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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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Dan Pearson