Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, October 4, 2010

3DS Software Will Be More Expensive

Ah, Nintendo, always one to buck the industry trends. Sometimes this can be wildly successful; the Wii didn't go in the direction of HD and more horsepower like the PS3 and Xbox 360, but instead added motion control for a different type of gaming experience (and, not incidentally, a lower price point than the competition). Result: Nintendo wins that generation of the console wars hands down.

Now, as Nintendo's hardware and software sales are sagging, they are looking to the 3DS to give them a boost. The handheld itself won't be coming in at a low price; the launch price in Japan will be the equivalent of $300. Now Iwata-san is hinting that the software for the 3DS will be even higher than current DS software pricing.

A bold move, certainly, with the average price of game software dropping for years, and software sales down significantly over last year. It doesn't really seem like the right time to be raising prices. Between a very expensive handheld and higher software prices, this would seem to play right into the hands of Apple and Google, offering thousands of inexpensive titles (and even more free ones). Yes, you can only get Zelda on a 3DS... but at some point the overall price of the hardware and software will be too much for the customers.

I have my doubts that Nintendo can sustain these high prices over the long term; I predict sales will be less than stellar after the initial wave of early adopters. I think the shifts in the marketplace call for fundamental rethinking of business models; tinkering at the margins just isn't gonna do the job.

Here's your take-home marketing thought: If you're going to make a bold move, have some contingency plans handy in case it doesn't work out the way you think. Nintendo should have some plans ready...

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