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Nintendo's David Yarnton

The UK general manager discusses 3DS pricing, launch units, marketing and piracy

Nintendo announced today solid details for the launch of the 3DS, with the console set for release in Europe on March 25 and two days later in the US. While the company committed to a price of $249 in the US, in Europe it has only set a trade price, leaving retailers to tag the console with a price of £219-£229.

Following up the announcement, GamesIndustry.biz sat down with UK general manager David Yarnton to further discuss pricing strategies, allocation of launch units, marketing strategies and anti-piracy measures to make the console more secure than the DS.

GamesIndustry.biz Have you left consumers and retailers disappointed because you're unable to commit to a price for the 3DS in the UK?
David Yarnton

Well, we don't set a price. What we're seeing online with some of the retailers is that are few of them are going £229, to about £219. It's something that we can't set.

GamesIndustry.biz Is it frustrating that you can't set a universal price?
David Yarnton

Different markets are all competitive. But we can't do that and we don't try to do that. We give our retailers a cost price and it's up to them what price they sell it at.

GamesIndustry.biz What's the cost price?
David Yarnton

I can't tell you that, it's commercially sensitive.

GamesIndustry.biz If it's priced at £229 with a game on top then it's going past £250 and that's a lot of money. Don't you think it's priced too high?
David Yarnton

If you look at the value proposition, there's not a 3D entertainment device in the market at that price point. Not only a device that you can play games on but as a communication device, being able to download content with some of our partners like Eurosport and Sky. With Sky, not only will you be able to get sports in 3D but also the Arts and other broadcasts in 3D. The opportunity in terms of an entertainment device in 3D is big.

GamesIndustry.biz But it will be compared to smartphones, the PSP and the other DS consoles and compared to those it's very highly priced.
David Yarnton

Indications that we've had so far from retail is that they are really happy with the price and demand indicates it will be our biggest launch in terms of hardware. The DS for us was huge in 2005 and in 2006 the Wii was even bigger. Retailers - especially with the environment they are in - are right behind it. It's a new format. In the last ten years, the innovation that we've bought to the market, people may have looked at the price to begin with but it was soon forgotten because of the quality of the product and the content that's available.

GamesIndustry.biz Can we expect to see any official bundles for the day one launch?
David Yarnton

No, we're not planning any of that. It's just pure hardware to start with, no bundles as such although I'm sure retailers will do something. The other thing is when you buy it you get seven augmented reality cards and other games that are already built in. It's not just a piece of hardware to start with - and a 2GB memory card.

GamesIndustry.biz Can you give an indication of how many units you have allocated for the UK launch?
David Yarnton

Mr Iwata has said there will be four million units for the launch period worldwide so we will obviously, touch wood, get our share. The company has been pretty fair as far as allocating round the stock. As far as we're concerned we've got a good amount of stock. We can never gauge and we can't promise unlimited stock because we wouldn't be able to have a worldwide launch. We're comfortable with the stock we've got and retailers are too.

GamesIndustry.biz What's the feedback from retail and the indication so far of pre-orders?
David Yarnton

More than what we can probably supply, at this stage. But we haven't given them full indication yet of the levels we're going to get. We've only just announced details and we've got meetings lined up with them for next week, so we're still looking at allocations of stock and marketing plans for launch.

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Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.