UK 3DS price to be 150-155 - analyst

HMV will "pass on" discount to shoppers.

While shops discuss tactics, analyst Piers Harding-Rolls predicted that the Nintendo 3DS UK recommended retail price (RRP) will fall to between 150 and 155.

The new, as yet unannounced UK price, comes into effect on 12th August.

"Actual retail selling price is likely to be lower," Harding-Rolls told Eurogamer.

"This aggressive price cut is a calculated risk," he elaborated. "Nintendo needs to build some 3DS momentum in the run up to the holiday quarter, when much of its best content will hit the platform."

"The 3DS was expected to see the company through the [home] console transition from Wii to Wii U, but the platform has been partly let down by a lack of content. If there is no momentum in the platform, third parties are more likely to delay or even shelve game releases, which will only exacerbate the situation."

Harding-Rolls said this "decisive but uncharacteristically early move" by Nintendo was "both reactive and proactive", suggesting Nintendo was positioning itself "more strongly" ahead of "incoming competitive threats", cough PS Vita.

"The last time Nintendo was prompted to cut its price quickly after launch was with the N64 in 1997."

Piers Harding-Rolls, analyst, Screen Digest

"A cut of this magnitude and so shortly after launch is unheard of from Nintendo in recent times," remarked Harding-Rolls. "The last time Nintendo was prompted to cut its price quickly after launch was with the N64 in 1997, and I think this indicates that senior management are acutely aware of some of the challenges that lay ahead for the company as it tries to drive adoption of its newest platforms in a changing world of games content consumption."

Nintendo announced the 3DS price cut this morning, which Eurogamer later found out would trim "around a third" from the UK 3DS price.

In Europe, shops set the price for Nintendo goods. In the US and Japan, Nintendo calls the shots.

Today's UK 3DS RRP stands at around 229.99. Take a third from that and you're left with 153. Giant online shop Amazon isn't far off that currently with a 3DS price of 169.00.

Local shops haven't announced their new 3DS price points, but the twin peaks of UK high street gaming - HMV and Game - both welcome the change.

"This cut is clearly great news which we welcome and will look to pass on," Tim Ellis, head of games at HMV, told Eurogamer.

"It's a significant price drop that will give the format a much needed boost.

"This cut is clearly great news which we welcome and will look to pass on."

Tim Ellis, head of games, HMV

"It's good timing too, especially with the holidays just under way, and the new price point will make it a much more justifiable purchase for parents, which I think is an important factor."

HMV currently sells a 3DS for 189.99.

Game spokesperson Neil Ashurst said Nintendo's announcement was "really exciting news".

"We will announce our new Nintendo 3DS price soon," promised Ashurst in a statement offered to Eurogamer, "but we are always committed to offering the best value possible through competitive pricing, our trade in mechanic and offers on games."

The flat price for a 3DS at Game is 194.99.

Analyst Nicholas Lovell, from video games analyser Gamesbrief, said the price cut represented "drastic action" for Nintendo, for which the "PR offensive" against Apple and mobile gaming hadn't worked.

"The price drop (and the terrible financial results that preceded it) explain the aggressive stance that Nintendo was taking against games on smartphones and other platforms in high-profile conference speeches earlier in the year," Lovell told Eurogamer.

"They were already hurting from the competition from iOS and Android (or feared it), and were trying to fight back. It looks as if the PR offensive didn't work, and it's time for more drastic action, hence this early price drop, from a company which famously maintains prices extremely well."

Lovell pointed out the "massive sales" of iPhone and iPad and the meteoric rise of smartphones as comparison. He also highlighted a difference in how and how much people pay for their games today.

"Only a brave man bets against Nintendo, but I hope they grasp the internet opportunity sooner rather than later."

Nicholas Lovell, analyst, Gamesbrief

"In short, I don't know where Nintendo is going to price the 3DS. But its problems are much bigger than whether it can get a big enough installed base of 3DSs to thrive: it is facing a radical change in how consumers choose to pay for their gaming content, and it is so far refusing to acknowledge how big a shift the Internet is wreaking on its business models," declared Lovell.

"Only a brave man bets against Nintendo, but I hope they grasp the internet opportunity sooner rather than later."

Sainsbury's told Eurogamer "we will not be disclosing a new price until the price drop takes effect in August". Dixons took a similar stance, preferring not to comment to keep a "competitive advantage" in the market.

Asda games head Andrew Thompson welcomed the 3DS price cut as "great news" and "a very welcome surprise". "With a couple of quality Mario software titles in the pipeline I see 3DS being the must have Christmas present for anyone wanting a handheld console this Q4," he said. Does he know something about Vita we don't?

Eurogamer is waiting to hear back from numerous other outlets.

Morrisons games buyer Nick Sultanti told MCV this was a "positive" and "responsible" move by Nintendo. "The price drop will not only increase the penetration of this device to mass market but has now positioned itself and 3ds software into pole position for a great Q4," he said.

Nintendo will hope to attract more third-party support.

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