Nintendo is making a strong push for people to buy its 3DS portable gaming console after announcing its sales were struggling.
The video game company announced a huge price cut for the console, slashing its American cost from $249.99 to $169.99, effective on August 12. The company also touted several high-profile games set to be released on the console including games centered on Nintendo iconic franchises Mario, Zelda and Star Fox.
"For anyone who was on the fence about buying a Nintendo 3DS, this is a huge motivation to buy now," said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. "We are giving shoppers every incentive to pick up a Nintendo 3DS, from an amazing new price to a rapid-fire succession of great games."
The move comes as Nintendo looks to improve sales on the console, which has been available for less than a year. Thus far, Nintendo has sold a mere 4.32 million (830,000 in the U.S. total) Nintendo 3DS consoles, which is a lot less than expected. By comparison, Nintendo sold nearly 20 million Wii consoles in less than a year.
This past quarter, Nintendo only sold 710,000 3DS consoles. For the year, the company predicted it would sell 16 million, which at this point is not even a pipe dream, it's simply impossible.
Due to the poor sales along with fading interest in the Wii, Nintendo announced tough financials for the first fiscal quarter of the year. Its quarterly revenue came in at ¥93.9 billion, down from ¥188.7 billion in the year ago quarter. The company took a huge profit loss of ¥37.7 billion, compared to its profit of ¥23.34 billion last year.
The Wii has been the most popular console from this generation but has struggled in the past year as Microsoft and Sony have innovated with Xbox 360 and PS3. Xbox 360's Kinect and PS3's Move have given those consoles new life.
Nintendo introduced the WiiU, a separate tablet like console that works in conjunction with the Wii, at this year's E3 video game show. The console, which can act as a controller or its own device, is set to be released in 2012. However, even though the WiiU impressed people in terms of hardware, many analysts still weren't sure about it.
"They (Nintendo) are falling behind PS3 with Move and 360 with Kinect, and it is hard to know if the launch software will be compelling," said Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities. "Pricing is also an issue; at $300, the device may be more expensive than Kinect or Move bundles a year from now. At more than $300, it will almost certainly be too expensive."
Nintendo has offered other promotions to spice up sales of the 3DS including membership into its Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program. Any user who owns a Nintendo 3DS system and uses a wireless broadband Internet signal to connect to the Nintendo eShop will get 10 free classic NES games on their 3DS.
By the end of the year, Ambassadors with 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games as well.
Despite this program, Nintendo isn't confident it can rebound financially. The company reduced its annual profit forecast 82 percent to 20 billion yen ($257 million) for the fiscal year.