After Nintendo’s 40% 3DS price cut failed to generate long term sales the company is banking on a release of gaming titles to salvage the handheld console, with six Mario titles expected.
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For console developers Christmas is make or break time, accounting for more than half of their annual sales targets.
Last year Nintendo failed to make the Christmas deadline with its 3DS. Analysts believe this was the first sign of a console in trouble as it crippled the 3DS’ sales momentum. As a result, SeattleTimes report Nintendo had to slash their profits forecast by more than half.
To hedge falling sales, Nintendo dropped the 3DS’ world-wide price up to 40%, with the company’s president Satoru Iwata offering an apology to gamers who already bought the console at the more expensive price. In Australia, the price fell by a $100, from $349 to $249.
Sales jumped 260% compared to the same period last year, with CNET reporting Nintendo sold 185,000 units in August. But the performance seems to have been short lived, with the console’s sales now returning to its accustomed decline. Although a cheaper 3DS is attractive, the 3D device is as useful as a doorstop without enticing game content.
Iwata is tending to that problem by showcasing 30 or so new games announced on Tuesday at a staged Tokyo conference.
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Making headlines was the gaming legend and pop culture icon Mario, who will have six new releases centred on him and his brother Luigi, including Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7.
Another returning crowd pleaser is Legend of Zelda and Capcom’s Monster Hunter 3G. Traditionally Nintendo only publicises its own game offerings at conferences, but praised Capcom for its incredible 3D presentation.
Although offering 3D, Tokai Tokyo Securities Analyst Yusuke Tsunoda failed to see the benefits of playing 3D games on such a small screen.
“It is OK to sit down and watch 3D,” Tsunoda said, with reference to movies and TV. “But when it comes to playing 3D games, it can get tiring on your eyes the more you play.”
Rival Sony will be showcasing its portable gaming strategy within the next week, but like Nintendo, the company’s to be released Vita handheld won’t make the Christmas holidays, already indicating tough times ahead.
Read: New Super Mario Games Hit Flaming Red Nintendo 3DS
The handheld gaming industry has sustained a harsh blow following the popularity, convenience and performance of smartphones, which thanks to their vast app stores seem to be a jack of all trades.