News Article

Nintendo Defends European Retailers' Pricing of the 3DS

Posted by Trevor Chan

There's nothing else like it on the market

Nintendo's launch announcement of the upcoming 3DS was bittersweet yesterday as the release date and schedule of games were missing the all-important price tag of the system itself. With no final pricing currently determined for the U.K. and the rest of Europe, the majority of retailers have listed the handheld console in the region of £220 - £230, with Nintendo quick in defending the value of such a purchase.

Speaking to GamesIndustry, the General Manager at Nintendo UK David Yarnton said that due to the demand of the 3DS, retailers are happy with the price and Nintendo is expecting the launch of the 3DS to be its biggest yet in terms of hardware.

The DS for us was huge in 2005 and in 2006 the Wii was even bigger. Retailers - especially with the environment they are in - are right behind it. It's a new format. In the last ten years, the innovation that we've bought to the market, people may have looked at the price to begin with but it was soon forgotten because of the quality of the product and the content that's available.

Yarnton also seems confident that Nintendo and retailers will be able to satisfy the demand for the 3DS, with the two sectors working together in making sure that stock goes to where it needs to go in order to meet all the pre-orders. With nothing else on the market that compares with the 3DS, Nintendo is sure that quality will prevail. With Eurosport and Sky just two examples of television networks that have struck up partnerships with Nintendo in providing downloadable content for the 3DS, it's clearly just the beginning of what we'll be doing with the machine aside from just playing games. The downside with a product that deals with stereoscopic visuals is that you have to see it for yourself to truly understand what the machine is capable of, and Nintendo knows exactly how to enlighten consumers:

We've had huge sampling experiences on Wii and DS in the past and we properly started that whole touring the product, we've been doing that for years. With 3DS it's going to be the biggest sampling campaign that we've ever done... We're looking at between 4-500,000 consumer samples up to Easter this year. And because we're doing a combination of not only interactive in stores but also consumer events, and then samples in shopping centres... we see the opportunity as so important. How do we explain the 3D? We can paint a picture but until you actually experience it you're not going to see the full value of it. Sampling is huge, it's a major investment for us.

Do you think the price that retailers have set is reasonable, or do you think it needs to come down a little? The 3DS launches in Europe on 25th March, with a North American release scheduled for 27th March at a price of $249.99.

[via gamesindustry.biz]

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User Comments (67)

2-D

#1

2-D said:

As easily as they think they can defend it by saying it's a good product, we're still being shafted as usual. I don't get how they can charge us a £70 or whatever it is premium for living in Europe.

outrun2sp

#2

outrun2sp said:

With a virtual console destined to have 50hz. Id pay the extra money into importing an american model.

erv

#3

erv said:

Is this as region free as the DS has always been?

If so, then it's import time as usual. Charge dock here we come...

Golgo

#6

Golgo said:

The usual bull**** from Yarnton. They 'left' it to the retailers (DID they? Really...?) as they didn't want to take the flak themselves for ripping-off the European customer...yet again.

James

#7

James said:

@Golgo They'll sell to retail at a certain unit cost, then it's up to retailers to decide how much money to make on it. It's the same with everything - games, hardware, accessories etc. as in the UK retailers have carte blanche to set their own prices, pretty much.

Victoria

#8

Victoria said:

But not only is the console expensive, the games are going to cost a lot more as well. When I think of how much more it's costing me in food, heating and petrol bills right now, I have guilt wanting to spend this much money on myself for a TOY. At least when we bought the Wii is was something to play with my husband.
To put it in perspective: we own one small car, commute together to work, and do very little driving other than that. The price of a 3DS and one game is the equivalent of 3 months worth of petrol.

Hardy83

#9

Hardy83 said:

Unfortunately I feel that consumers wont' respond to it being a rip off price, well not he masses anyways.

I mean with that price you could get a pretty good Netbook or a PSP with a TON of games or even an Ipod Touch 4th Gen for less.

The 3DS will sell, but I'm really wondering about the long term appeal of it, when we all know 3D smartphones and heck, maybe even a PSP will be on the market within 12 months.

I say import an American one.

RedYoshi999

#10

RedYoshi999 said:

Just be grateful you're not here in Australia where it will be much more expensive. I would gladly pay you're European prices rather than what evil amount Nintendo Australia is going to come up with (yeah they haven't made one up yet)

nick_gc

#11

nick_gc said:

It's not really the cost of the 3DS itself that bothers me. The US have it at $250 before tax. So in UK money, that's £156. If we take tax of the maximum retail price of £230, we get around £195. So the difference in cost is that price of a game.

Which leads me onto what I think is the problem. The price of the games. Many retailers in the UK are listing games at £40. This is the cost of a home console game. I'm used to paying £25 for a DS game. An extra £15 for each game will make a serious dent in the amount of games I buy for this system. It's simply too much.

BXXL

#12

BXXL said:

Nintendo lost some money in Wii's first (and even second) year: the demand was so high that the price could easily have been 300 euros/dollars. Instead, that extra money went in the pockets of ebay sellers and such...

So i understand their logic: the launch supply is quite limited (4 millions if i remember correctly), so the first buyers will pay more. It's business we're talkin' about, not charity: what's the point in selling 3DS for 200 euros/dollars, when every copy could sell for more to those who are rich and healthy?

So deal with it, or just don't buy that thing before 2012 and the first price cut, just like me...

Big_A2

#13

Big_A2 said:

Mario Party Fan 999, I highly recommend importing the consoles from NA if possible. The price of shipping won't be much compared to what you'll save on the console and games.

RedYoshi999

#14

RedYoshi999 said:

@13
That wouldn't be a problem if the thing wasn't region locked. There's no way I want to import every game I buy, wait for delivery and never get games for presents unless they import them too. Not too mention eShop prepaid cards will be region locked too and I would have to get them from America. Maybe even StreetPass is region locked so I wouldnt be able to connect with other 3DS owners. As it is I will probably import one from the UK as there doesnt seem to be any problems between UK/AU systems.

madgear

#15

madgear said:

nah - this is a rip off plain and simple. It doesn't matter if it's a desirable, high quality product - what matters is they're selling the same product in other teretories for considerably cheaper.

They seem to think that we'll see it as a slightly lower price than the US one is if we all think the dollar is the same value as the pound. We're not that stupid.

I think one of the reasons for the region lock is it would be cheaper for people in the UK to import a US 3DS rather than buy one locally.

ToneDeath

#17

ToneDeath said:

I think the 3DS would be twice as desirable to most people if they can get the price below £200, even if it has to be £199.

Gavin_Rozee

#18

Gavin_Rozee said:

Rumour has it that each 3DS that a store buys from Nintendo costs them £173, so the 3DS could easily be £179.99.

nick_gc

#19

nick_gc said:

@18

How do you work that out? The store has to make profit of more than £6.00 per console sold!!

nick_gc

#21

nick_gc said:

@16

The PSPgo was a rip off. But that was old tech, which reduced the number of games you could play while charging you more to play them. That's why that failed.

ShellyDeKiller

#22

ShellyDeKiller said:

Considering the VAT and taxes that aren't included on the American price, as well as the need for businesses to, oddly enough, make money, I'm more than happy with the price.

Still waiting a while for a price drop though. :/

Cipher

#23

Cipher said:

@18 - that £173 doesn't include tax. Add that on top and it's £209. So to be fair, what seems to be the standard price of £229 could have been an awful lot worse. There would have been nothing stopping retailers from putting an extra £30 or £40 on top.

Besides, there'll probably be a price war at some point given the lack of recommended retail price.

Kirk

#25

Kirk said:

I really would not go above £200 for a hand-held games console at the absolute limit and possibly not even above £150.

Golgo

#26

Golgo said:

@James Newton: Obviously. However the proportionally higher retail cost only goes to prove that Nintendo are selling it at a proportionally higher cost to Euroland retailers, because they know they can. Except they've side-stepped admitting this by claiming it was all down to the retailers. In the US, however, where the price is very attractive, Nintendo are happy to claim the credit. Don't get me wrong, I love Nintendo products and games and I will get a 3DS eventually, but really I think this episode has exposed them in the worst, most money-grubbing and duplicitous light.

Terra

#27

Terra said:

If they have any decent bundles available at launch, I might bite but I'm not placing a pre-order just yet.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#29

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

So why is it so relatively cheap in US and Japan then? Why don't you treat EU with the same respect w.r.t software releases as well?

MmBuddha

#30

MmBuddha said:

Now don't get me wrong, I can't wait for the 3DS, and I will definitely own one at some point, but £220 pounds? That's the same price as a Playstation 3.. with Blu-ray capacity and a 160GB hard drive. UK retailers have definitely hit off the mark with that price.

edhe

#31

edhe said:

The price wasn't so much an issue with me than the lack of games that I was specifically interested in, the (alleged) shorter battery life and the region locking issue.

I may hold of buying it out of principle for Europe's inflated prices, but I'd rather wait for a new model to be released. By then, hopefully the battery life would be improved and some killer apps would be available for the 3DS that I just couldn't resist.

They're bound to release a new model eventually - it happens with all handheld devices.

WWammy

#32

WWammy said:

Personally I think that Nintendo is going to get a big wake up call.
They are riding on the fact that 3DS is the only console currently capable of doing 3D without glasses however it remains to be seen 1st of all if people actually care that much about 3D and 2 I doubt they will be the only ones for very long I mean Apple has hardware updates a lot more frequently and their games are generally much cheaper mostly just a couple of quid.

Bass_X0

#33

Bass_X0 said:

£220 pounds? That's the same price as a Playstation 3..

The PS3 has been out for years though. How much was it when it was originally released?

Jonny

#34

Jonny said:

@220? That makes it the most expensive thing since the N64 am I right? Remember how that pricing ended up......

Ret

#36

Ret said:

I'm sorry but there's absolutely no excuse for this. The pricing is ridiculous (though I blame Nintendo more than the retailers). For what you're actually getting it's not worth it. The cost of consoles and games are getting stupid these days. Looks like I may be out of handheld gaming till everything comes down to a more sensible price. Still, I have my Wii.

RaylaxStaff

#37

Raylax said:

Um. There's nothing like it in the US market either, and they're not being hilariously ripped off for it.

WiiLovePeace

#38

WiiLovePeace said:

Wow, I just did teh conversions & that's about a whole AUD$100 more than if I buy from US of A :O Given currently AUD is going practically dollar for dollar with the USD but still. Guess I'll be getting it from there as I imagine it'll be $350 to $400AUD here but us Aussies will find out all the details on Feb. 8th according to IGN.

@MarioPartyFan999 - Hmmm, although there is a chance the 3DS streetpass is region locked I doubt it. It just wouldn't make sense, Nintendo wants it to be as connected as possible, given that the 3D effect has to be seen to be believed. & also evidence of non-region locked streetpass can be found in the fact that Super Street Fighter's online mode can have you fight anyone in the world & Nintendo's own 3DS Mii Plaza will pick up other's Miis as you pass them, with details like the last game they played & where in the world they were created (iirc). That wouldn't be possible if all 3DS' weren't able to connect cross region.

So for me the decisions clear, saving money on the 3DS & games (compared to Aussie usual prices) is just too good of an opportunity to pass up & as for the 3DS eShop: DSiWare wise (for the most part that I've seen) US get games long before EU/AU do (if at all), so using a credit card or buying the Nintendo Points (which are cheaper than over here) makes sense. As for presents I'll just ask for money & buy the games myself :) Thanks Nintendo US!

iphys

#39

iphys said:

The price seems terrible compared with the NA price, but if you compare it with the price in Japan it's not completely ridiculous. If the price had been $350 in NA, I probably still would have bought one, because I think it's worth it for the technology.

jkgatling

#40

jkgatling said:

the UK price is probably high because of certain taxes... you need to learn a tad bout economics before a price, I mean sure its high but the UK has never been kind for game companies, just look at the pricing the NES had in the UK. its not nintendos fault, more likely taxes and retailers.
in sweden the pricing is around 2800 swedish crowns, or 264 british pounds or 420 US dollars. and im fine with that price thanks to the VERY stable crown and the really low dollar.

Doma

#41

Doma said:

So, they're using the 3D gimmick to try and justify the massive price, how unexpected...
The 3D novelty will wear off quickly, then be switched off permanently in order to save battery life (seems obvious to me). I wonder how many people will be dumb enough to pay that amount based on sampling alone.
230 is an abysmal price for what your getting. I hope sales dry up much sooner than expected, they deserve it.

motang

#43

motang said:

Too bad you guys can't just import a US version or Japanese version as this time a round it's region locked.

PSICOffee

#44

PSICOffee said:

Yeah that's some serious BS but just add it to the usual pile of BS we've heard about the system and it hasn't been launched yet! If anyone has a problem with the price, limited colors, games, style, weight, or whatever just wait for the holidays of 2011. I'm sure Nintendo would do a price drop in 9 months after release, especially since it'll be the holidays and everyone will want one.

These launch prices and things are always a scam to get more money out of gullible people that "need" the system as early as possible. You can wait. Think of how many games you've "been dieing" to get, then when you get them it's great sure, but for how long? Who here still obsesses over games like Twilight Princess and SSBB? I haven't even finished TP and I can already tell you the excitement is gone.

Just wait for the Wii's successor to be announced and everyone will go crazy over it just like everything else in the past and eventually won't give a crap about the 3DS anymore because they've already played it. Just wait and search your feelings, you know this to be true. We all have console lust, and the important thing is to learn to WAIT and not give into the temptation and impatience these people want us to do by ripping us off! :)

LEGEND_MARIOID

#47

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

EVEN WITH ALL the economic factors in place, it should be £200 MAX. That's pretty much nailed on as far as I can understand. Travesty, You're not over-hyped and over-priced Apple, you're Nintendo...you would do well to remember that. Or at least you ARE now over-priced Ninty!

daznsaz

#48

daznsaz said:

consoles always cost just have to find a way to get it ive pre ordered so i get cash somehow legally of course cant wait to get it remember few years back on my ds thinking it would be good to play resi 4 on this now its possible looking forward to what new wii will be like too

James

#49

James said:

So if the price to retail really is £173 per unit excluding VAT, that's what, £207.60 or so? So retailers are making £10 or £20 tops from the sale of a £230 item... that's not that extortionate.

I'd certainly be interested in finding out how much it costs Nintendo to make a 3DS, though I don't suppose we'll ever find out :)

Token_Girl

#50

Token_Girl said:

Economies are different in Europe and America. While I think 220 pounds is a ripoff (and it seems like some stores this is dropping). You do have to consider a few differences between the US and UK/EU economies:

1) US has no VAT, and generally lower corporate tax rates than Europe, I'd imagine (except Ireland, I know US companies hide money there). There will also be another $5-$10 percent sales tax added onto the US price if you buy it in store. That puts the real price at around $262-$275 for most people.

If it makes you feel better, most of you have national health insurance thanks to said higher taxes, including VAT, while I'm paying $100 a month for crap insurance that's only useful if I get into a car accident.

2) The US has a large, monolingual market. The only part of the game translated into Spanish and French are the instruction books. Companies have to pay ratings fees, translators, divide out manufacturing, all for much smaller markets individually in Europe.

3) The minimum wage in the US is $7.25 an hour. This is much lower than most of Europe. If minimum wages are higher (and I'm pretty sure they are), staffing costs for retailers and for Nintendo Europe are going to be higher too.

I'm still thinking you guys are getting ripped off some on this one, I do. Hopefully price warring will bring it down to something reasonable. However, you should consider the economy you live in, because there always seems to be a knee jerk reaction that European prices "are always ridiculous," when if you look at macroeconomic factors, there are reasons for higher costs.

TL;DR Prices are higher in Europe, because of smaller markets, higher taxes, and higher wages. On the plus side, you get higher wages, and more government services in exchange for higher prices on consumer goods.

For Australia it is always true though. You guys do always get the raw deal with gaming. Sorry.

LuWiiGi

#51

LuWiiGi said:

It's not the fact that it's expensive that annoys me, but it's the fact that we have to pay so much more than America. Explain that, Nintendo! Why do you hate Europeans?
EDIT: And don't even get me started on Australia...

Kimiko

#52

Kimiko said:

European price: €249 (~US$338)
USAian price: US$249 (~€183)
Add to that the fact that I buy nearly all my games from the USA (because of both price and availability). I think I'll be importing a 3DS.
I won't import it soon though. The launch set of games looks pretty meh, so I'll wait until better games show up.

As for there being no competition, well, next week Sony's new PSP(hone/2/whatever) will be announced. Let's see how competitive that's going to be.

TrueWiiMaster

#53

TrueWiiMaster said:

Nintendo seems to have a real fairness issue between regions. It's expected for Japan to get the best treatment, after all it is their home country, but the differences between Europe and America just don't make sense. America tends to get things cheaper, and often first, but Europe tends to get the better services (speaking mainly of Club Nintendo). I've complained to Nintendo several times (and I recommend more people doing it, so that actual change might happen) and they usually respond that they too want the better rewards of the UK, but that Nintendo isn't being unfair by releasing them everywhere but America. One of them actually told me that Nintendo places more value on each purchase in the UK (probably due to the jacked up prices). I just want that blasted SNES remote!

J-Forest-Esq

#54

J-Forest-Esq said:

Well, from my perspective I've got to worry about whether my parents will let me spend that kind of dosh on it in the first place. If they DO let me, then I've got to worry myself about whether I'M willing to spend that kind of dosh. So, it's going through two filtering processes. In comparison, when the DS came out my parents had no quarms about dishing out for one. The same even applies to the Wii. All that stuff about VAT and whatnot doesn't make much of a difference when you look at it from my angle. It doesn't matter whether it's a fair price economically or what have you, it's just a question of what your reaction is when you see the price. It's either something along the lines of "Gordon Bennett! That's shockingly expensive! Not going to by one of those." Or "Hm. That price isn't too shabby, I'll slap down my bank notes for that!" For the most part, it seems like the reaction is the Gordon Bennett one (including myself) so a small-ish price drop should come along sooner rather than later. I hope so, because if I get one now, I'm not going to be able to get ANYTHING else at all, that's all my money gone for the rest of the year.

Fortunately, from what I've seen the games are roughly the same price so I've still got a mental battle on my hands...(should I get it? Or should I not?)

koryz12

#56

koryz12 said:

The £229.99 price tag has lost my sale its just a glorified portable gamecube with hd i could buy a PS3 for that even though I have a 360

Morphbug

#58

Morphbug said:

Eh. Here in Mexico we have pay about 3000-so pesos for a DSi XL (that is about 250 dlls). Probably more.

So i bet we Mexicans will end up paying much more for the 3DS than you guys. And living in the continent called America, we are Americans.

Happy?

Doma

#59

Doma said:

"So if the price to retail really is £173 per unit excluding VAT, that's what, £207.60 or so? So retailers are making £10 or £20 tops from the sale of a £230 item... that's not that extortionate."

So the UK trade price ends up being higher than the US retail price... wow.
It's still extortionate. This just means UK retailers aren't entirely to blame for it, Nintendo themselves are ones intent on ripping off us consumers, ‘leaving price to the retailers’ was a nice little cover for them.

JarredBuzzo

#60

JarredBuzzo said:

I'm not European, but I can't agree more with the customers who disagree with the idea that it's too damn expensive. I also can't disagree with them when they posit that leaving pricing "up to retailers" is just plain asinine...

Sean_Aaron

#63

Sean_Aaron said:

The retailers charge what they think they can get away with. If Nintendo set a reasonable SRP they'd only deviate strongly if there was massive demand. Charging the same price when the currency values are this marked in difference isn't justified by VAT or translation issues, but I think everyone will figure that out if the units fail to move. Sounds like some online retailers are already thinking north of £200 = "no sale".

This is Nintendo's first test to see how many of their expanded audience are now committed Nintendo fans; given the price point and economic climate I suspect very few people who bought a DS are going to make this upgrade.

Mikanes

#64

Mikanes said:

C'mon, here in Finland some Retailers pricing of the 3DS at 300 € (EUR).
It's ~ 405 $ (USD) / 255 £ (GBP) ...Nice Price! ;)

jerryo

#65

jerryo said:

Ok you might want to know, that the European Union had taken Nintendo to the courts because it is illegal in EU for a company to have fixed prices like Nintendo did in the past and they were heavily fined for that!

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRU00739120090430
http://www.law360.com/competition/articles/99310/eu-court-lops-30m-off-nintendo-parallel-trade-fine

so the EU fined them because they were not letting competition to work and us, the consumers to get products cheaply, and now, retailers charge extra premium ;)

Nintendo was actually protecting us from the GREED of the retailers.

And so,
The "credit" goes to our fellow countrymen, that instead of selling in lower prices they have become a cartel that arranged a high price because they saw how much we really want a 3DS and how awesome it really is!! it is NOT Nintendo to blame. It is the retailers of each country in EU that decide the price according to European legislation.

P.S. I believe that it is actually the retailers of Europe who took Nintendo to the court because usually EU doesn't do that by themselves. They did that because Nintendo had fixed prices and with the VAT the profit margin for the retailers was low. So they found a way to break Nintendo's protection toward the customer using legal means.

Sean_Aaron

#66

Sean_Aaron said:

I'm sorry but that's rubbish. Plenty of manufacturers set SRPs without issue. What Nintendo was doing was preventing UK distributors, which were offering lower prices, from selling to retailers in the rest of the EU (Germany and a few other countries), which is expressly against the law as the EU is a single marketplace. Setting a suggested retail price has nothing to do with price-fixing as long as you don't try to enforce it.

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