If you’ve ever played the classic NES fighter, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, you can probably sympathize with Nintendo right now: an absolutely huge juggernaut of an enemy has filled their screen, capable of knocking them out with a one-two punch… a blow that is only tipped by a sly wink a millisecond before.
That enemy’s Apple, and it is fighting with two weighted gloves with the iPhone and iPad, accordingly. Now Nintendo’s so punch-drunk that they are dramatically lowering the price of their latest console, the Nintendo 3DS, less than six months after it debuted.
In a statement on Nintendo’s website, the game maker says that on August 12th, they’ll be slashing the price of the 3DS by $80 from $249 to $169. existing 3DS owners will be compensated with twenty free downloadable games.
That’s a huge plummet in a console less than half a year old — price drops like this usually take a year or two to come about — but it reflects Nintendo’s beleaguered position in a post-App-Store age. Nintendo posted its first ever quarterly loss in the spring of about $475 million, and they’ve shorted their profit expectations to just $450 million, down from 2 billion.
Little wonder Nintendo’s doing so poorly: they’ve obstinately refused to learn any lessons from the iPhone and iPad’s success. In this day and age, you need to have a great online distribution strategy that leverages independent devs to compete with Apple, and Nintendo’s not bothered to learn from the App Store’s success.
Moreover, why spend $250 for a portable game console when you’ve got a smartphone in your pocket that games just as well? All Nintendo could counter the iPhone 4 with was a gimmicky 3D option that not only caused the 3DS to have terrible battery life, but causes headaches and nausea in a significant portion of the population.
No wonder that Nintendo’s making sure to ape the best of Apple in their next console, the Wii-U, which will come with an iPad-like gaming tablet. But that won’t be out until at least next year.
In the meantime, all Nintendo can do is shore up defensively, drop the price of the 3DS as low as they can, and pray.