Nintendo as a corporation is doing pretty well for itself in the mobile console market. The Nintendo 3ds platform has sold over 50 million systems worldwide. North America is responsible for about ~15-16 million of those consoles. This means that for every 3-4 Nintendo 3ds’s sold in the world, one is going to land in the North America. The company responsible for the North American distribution is a subsidiary called Nintendo of America.
Nintendo of America, however, has come in to well-deserved flak for its release of the New Nintendo 3ds. An updated version of the console has a litany of new features including, 2nd nub, two more shoulder buttons, faster cpu and better screens. There are currently two versions of the New Nintendo 3ds that is made by the Japanese parent company. One is the standard New Nintendo 3ds which is the plain jane 3ds you see out in public but with the features added. The standard New Nintendo 3ds retails for about the same price as the old 3ds at about 150 USD in Japan/Europe barring taxes or currency issues. The next console is the bigger screen and battery older brother the New Nintendo 3ds XL. The “XL” denotes that it’s a bigger sized version of the standard New Nintendo 3ds which retails for about $199 in the United States.
Nintendo of America has decided to only release the New Nintendo 3ds XL in the States for the time being. While every other area in the world, including regions which have previously been screwed get both varieties, why would Nintendo of America do this to the American consumers? There’s no shortage of production as Nintendo usually is forthright about stock issues. The simple premise is that NOA wants to pigeonhole consumers and protect their bottom line. They don’t want competition even amongst themselves while hindering consumer choice.
This conclusion can be extrapolated from the basis of business common sense. The New Nintendo 3ds, while being a great addition to the 3ds family, doesn’t have the oomph of being a next generation portable. The features introduced are nice but this is still just an update, as it’s not as big a jump as the Gameboy to Gameboy Advanced was. NOA is only giving gamers one option to jump on the New Nintendo 3ds (through the XL model), gimping the consumer choice of which model to get.
This makes the New Nintendo 3ds launch in America a common money grab. The New Nintendo 3ds XL is about $50 more than the regular New Nintendo 3ds. Consumers will already be giving Nintendo $50 more dollars to experience some of the new novelty changes. Even if you did want just a New Nintendo 3ds, say from anywhere else in the world, this generation of Nintendo 3ds’s have rigorous region locking on the software, meaning the game you buy in Tokyo will probably not work for a Nintendo 3ds made for the American Market. NOA wants to wring more money out of you through not having internal competition from people who already own a plain 3ds.
This is the most insulting thing NOA could do to loyal Nintendo fans. NOA personally saw that there would be internal competition from consumers choice of the New Nintendo 3ds and the XL version and so they decided to squash it and only release one model to American shelves. Does this sound like a company that cares about it’s loyal customers?
The next hidden aspect that many bloggers have failed to notice is that NOA wants to keep the price of the old Nintendo 3ds high. As any person over 16 in America can tell you, whenever a company like Apple releases a new iPhone, the price of of the preceding model drops considerably, even if it’s new and not in used condition. This same principle can be applied to Nintendo as well. The Christmas of 2014 had the lowest old Nintendo 3ds XL prices I’ve seen for a while. Retailers knew that the New Nintendo 3ds XL would come and wanted to get rid of the old stock. Reaxxion readers should see where I’m hinting at.
NOA wanted to deflate the price of each model separately to keep the price as high as possible on each model. They’re targeting the XL line first and in a few months will target the regular 3ds line as well. This short term thinking is not becoming of a company that has lasted 100+ years. I expect this from mid-90’s Sega but not Nintendo.
If NOA is not confident to release both versions of the New Nintendo 3ds at the same time, they should have waited a few months and done a launch with both consoles. Instead of trying to elongate this awkward process and making their branch look like corporate weasels, this incident paints NOA as the bad guy while painting the other subsidiaries with 1/10th the customers and profits who are releasing both models as the good guys. NOA should learn from its wiser and older sensei (Nintendo of Japan) by treating consumers correctly. They already lost one consumer for the New Nintendo 3ds with their anti-consumer credo.