Nintendo 3DS Price Drop Coming In August, Free Games For Early Adopters

Nintendo 3DS

When Nintendo first revealed the price of the Nintendo 3DS back in January, I thought it was a little steep. But, after the tremendous sales success of the Nintendo DS, it was hard to imagine that people wouldn't come out in droves to pick up another handheld, even at a $249.99 price point. But, as we've seen in the last four months, the 3DS has had serious trouble keeping up with the sales pace of its predecessor. Now Nintendo is trying to do something about it.

Starting August 12, the Nintendo 3DS will be sold for $169.99, a whopping $80 less than the original price less than four months ago. The timing, so soon after the handheld's launch, and the scale of the price drop, nearly 33%, is unprecedented for Nintendo and gives an indication of just how worried the company is about whether the handheld will succeed in the long term.

In the announcement release, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said, "For anyone who was on the fence about buying a Nintendo 3DS, this is a huge motivation to buy now...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."

It's the second part of statement that many people have blamed for the slow Nintendo 3DS sales numbers. Since launch there have been very few must-have games for the platform. With new handheld gaming competition from smart phones, Nintendo couldn't afford to be slow out of the gate.

But let's say you already own a 3DS. You're probably pretty steamed that you could've waited a few months and saved yourself $80. Nintendo is offering an olive branch to early adopters in the form of 20 free downloadable games. 10 of those games will be classic NES titles like "The Legend of Zelda" while the other 10 will be Game Boy Advance games like "Metroid Fusion." To be eligible for the free games, owners will need to log on to the 3DS eShop before 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Aug. 11. This will register those users as "3DS Ambassadors," enabling them to download the 20 games when they become available in the eShop later this year.

Will the price drop be enough to lift the 3DS to new heights or is the current lack of software still going to keep the handheld from reaching the heights of its predecessor? We'll know on August 12.