Nintendo’s willingness to charge more

This week’s shenanigans from retail group The Hut – shoving up listings for the Nintendo 3DS priced at £300 (now changed to pre-order pages) – got me thinking. The 3DS is set to be Nintendo’s most expensive piece of hardware since the Nintendo 64, 14 long years ago.

The UK price has yet to be announced – it should come out at Nintendo’s event in Amsterdam on Wednesday next week – but with the Japanese price at Â¥25,000 (£191), something between £200 and £250 is expected.

Let’s have a quick look back at Nintendo’s major UK launches of the last decade and a half:

Wii 08/12/2006 £179
Nintendo DS 11/03/2005 £99
GameCube 03/05/2002 £129
Game Boy Advance 22/06/2001 £89
Nintendo 64 01/03/1997 £249

Nintendo made a conscious decision after the Nintendo 64 to produce cheaper hardware – and it shows. But there are signs of an erosion of that policy. The Wii, for example, hasn’t had a price cut from the original £179 in over four years on sale. Is that a record?

The signs are arguably clearer if we look at iterations of the Nintendo DS:

Nintendo DS 11/03/2005 £99
Nintendo DS Lite 23/06/2006 £99
Nintendo DSi 03/04/2009 £149
Nintendo DSi XL 05/03/2010 £149

That seems to me like a pretty definite willingness to charge more. And what does that willingness coincide with? Increased popularity. It’s not rocket science: if people want it, you can charge more.

Is the 3DS more expensive because of the technology inside, or because Nintendo think they can bump the price up? I don’t know. Either way, they are presumably confident that people will pay £200 or more. I wonder whether that confidence is misplaced.

I’d class myself as pretty interested in the 3DS. But even £200 is a bit rich for my liking. I’m out.


Jake has been here since the beginning, with hundreds of reviews and countless other guff to his name. These days, not so consistent.

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  • 3DS is region locked too. Now Nintendo controls what we play and what to charge. Remember the N64 days when some games were released months after the US versions? I don’t want to see those days again.

  • Yep, region locking is another good reason to at least wait and see. It’s a shame: I was looking forward to getting excited about it!

  • This pricing business seems totally at odds with Nintendo’s all-inclusive ethos. If they want everyone to play games together, pushing prices up seems counter-productive to all parties concerned.

    Alright, Nintendo always make a profit; but there’s profit, and there’s greed. Are they heading towards the pitfall made by Sony due to their overconfidence after the mightily successful reign of the PS2?

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