A few years ago Nintendo was the go-to company in the gaming industry. It seemed like everything they touched went to gold. A decade earlier the situation was dire. The company had a rough time towards the middle of the N64 all the way up to and including the GameCube. Their luck changed with the release of the Wii. Some would say the DS also changed their fortunes, but the truth of the matter is that they always had impressive portable sales. Apparently, that’s no longer the case.
Today Nintendo’s financials were released for the April to June 2011 calendar year and sales of their new portable, the 3DS, are anything but impressive. Before we get there let’s look at everything else. The original DS sold 1.4 million, that’s down from the 3.4 million sold during the same quarter last year. Meanwhile the Wii is down 50% from 3 million last year to 1.5 million this year. All of that wouldn’t matter if their new hardware was picking up the slack, but it’s not…not at all. The 3DS only managed to sell 710,000 units during the quarter…worldwide. People like to say the 3DS is starting like the DS before it, but we can now put those rumors to rest. These sales are the lowest of any Nintendo hardware during any quarter since before the original DS launched. Bottom line, Nintendo has to do something quickly in order to change the fate of their new hardware, and they’ve done just that.
Starting on August 12th the Nintendo 3DS will retail for $169.99! That’s the quickest and deepest price cut Nintendo has done for any hardware since the Virtual Boy. Clearly Nintendo doesn’t want their new portable to fall by the wayside. That’s not all. If you buy a 3DS before August 12th you will be entitled to 20 free games from the 3DS’ eShop. That’s right, 20! Ten of those games will be from the new NES Virtual Console, and 10 from the Game Boy Advance Virtual Console. The NES will be added on September 1st for the general public, but earlier for anyone with a 3DS before August 12th. Games include Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Jr., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber, The Legend of Zelda and more.
The GBA Virtual Console will include games like Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Mario vs. Donkey Kong. Nintendo says they have no plans to make the GBA VC games available to the general market and will be kept as a gift to all the early adopters. We’ll see about that.
Finally Nintendo confirmed that Super Mario 3DS will be released in November, Mario Kart 3DS in December, and Kid Icarus something this holiday as well.
Looking to the next quarter Nintendo cut their profit forecast by a whopping 82% from $1.41 billion all the way to $257 million. Nintendo has been unable to regain investor confidence and this new isn’t helping anything. Nintendo shares are currently selling at a five year low.
So there you have it everyone. I’ll be really honest, this seems extremely desperate if I do say so myself. Nintendo has never made so many bold moves at a given time. We’ve been talking about the lacklustre sales of the 3DS for some time now and it’s obvious that Nintendo felt they needed to do something drastic in order to move more systems. The question I have is this. Is the 3DS not selling because of the lack of killer software? Is it not selling because of customer confusion towards the platform? Or is it not selling because of the increased interest in smartphones like the iPhone and Android-enabled devices? To compare, Apple sold over 20 million iPhone 4s during the quarter from April to June, which is a far cry from 710,000. We also have to take into consideration that Sony will be launching their new portable, the Vita, sometime later this year. Do you think that will have just as much trouble selling as the 3DS is having?
Let us know what you think below. We always love a good discussion, and clearly these moves merit one heck of a conversation.