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3DS to be sold at profit from launch

Price still undecided as Iwata discusses GameCube and GBA 3D experiments

Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata has indicated that the company does not intend to sell the new 3DS portable at a price below that of its production cost, ensuring a profit on hardware from day one.

Unlike Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo has traditionally always sold hardware at a profit from launch, allowing even modestly successful consoles such as the Nintendo 64 and GameCube to turn a significant profit for the company.

Speaking to website VentureBeat, Iwata commented that, "We believe we will produce enough value worthy of the production cost. We do not think we have to sell the products below cost."

However, Iwata would not be drawn on the price of the console, indicating that no final decision has yet been made. He did admit though that, "What I can confirm is that, in terms of the production costs, it will cost more than the costs for the Nintendo DS today."

Iwata was not asked about the release date of the portable, although the company has previously stated that it will be released worldwide before March 2011. He did however indicate that all pending issues in terms of supply and manufacture of the 3DS's special LCD screens "have been fixed".

Also in the interview, Iwata revealed that the company had produced working 3D demos with both GameCube launch title Luigi's Mansion and the Game Boy Advance in 2001. Although the GameCube test had an "appealing" result Nintendo's earlier portable was not deemed powerful to produce a useful effect.

Iwata also indicated that that 3DS, which was not originally designed with 3D imagery in mind, was not a direct reaction to Apple's iPhone or iPod, despite plans for a degree of e-reader functionality.

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David Jenkins