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Carlson Choi tells Nintendo to back 3DS pricing

Namco Bandai marketing VP says to ignore calls for price drop

Carlson Choi, Namco Bandai's vice president of marketing, has told Nintendo to stand its ground on the issue of 3DS pricing, saying that a slow start doesn't mean that the device is doomed to failure.

Speaking to Gamasutra at E3, Choi spoke about the need to persevere with the high initial price point set by Nintendo, and pledged Namco Bandai's support for the platform.

"It's been a slow start, but that's similar to how DS went in the beginning," said Choi. "We're really close with all the first party companies, but especially Nintendo because our origin of business is in Japan. We know they'll invest heavily in it. It's a big platform they believe in and we believe in it too, so we're going to support it with our key franchises."

Part of the justification, Choi believes, for maintaining a higher price for the platform, is that it signifies it as a high-end product, demarcating it from the smartphone market. By do that, Choi argues, the platform holder encourages publishers to produce premium content, presumably also at a premium price point.

"The moment you cut the price of the item the perceived value goes down," Choi continued. "We'd love to have them retain the price because it keeps the premium status of that product and it allows us to bring premium games to that market."

Nintendo were initially bullish about the cost of the unit, predicting astronomical sales along the lines of those of the original DS, DSlite and DSi. Instead, the handheld finds itself languishing on shelves somewhat, still being regularly outsold in Japan by the PSP.

A number of studies conducted shortly after the 3DS' launch indicated that Nintendo, which has a long-running policy of ensuring profit margins on hardware, was making somewhere in the region of £108 on each unit in terms of margin between manufacturing cost and price to retailer.

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Latest comments (6)

James Prendergast Research Chemist 5 years ago
Part of the justification, Choi believes, for maintaining a higher price for the platform, is that it signifies it as a high-end product, demarcating it from the smartphone market. By do that, Choi argues, the platform holder encourages publishers to produce premium content, presumably also at a premium price point.

Erm.. what? Since when are smartphones cheap? If they aren't directly paid for by the customer then they're paid for in their "plan" and if you try and leave before it's up you're subject to fees to recover the cost of the phone and lost "certain" business.

No. I'd argue that a higher pricepoint doesn't mean that you expect the content to be expensive or cheap - in fact i'd argue that the two things are separate in every single conceivable manner. XBLA, PSN and Wii download games aren't expensive despite the prices of their consoles.... but their disc-based "full" games are. Similarly, during the late 80s and the whole of the 90s when home computers were still expensive as pieces of hardware, the price of the games did not reflect that. Wolfenstein wasn't £200 when played on your £1000-1500 486 DX2 or whatever....

No.... by having the cost of entry higher you, IMO, are more likely to ensure that customers have less money to spend on games after release. You also make it so that only the more affluent people buy the thing in the first place and these people have the money to pay for more entertainment... of course, those people aren't as populous as the plebians who would buy it if it were £50 or £100 cheaper but might only buy 2 games as opposed to 5.

Keeping the price high when the (i'm assuming from their sales numbers) demand is low and you know you can lower the price to generate more sales and thus peripheral sales (like games) doesn't seem like a smart economic choice to me.

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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University5 years ago
I think the device was priced too high in the UK--£230 was an absurd price point, even if it is a quality product. I paid £180 for mine, which is a price I think the machine should have launched at or should be at in time for Christmas. I agree that Nintendo don't need to hit panic buttons with the 3DS getting off to a slow start, but hopefully it will provide some lessons for the WiiU launch. Provide more compelling third and first party content during the launch period, and launch at a compelling price point.
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Stephen McCarthy Studying Games Technology, Kingston University5 years ago
i did a trade in when i got my 3ds so i saved a bit.

what they needed is a lot of games for the 3ds as i can bet some people are holding out for some good games. (most of what we got are ports on the 3ds or just poor games)
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Show all comments (6)
Chris Gilroy5 years ago
The price of the hardware would probably have been a bit less offputting if there was a more compelling launch line-up. I bought one anyway, but I didn't have a DS so there was that sizeable back catalogue to keep me occupied until the 3DS games started to creep out of the woodwork.
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Trevor Sayre Interaction Designer, Gradient Studios, LLC5 years ago
The titles just aren't there to support initial sales. I believe sales will pick up when the library starts to fill out. The price point isn't as overly discouraging when there is quality content available.
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Tony Johns5 years ago
I would perhaps say that it is in the first 2 or 3 years that the console or handheld price to maintain it's initial price.

After 3 years of being available in the commercial market THEN allow the price for the system to drop.

The 3DS is only just a few months old now, it is too early to ask for a price drop.

Maybe around the end of year holiday season a price drop would be more better but certainly not now.
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