Thursday, July 28, 2011

7/28: How low can you go, Mario?

Tons of Mario news today, most all of it leading from this. This, if you did not click on it -- it's okay -- says that Nintendo made 25 billion yen less than it thought it would this quarter, and lost just about the same amount versus last year. The big difference between this year and last year is this year the #DS is out, and it appears to not be making the slightest bit of difference sales-wise.

So Nintendo's doing something different. First, it's slashing the prices of the 3DS. What once was $250 is now $169. That's $80 less. That's a lot, especially for a console not even six months old. Nintendo has only done the Crazy Eddie thing one other time, with its other 3D system, the Virtual Boy. The price change will be mid-August.

For people like me who bought in early, Nintendo is trying to make them feel like they didn't just flush $80 down a toilet. Anyone who basically turns their 3DS on and goes online in the next two weeks gets signed up for TWENTY free downloadable games, some right now and some down the road. Is that enough to appease early adopters? Maybe. Is the price cut enough to lure in the gamers? Not for Chris Kohler. If you read nothing else here, read what he has to say: it makes a huge amount of sense, and casts Nintendo as a company that doesn't quite know what to do, save for the obvious thing that would net them a lot of money.

And least we forget, the shining knights of Nintendo are edging closer to the horizon. What was called Super Mario 3DS is now being called Super Mario 3D Land, for my money a better title. It drops in November. And Mario Kart 3DS is now...dramatic pause... Mario Kart 7! It hits stores in December, just in time for Annual Gift Man.

7? Yes, seven. Counting the SNES, N64, Game Boy Advance, Gamecube, DS, and Wii versions, the 3DS makes for the seventh iteration. It's not being referred to as 3D anymore, even though it still is. This might be to make the regular Mario title feel more special, since Mario Kart sells itself.