In September 2010, handheld gaming was changed forever. The Nintendo 3DS was released in Japan and showed the world that two screens can work in an innovative and creative way. Four years after its release, we’ve seen the Nintendo 3DS XL, Nintendo 2DS, and scores of special editions of them. Two weeks ago, Nintendo made a surprise announcement that they’re creating a “new” Nintendo 3DS with increased capabilities and eventually exclusive games. However, even with that announcement, Nintendo is still creating and promoting various new editions of the “old” 3DS. So, with this “New” Nintendo 3DS announced, why are we still getting newer editions of the “Old” Nintendo 3DS?
Here are some of my thoughts:
I think it goes without saying that this is usually a prime suspect for companies. With Nintendo seeing numerous financial quarters in a row of losses (most noticeably a loss of $91 million last quarter), they’re forced to try and reinvent what they already have on the market. Though the company is facing some trouble spots now, Nintendo seems to be picking things up with the huge success of the limited edition systems. Pokémon X and Pokémon Y editions of the Nintendo 3DS, as well as the games, for example, are the highest selling 3DS games to date.
Tied into this, consumers also want to feel as if they are getting the best bang for their buck. To appease this, Nintendo often combines a limited edition Nintendo 3DS with a preloaded game. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team editions offered this type of packaging. Being that both games selling over 2 million copies could be a testament of this successful strategy.
The dreaded allure. When they see something that’s “rare” or in a “limited edition”, many gamers start to drool and save their pennies. Sometimes, it can be as simple as your favorite gaming series that hooks you into making the purchase. With over fifty editions of Nintendo 3DS XL around the world, there’s bound to be one or two that made you think, “that looks cool enough for me to get”.
This also brings up the idea of reselling those systems to fellow collectors. The Pikachu Edition sells for over $430, Charizard Edition for $525, and The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D Edition sells for a whopping $600, and these are just a few examples of this. Not too bad of a buyout if you were able to snag them at retail value…
Yesterday, Nintendo and GameStop announced two exclusive editions of the Nintendo 3DS – Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth and a system inspired by the iconic NES controller. Since these are exclusives to GameStop, whomever wants to purchase either one will be forced to go to the store chain. Love the company or not, you’ll bite the bullet if you’re inclined to purchase either (or both) of these systems. This agreement not only benefits the companies financially by getting revenue, but it also creates publicity for both as well.
To a similar degree, various editions of the Nintendo 3DS were only available at Pokémon Centers, retail stores that sell Pokémon and Nintendo merchandise. Some include the Pokémon X and Y Gold edition, Pikachu edition, Eevee edition and Charizard edition.
The Potential for New Customers
With so many editions and a plethora of games for the Nintendo 3DS edition, new customers are bound to emerge. Throw in the 2DS with it’s nice price-drop and you get a lot of incentive from parents to buy the system for their children. The NES controller edition, for example, could entice older gamers who might have been out of touch with Nintendo. They can then become nostalgic and possibly more enticed to make the purchase. And let’s not forget the Super Smash Bros. Red and Blue editions that were just announced. Players who have never considered a handheld Nintendo system are gearing up, not only for Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, but to shell out the money for the hot editions.
Nintendo 3DS is Here to Stay
With over 44 million systems sold, the Nintendo 3DS is here to stay for quite a while. With upcoming games like Super Smash Bros for 3DS, Pokémon Omega Ruby/Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, and Fantasy Life, the system shows no sign of diminishing. If anything, it will continue to grow in popularity and reach well over 50 million sales by the end of this fiscal quarter.
These are just a few thoughts that I came up with. Do you agree with any of them? Disagree? What other points do you think can be made?