In a startling announcement, Nintendo has revealed plans for a massive price drop on their 3DS handheld system going into this holiday season, reducing the cost to $169.99 in North America effective August 12th. What’s more, fans who purchased the device early at the $249.99 price point are being compensated with – get ready for this – 20 free games.
Anyone who owns a 3DS and connects to the Nintendo eShop, at least once before the price drop goes into effect, will be tagged as a member of the Nintendo Ambassador program. Starting September 1st, Ambassadors will gain access to the NES Virtual Console and will be allowed to select and download any 10 games of their choice, from selections including Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. What’s more, Ambassadors will have access to this library of games before the general public.
In addition, Ambassadors will be granted a selection of 10 downloadable Game Boy Advance titles by the end of the year, including hits like Yoshi’s Island and Metroid Fusion. These games are completely exclusive to the Ambassador program, as Nintendo has no plans to release them for public sale.
The price reduction comes as the holiday season approaches, with Nintendo slated to release a slew of high profile titles for its 3D handheld, including Star Fox 64 3D, Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, and the hugely anticipated Masahiro Sakurai-developed title Kid Icarus: Uprising.
Speculation abounds for the reasons behind the sudden price drop, but many point to Sony’s upcoming PlayStation Vita as one of the factors. Sony’s follow-up to the PSP might be released as early as the end of the year, and boasts a competitive $250 price tag for its non-3G capable model – the same as the launch price for the 3DS.
Whatever the reasons, this is great news for those who were interested in Nintendo’s newest handheld but found the price to be too much of a barrier. It’s also great to see Nintendo rewarding their diehards so heavily.