Is The 3DS Going To Be OK?

New product launches are rough. The launch for the Nintendo 3DS went off well, it seems. However, the weeks that've followed continue to raise concern.

While some game consoles seem to be slow out of the gate, they later build up steam over time. Other consoles are firecrackers from the get go, but quickly burn out.

What's most concerning about the 3DS in Japan is just how low retailers are willing to pay for used 3DS consoles. In Japan, the "buy back" price is always a good way to judge how hot a console or game title is.

Most retailers are paying under ¥20,000 ($237) for used 3DS, a drop from the ¥25,000 ($297) price paid for the 3DS when the console launched (the console retails for ¥25,000). One chain is asking ¥16,000 ($189) for used 3DS and ¥14,000 ($166) for used PSP-3000s. There are reports that buy back prices at one shop even went as low as ¥5000 ($59)! Though, that pricing has since disappeared from the retailer's site.

What's more, some shops are cutting the price for used 3DS units. Pictured is one store that was asking ¥23,800 ($282) for used units, but changed the price to ¥19,800 ($234). Many "used" 3DS units popping up in stores in Japan don't seem used. They were bought by folks hoping to cash in on Yahoo! Auctions around when the 3DS launched in late February. The grey market for the 3DS never really took off in Japan.

Nintendo is in this for the long haul and has a tremendous track record with portable game consoles. The upside of the current 3DS situation is if you are thinking of getting a 3DS in Japan, get a used one. They're going for the nice price.


Comments

    Thank god I waited and did not buy one at launch. Given another 12mths I will be able to see whether it is worth a buy, but at the moment I am underwhelmed.

    The Nintendo 3DS will be fine. The reason for the low secondhand prices in Japan and elsewhere, is because Nintendo has made sure that there is plenty of new product available at launch. This has not been the case with previous Nintendo product launches where both new and secondhand units were scarce. The business principle of supply and demand also has an affect on the prices in the secondhand market. The difference with new stock is that retailers are generally not in a position to discount it to try to attract buyers.

    Could be that with the earthquake some people need money more than a system with few games.

    I think Nintendo caught everyone's attention at E3 with the amazing show of classic and new games for this thing, but to release not one killer app for the launch was a bad mistake. The whole argument about giving the 3rd party developers space to make a profit is rubbish when their entries are remakes of PS1 games or that Combat of Dinosaurs game. Seriously Nintendo, every gamer would have dropped cash on this thing if Zelda was there on day 1. Now people are not so sure if this thing is all that great. If the NGP isn't ridiculously expensive, Nintendo may have a real fight on their hands. I picked up a black 3DS with Ghost Recon at launch, and I love the damn thing. I just can't believe Nintendo didn't release something decent at launch. In Australia, we didn't even have the option of Steel Diver or Pilotwings Resort, and I don't want another copy of Street Fighter 4!

      I tend to agree with your analysis. In saying that though I purchased a 3DS and I really like it. But i dont like that I couldnt get a Mario, MGS, Pilot Wings or Mario Kart on launch day. This limited my excitment a little.

      Im purchasing an NGP also when that comes out and I really hope Killzone, Uncharted, Wipeout amongst some others are all there at launch.

      There is no point launching a wicked console, if you dont have enticing media to support that launch. As I said before, I really like the 3DS but I would probably love it if the above mentioned games were there for me to buy immediately.

    I have to argue with the reference you made to the picture in saying it went down to ¥19,800. It is obviously limited to the amount of stock they have left and you have to by a DS or 3DS game with it.. (I've studied Japanese for 10 years now..)

    Obviously 3D is the big draw or main attention they're giving to the console, but sometimes people don't want that and look for other upgrades in the system.

    Xbox > Xbox 360 nothing changed like 3D or Xbox Live. It was an upgrade of pretty much everything, minus the rrod.

    People aren't stupid enough to realise the 3DS is an upgrade in graphics and performance, but they should also sell the device as THAT instead of a gimmick, which a lot of people actually think 3D is.

    All this really proves is that Nintendo were successful in removing the grey market from the equation "EXACTLY AS THEY SAID THEY INTENDED". Do the sales of new systems reflect the dire situation that the article is alluding to? So far I don't think so however time will tell. Until it does it's pretty premature to declare that Nintendo is doomed.

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