Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Saturday, January 8, 2011

3DS Games Will Be Pricey

With the 3DS, small characters will emerge and steal the money from your wallet. At least, it'll feel that way.
At least, that's the rumors I'm hearing. Sounds like Nintendo will be looking at retail prices in the $40 to $50 range, as compared to the current $30 to $35 range of DS titles in the US. Of course, the actual retail price of the 3DS in the US has yet to be announced; if you just take the current Japanese price and work the exchange rate on it, the US price would be $300.

I'm sure part of this is Nintendo wanting to recoup the extra development costs of 3DS games (it will be a pretty significant boost, from what I hear). Another part of it is a reaction to the positive comments Nintendo got on the 3DS at the last E3 show. Hey, the industry loves it, so we should be able to charge more, right?

I think Nintendo is moving into dangerous waters here. The market conditions are very different now then when the DS was first introduced. The smartphone competition is gunning for the lion's share of the handheld market, and one of their big weapons is game pricing. As in, free, or just a dollar or two. With that kind of competition, can Nintendo really get away with a premium software price? I'm sure the third-party publishers will all follow suit.

Those better be some damn impressive titles. I foresee a difficult sales environment for the 3DS if they shoot for premium pricing for both the hardware and the software. Yeah, the initial sell-in will be good, but look for a big sales fall-off after the first couple of months.

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