top-notch,” he said. “If you don’t have quality hardware, then you aren’t really tolerated in this industry.”

The flag on Amazon probably wouldn’t affect sales given that it’s a niche piece of hardware and has a lot of strong titles coming out soon, like Star Fox and Mario Kart, he said. The device also doesn’t really compete with the PlayStation Vita, which has a wider array of features, he said.

The Nintendo 3DS uses technology called a “parallax barrier” on the top screen that lets gamers see 3D images without needing specialized glasses. The technology makes your left or right eye only see specific pixels on the screen, giving the illusion of depth and 3D.


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