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Iwata issues apology letter over 3DS price drop

By Matthew Handrahan

Wed 03 Aug 2011 9:43am GMT / 5:43am EDT / 2:43am PDT

Nintendo president apologies to "betrayed" early adopters for "unprecedented" move

Nintendo president Staoru Iwata has issued a personal letter of apology on the company's Japanese website.

The letter, translated by Giant Bomb, explains that while all hardware eventually drops in price, the degree and timing of the 3DS price-cut is "unprecedented" in the history of the company.

"We are all too keenly aware that those of you who supported us by purchasing the 3DS in the beginning may feel betrayed and criticise this decision," the letter reads.

"If the software creators and those on the retail side are not confident that the Nintendo 3DS is a worthy successor to the DS and will achieve a similarly broad base, it will be impossible for the 3DS to gain popularity, acquire a wide range of software, and eventually create the product cycle necessary for everyone to be satisfied with the system."

The price drop was prompted by disappointing sales of the system, and a drastic reduction in Nintendo's annual earnings forecast.

Iwata has already accepted responsibility for the company's declining performance, taking a 50 percent pay-cut. Nintendo's directors and executives also reduced their salaries by 20 to 30 percent.

"Those customers who purchased the 3DS at the very beginning are extremely important to us," the letter continues. "We know that there is nothing we can do to completely make up for the feeling that you are being punished for buying the system early."

In a concilliatory gesture, Nintendo has introduced the "Ambassador Programme", which gives 3DS owners 20 free downloadable games from the Nintendo eShop.

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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 943 0.7
I always said since it was announced... At 250$+tax, the 3DS is too expensive. I think the price of 169.99 is still high, but is reasonable for a portable console early in its lifecycle. Its easier to purchase now. I like Nintendo, i like the 3DS but at 250$ it just wasnt worth the purchase. I myself am going to purchase one now. The other thing that hurt the 3DS is the lack of software and to many remakes. Zelda never gets old, but still I wanna see new games and new franchises, Nintendo seems to recycle all there games for every new system. A new mario, Zelda, metroid, Mario Kart, Mario Tennis and so on. So Im excited about kid Icarus. Iwata taking a 50% pay cut and the executives also taking huge cuts, says alot of good things about the company. This price drop and the move to give an incentive to early adopters, was a good move. All they need to do now is produce good games and they have my support.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 3rd August 2011 1:48pm

Posted:5 years ago


Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd

196 164 0.8
iphone changes everything

Posted:5 years ago


Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd

196 164 0.8
iphone changes everything

Posted:5 years ago


Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,499 1,899 1.3
A locust swarm of third parties flooding the app store changes everything. Operating systems being the major factor changes a lot. Apple and Microsoft, both with years of experience creating an operating system flourish. Sony and Nintendo, traditionally not the providers of good operating systems are under pressure. The cellphone market is typical of that shift. Phones are less promoted with their hardware brand, instead they are promoted by namedropping the operating system, be it Android, or iOS.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Klaus Preisinger on 3rd August 2011 2:28pm

Posted:5 years ago


Mike Wells Writer

62 29 0.5
Nintendo wants to make and sell games. Apple wants to make and sell devices. Yes, the iPhone has changed everything, but not necessarily for the better and you will see a lot less innovation in games over the passage of time as a result of the changes in business models and platform choices.

Posted:5 years ago


Nick Morey Account Exec, Indigo Pearl

1 0 0.0
I wish them all the best, and think it's admriable how upfront they've been in the handling of this, and that they are taking measures to rectify it all. As someone who did get their 3DS in the first couple of months, i'm pretty happy with the 20 free games announcement too, and price drops are inevitable, it's the price we pay for being super-keen sometimes, I just hope the instructions to get all the free games are clear and easy! It's a shame some of the stronger titles weren't available at release (I think pretty much everyone has pointed that out!) but hopefully some sunny skies ahead with the strong upcoming titles and price-drop. Good luck Nintendo :)

Posted:5 years ago


Kenneth Bruton Producer

40 8 0.2
Hopefully, this will not be VIRTUAL BOY (Nintendo's OTHER attempt at 3D) all over again...I would like to see them gain ground...

Posted:5 years ago


Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,289 126 0.1
While the handheld landscape is different now to how it was six or seven years ago, it's important to note that the 3DS' sales so far are more on less on a par with the DS' first four months...

@ Mike - "Nintendo wants to make and sell games. Apple wants to make and sell devices."

To be fair, Nintendo do - and want to profit from - both. I'd say their stake is equally invested in both hardware and software, although in the case of the 3DS apparently now selling for a loss, they're obviously happy to incur a revenue drop in the short-term with the longer-term goal of market share and software adoption.

Posted:5 years ago

50% pay cut, now that's leadership.

@ Kenneth, thanks for the trip back in time... virtual boy, the red and green lines in those goggles, that was more than an attempt at 3D - what we used to call "virtual reality" back then. Shame it did not take on, but it could well make a comeback! :)

Posted:5 years ago


Spungo McGee Reviewer

40 46 1.2
If Nintendo are that sorry for the early adopters' gouging, why don't they just send them back the difference between the old price and the new price? It'd cost millions, but it'd barely make a dent in their bank balance. Letting them download a few old ROMs at zero cost to Nintendo is a hollow apology.

Posted:5 years ago


gi biz ;,

341 52 0.2
This is maybe a bit OT, but this really is why I respect Japanese people so much. I can't help imagining the same happening in an Italian company: there would be incoherent blaming of random people, downsizing of the newcomers, some desperate fighting of those trying to replace the ceo and other highly paid figures, then some excuse about abstract entities. Eventually some clever guy would buy a new car or house with company's money, just to be safe. Employees would blame the company to no end for sucking so much, and maybe some other abstract entity. No one would even think about reducing its own salary. Oh dear... :/

Posted:5 years ago


Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,289 126 0.1
Didn't Howard Stringer and Kaz Hirai also take drops in salary too a few weeks back following the PSN downtime and poor financial results? You've got to respect the humbleness of both Ninty and Sony in these instances; maybe it's their homeland of Japan shining through or maybe they see it as a good PR exercise given the situation. Either way, I have quite a lot of respect for both companies taking this course.

(EDIT - Howard Stringer, not Howard Stern!)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Terence Gage on 4th August 2011 8:54am

Posted:5 years ago


Rick Cody PBnGames-Board Member

144 14 0.1
I'm coming around a little to Nintendo now... The fact they admitted so early in the 3DS' lifecycle that they were wrong is gutsy. I still don't think dedicated portable gaming machines are of value anymore but all the best to Nintendo on 3DS and (the much more likely to be successful, imo) Wii U

Posted:5 years ago


Andrew Poes UX Developer / Designer, Technicolor

6 0 0.0
Nintendo could make all their money back by releasing pokemon on the iPhone and iPad. #stubborn

Posted:5 years ago


James Verity

132 25 0.2
Nintendo knew they were ripping off the consumer from the very start with the price of the 3DS on release, 250 was a stupid price... also the price of handheld games (about 40) is also to high, its about time companies learnt this because the customer is getting wise to it...

Posted:5 years ago


James McLaren Software Engineer, Slant Six Games

1 0 0.0
I like the idea of Howard Stern taking a pay cut because of the PSN outage......Sounds like the thing a smack talking radio DJ should do really....

Posted:5 years ago

Just wondering, Iwata attitude was quite decent and brings confidence. Just hope more execs impose themselves salary cuts whenever their companies don't perform well: that brings customers the idea that these execs will do their best to recover their companies.

About 3DS: perhaps the problem is not only the price but premature launch of product.

Best regards,


Posted:5 years ago


Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,523 3,225 1.3
Spungo, paying back the difference is logistically damn near impossible unless you've registered your 3DS. That accounts for a minority of owners. The free games can be enjoyed by everyone.

Terrence, you are correct but they were much smaller cuts.
After a 3rd straight FY loss, Stringer dropped from $5.05 million to $4.27 million. Kaz dropped from $1.36 million to $1.25 million.

Posted:5 years ago


Spungo McGee Reviewer

40 46 1.2
Don't you have to register to get the free games too? Besides, how is that a problem? If a load of people fail to take up the offer, Nintendo still look good for making it, and they save money...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Spungo McGee on 3rd August 2011 8:44pm

Posted:5 years ago


Jake Clayton

54 0 0.0
James V where did you get that it was 250 on launch?

i got mine in week one for 175, it was $250. not .

Posted:5 years ago


Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,523 3,225 1.3
Spungo, all you have to do is connect to the eShop once prior to Aug 12. Those 3DS's are automatically registered into the Ambassador Program. By registration in my first post, I mean manually registering a Nintendo Club account. The former doesn't have an address or telephone number for the account holder, the latter one does. If you were to physically send 3DS owners the price difference, you'd need to have that information and only manual Nintendo Club account registration provides that.

Posted:5 years ago

The problem is not Apple, the problem is GAMES. There 3DS library is too damn small for anyone to want to put their money down for it. The PlayStation Vita at least has a chance thanks to the large number of decent games that will probably laucnh with it and just after it in order to continue the buzz. Sony's problem however is where the Vita is positioned. The PSP wasn't a great success so people will be more skeptical about it's successor. However if they manage to overcome that then it will sell quite well thanks to a library of decent games.

It's all well and good to only release old games and iPhone game ports, but don't expect to get many hardware sales unless you have some good NEW games with them.

Posted:5 years ago


Taner Baubec Game Designer, Ubisoft Romania

4 0 0.0
The salary cut is just a strategy. What they need to do is to give developers more incentive to create games for 3DS and to restart their marketing campaign. The average consumer thinks 3DS is a DS with 3D display. Nothing more.

I am very interested in seeing what the Vita price will be at release. If they go with 250$ i think they risk to have it compared to the 3DS.
One thing is sure: they will have a better game titles line-up.

Posted:5 years ago


Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,292 456 0.4
The have started a new campaign on the cartoon channels trying to explain the differences, in a weird homage to the M&S "not just food, this is Marks & Spensers food" campain.
They actually say something along the lines of "This is not just DS, it is 3DS". What they are trying to do is the right idea, but the implimentation still is lacking.

Posted:5 years ago


James Verity

132 25 0.2
@ Jake and the UK price was? yes you could get it discounted, but it was marked up at 250 or there abouts...

btw: didnt people buy the 3DS for the 3D feature... why not give them vouchers for free 3DS games...

Edited 2 times. Last edit by James Verity on 4th August 2011 10:28pm

Posted:5 years ago

Wow, thats what I call being honest and admitting to have made a mistake. A step further and he could have committed Seppuku. Price drop is bang on as 3DS was certainly priced to high to begin with. I am sure units will start to shift now. I dont agree with people who blame smart phones for the short sales. Would you trust your iphone or Galaxy S2 to your kids to play angry birds? Good luck, I prefer they put their little fingers on something more suitable like 3DS. Now lets wait and see what Sony will be doing with PS Vita pricing...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrea D'Orta on 4th August 2011 12:22pm

Posted:5 years ago


Brent Post Xbox Quality Manager, arvato systems GmbH

3 0 0.0
Voluntary salary cuts at Nintendo - very Japanese. Corporate harakiri one might say.

Posted:5 years ago


Stephen McCarthy Studying Games Technology, Kingston University

205 0 0.0
how about some 3ds games. like ones that are not cut downs or remakes......
I can not find one good game for the 3ds (maybe one JP game but 0% of it coming here)

Posted:5 years ago


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