Nintendo, the manufacturer behind home consoles like the Wii and handheld consoles like the Nintendo DS, could unveil a redesign of its latest Nintendo 3DS handheld console at a trade show next month, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Nintendo has issued invitations for a trade show centered around the Nintendo 3DS on September 13. The company slashed the price of its newest handheld console by around 40 percent to $170, from around $250, after the company admitted that sales of the device were slow. The console uses a new type of screen that employs a Parallax Barrier, which gives the illusion of a 3D image that pops out of the screen.
“The event will likely promote new software (both packaged software and online software) and expanded functionality for Street Pass or other 3DS features,” M2 Research senior analyst Billy Pidgeon told VentureBeat. “Nintendo handheld revisions are typically designed and marketed as ‘new and improved,’ but each revision (as well as internal revisions that aren’t visible or marketed) also incorporates build changes that result in more efficient, more inexpensive production runs to preserve or improve profit margins.”
Nintendo faced slower sales thanks to the emergence of games like PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies and Epic’s Infinity Blade — which appeal to both casual and core gamers — that are priced much lower than the typical $40 cost of games for the Nintendo 3DS. The games aren’t on par with Nintendo’s super-powered franchises, but it’s hard to argue against a 99 cent price point for some incredibly popular games on a device you already own.
The Nintendo 3DS’ original price point was also similar to the PlayStation Vita, Sony’s next handheld console that is due out sometime next year. That device boasts much more powerful processing and better graphics, along with touchpads on the front and back and a host of other goodies. The company finally caved to market pressure by dropping the price and giving early adopters a bunch of free games — and bringing the price down to a lower point than the PS Vita.
“The PS Vita is priced at $250 — when the 3DS was priced at $250, it was pretty clear that the PS Vita offered more value,” Pidgeon said.
Nintendo said it has a big lineup of games coming to bolster the 3DS, including Star Fox 64 3D on Sept. 9, Super Mario 3D Land in November, Mario Kart 7 in December, and Kid Icarus Uprising during the holidays. The company will have to rely on those games — and a potential redesign — to bolster sales of its new hardware.
“One issue the 3DS has been having has been perhaps a lack of variety of top-shelf software, and that will be taken care of pretty quickly,” Pidgeon said. “I don’t really see the PS Vita competing directly with the 3DS. There is some competition, but I think there’s plenty of space for consumers waiting to buy both products.”
Nintendo is also launching Nintendo Video as a service, giving users short 3D videos. It has also launched the Nintendo eShop as a digital store where 3DS owners can download new titles. Nintendo said that more than 830,000 people in the U.S. have bought a 3DS since March 27. But that was not enough to prevent a loss for the parent company.