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Nintendo 3DS Launching On March 27 For $250

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the coming-soon-to-a-kneebiter-near-you dept.

Nintendo 120

Sam writes "Nintendo executive Reggie Fil-Aime today revealed US availability and pricing for the Nintendo 3DS at an event in the Nintendo World store in New York City. The 3DS will launch on March 27, 2011 with a retail price of $250 and will be available in two flavors: Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black. There will be roughly 30 games released between the launch day and E3 2011 (June 7 to June 9). These include Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Madden NFL Football, The Sims 3, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, and LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. The device will have the same form-factor as the DSi and will be backwards compatible with both DS and DSi games. Users will also be able to download games via an online store, called the eShop. In Europe, the 3DS will launch on March 25, 2011. While Europeans will get the device two days early, pricing is not good news. Nintendo held a second event in Amsterdam today and said that pricing would be left up to retailers. Retailers in the UK are reportedly planning a £229.99 ($367.64) price tag, while other European retailers are going with €249 ($336.00)."

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120 comments

Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34936912)

But who is going to waste money on a portable gaming device that cost as much as either their cell phone (Which is almost as functional), or their home console?

I mean 250-370 bucks for a device that is going to have games running in the 30-50 dollar range just seems ludicrious to me.

But then I'm probably not the target demographic.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (4, Informative)

MasaMuneCyrus (779918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34936952)

Well, the PSP (which also launched at $250) has nearly 67 million sales [vgchartz.com] compared to the PS3's 47 million. And the Nintendo DS has 145 million sales compared to the Wii's 85 million, or the PS3 and Xbox 360's 98 million combined.

That said, it sure would be nice if the 3DS has a tv-out function...

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (3, Interesting)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34936986)

Do keep in mind however that the PSP was basically only a half-success in the Western markets. In terms of hardware units sold Japan is in 3rd place behind North America and Europe, but in terms of software sold the situation in the West is so bad that most 3rd parties pulled out of doing PSP development after 2008. As it stands there's something like 8 games due on the PSP in North America in the next 6 months; most of them are being published and/or developed by Sony. The only place PSP game development is still alive is Japan, where a number of games still come out every week.

It was the most successful non-Nintendo handheld to date, but it's not the kind of success you want to emulate in the West.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34937288)

Piracy strikes again. The PSP was hacked within the first six months it was out, and unlike the DS required only software modifications after the first few iterations of the hacks. You can hack a PSP in less than ten minutes. =/

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (2)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937378)

That's a retarded argument. The DS is far more easily hacked. Just stick in a slot 2 device filled with games and voila you're done. Software hacks are time-consuming and risky to users who don't know what they're doing. And in the end piracy never affected the DS. It still sold tons of units of hardware and games.

The real reason the PSP lost software support is because the PSPGo sucks and hardware sales declined precipitously. Furthermore Westerners hate the cramped analog "nub" and are forced use that cursed D-pad on PS2-quality 3D games.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34937644)

Really?

I thought it failed because of the disc based media. Load times + poor battery life on a portable device are a bad combination.

It probably worked better in Japan because of the TV out capabilities - The .jp's tend to have much smaller rooms than us, so something like the PSP that can be used as a small console that just happens to be portable as well is more useful there.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937668)

Um, first and foremost Tokyo != Japan. Secondly, yes Japanese apartments are small, but they are still shockingly 3d and a games console doesn't take up a lot of room. My personal opinion for why the PSP did better in Japan are twofold:

1) Monster hunter, that game is so popular that there are tons of people who went out and bought a PSP for that game and ONLY for that game.
2) RPGs in general. There are some RPGs for the DS, but in general they suck pretty bad. The PSP has a ton more good JRPGs available.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939754)

There are some RPGs for the DS, but in general they suck pretty bad.

What are you talking about? The DS has the excellent Etrian Odyssey games, some Shin Megami Tensi games, Dragon Quest remakes, the Mario and Luigi games, Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, Phantasy Star 0, The World Ends With You,... The list goes on.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34941036)

I read about a park, in Tokyo I believe, filled almost solely with people playing one of the Dragon Quest games for DS.

This is illegal, you know (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939648)

Just stick in a slot 2 device filled with games

Nintendo managed to successfully sue several online stores carrying these devices. Remember Lik Sang?

Re:This is illegal, you know (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#34940344)

That's nice.

Meanwhile, those of us that realize there's nothing fucking wrong* with it will continue to use our flashcards to play the games that we bought and paid for.

*Just because something may or may not be illegal, doesn't make it wrong.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939262)

you can hack a ds by getting a 5$ adapter cart and a sd card, its far easier and aside from shipping it takes less than 10 seconds

but yet DS doesnt blame every single shortcoming on "piracy" like sony does, slow optical media? dick battery life? constant hardware changes and customer confusion? bad control layout incompatible with playstation? a grand total of like 6 games that dont completely suck? no way its "piracy"

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34940986)

I purchased a PSP shortly after launch and nearly immediately regretted my decision when virtually no good games were coming out for it. Meanwhile I watched my DS-toting friends in envy despite its weak hardware.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

Yosho (135835) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938620)

As it stands there's something like 8 games due on the PSP in North America in the next 6 months; most of them are being published and/or developed by Sony. The only place PSP game development is still alive is Japan, where a number of games still come out every week.

Er... no? I can list of at least 20 games that are coming out just by April: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/upcoming-psp-games2011.html [buzzle.com]

In my opinion, 2010 was the best year the PSP's had so far. I've had a PSP since around 2007, but I know I bought more games for it last year than any year up to that.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

tehniobium (1042240) | more than 3 years ago | (#34936998)

Wow, I had no idea it was like that! Maybe it's because I'm a hermit, but I hardly ever see anybody with a PSP? You'd think 67 million units would be easy to spot :D

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

xclr8r (658786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937180)

When you're driving and look over to see a kid looking into his/her lap. You aren't looking at a depressed kid, your looking at a kid playing a portable console.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939374)

Yeah, I've seen exactly two people using a PSP in public, ever. And one of them was an Asian kid, quite possibly visiting from Japan. Whereas even my mom has a DS.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34937028)

Well, the PSP (which also launched at $250) has nearly 67 million sales compared to the PS3's 47 million.

Also keep in mind that the PS3 is still in the 300+ dollar range now, after significant drops in price over the year.

And more importantly, for the longest of time the PSP has been selling for 169 for a core unit or 199 with a free game or more bundled together which I wouldn't doubt is where it's been getting a lot of sales.

I'm more interested in seeing how people will react to the console if it's headache-inducing tech becomes well known before launch. They better not depend on the under 18 crowd pumping up their units-sold for this thing if parents start getting afraid of potential consequences of their kid playing the unit. (Real or imagined.)

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

crazygeek24 (1980008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937402)

I agree that Nintendo DS would have bigger sales, but at the same time the PSP could be used as a mp3 player and portable video player, so i like both products and think that Nintendo should have a device like the PSP then they would even make more sales and be able to compete more with Sony.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938492)

That said, it sure would be nice if the 3DS has a tv-out function...

Considering no TV can do 3D the same way the 3DS can, not really...

You mean like IS Nitro Capture (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939684)

That said, it sure would be nice if the 3DS has a tv-out function...

Considering no TV can do 3D the same way the 3DS can, not really

Then why haven't the DS and DSi had TV out? (Where's the consumer version of IS Nitro Capture in the way that Super Game Boy and Game Boy Player were the consumer versions of Wide Boy?) Why can't the 3DS have TV out even in 2D mode?

Re:You mean like IS Nitro Capture (1)

BStroms (1875462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34940106)

Then why haven't the DS and DSi had TV out? (Where's the consumer version of IS Nitro Capture in the way that Super Game Boy and Game Boy Player were the consumer versions of Wide Boy?) Why can't the 3DS have TV out even in 2D mode?

Yeah, this was pretty much a deal breaker for me. I chose to only get a PSP as I can keep it connected to my TV at all times. I don't take it with me when I travel, as I use that as an excuse to take a break from video games and catch up on some reading. Besides, it would be possible as the 3DS has the option to turn off 3D. That's the way I'd want to play it anyway, as I get enough eye strain as it is, so I'd be happy with a TV out that didn't support 3D.

If they leave it out, then, especially considering the price, I'll probably skip another generation of Nintendo handhelds.

Re:You mean like IS Nitro Capture (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34940786)

Then why haven't the DS and DSi had TV out? (Where's the consumer version of IS Nitro Capture in the way that Super Game Boy and Game Boy Player were the consumer versions of Wide Boy?) Why can't the 3DS have TV out even in 2D mode?

Most likely because keeping cost low is a major objective of a handheld device. The 3ds is being introduced at about the highest price that consumers are likely to pay for a handheld game. And running a wire to your TV from a handheld device is so awkward and inconvenient that few people would use the feature, so it would add cost without increasing its value to the average buyer.

YouTube is free marketing (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34940992)

The 3ds is being introduced at about the highest price that consumers are likely to pay for a handheld game.

PSP-2000 added component out, and PSP-3000 added composite out. Why can't Nintendo make a hardware revision that adds these?

And running a wire to your TV from a handheld device is so awkward and inconvenient

How more so than running a wire from your computer to your smartphone to charge it and load songs?

few people would use the feature

YouTube coverage of a video game is like free marketing. But anyone who wants to make a YouTube video of a DS game currently needs a camcorder and a bracket to hold the DS. A TV output would shrink the requirement to a USB video capture box or DVD recorder and would make the result much cleaner.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#34940380)

Can't you turn it off? I know there's a control to adjust the 3D effect, and I thought turning it all the way down turned off the 3D?

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34940468)

Not to mention, the screen orientation of the 3DS would have to be rendered quite oddly on a TV. To show both screens stacked on top of each other like they are on the unit itself, you'd have about 2/3 of a widescreen TV going to waste. Maybe if widescreen TVs could rotate 90 as a standard feature...

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34938498)

lol i think this blogger may agree with you- mancalazonk.blogspot.com
You're right about the price though - why should anybody buy a handheld like this especially when the PS phone is coming out soon anyway but i would be willing to bet my life that on the first day millions of children will have bullied their parents into getting them one.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (3, Insightful)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937014)

All new handhelds start off in the $200-$250 range, and that's fine. If it's obscene to you then you're not the demographic they're after for the moment. The price will obviously go down over time like they all do.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34938198)

I think why people are getting antsy about the price is that the DS is sub-par when compared to current devices on the market. DSi for example was quite sad when you compared it to an iPod. The latter having better resolution, graphics, proper wifi and cheaper games.

So the new DS would have to have something seriously worthwhile on it to buy it.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (2)

HelioWalton (1821492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938300)

The "something seriously worthwhile" is the glasses-less 3d.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939652)

The "something seriously worthwhile" is the glasses-less 3d.

And first-party games by Nintendo.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34941484)

That remains to be seen, but that is the reason why I'm considering getting one. Otherwise I wouldn't bother getting one at all. But depending upon how the technology ends up working, I might very well get one. I haven't bothered to buy a dedicated handheld console since my GBA. Depending upon how good the 3D is and how well utilized it is in games, that would make it seriously worthwhile to buy.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

djnforce9 (1481137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938660)

PSP was around the same price when it was first launched so the same is to be expected with the 3DS. Not only that, but unlike your "cell phone" or even "home console", this device will serve as a 3D camera too. However, the games are probably going to be more pricey than a typical handheld ($39USD to $49USD from what I read). That is more comparable to home console title price points. I'm guessing it's due to the increased complexity of the games resulting in much higher development costs for a handheld.

Unlocked smartphones cost $500 (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939730)

But who is going to waste money on a portable gaming device that cost as much as either their cell phone (Which is almost as functional)

Unlocked smartphones cost $500, not $250.

or their home console?

The GameCube had been through several rounds of price cuts by the time the $150 Nintendo DS came out in the fourth quarter of 2004.

games running in the 30-50 dollar range

Not all of them. Unlike the original DS and DS Lite, the DSi and 3DS have an online app store, and games may cost 1000 Nintendo Points.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34940140)

But who is going to waste money on a portable gaming device that cost as much as either their cell phone (Which is almost as functional), or their home console? I mean 250-370 bucks for a device that is going to have games running in the 30-50 dollar range just seems ludicrious to me.

At that price, the low end iPod Touch would be a better investment for $229, with games more in the $1-10 range, not to speak of all the free games available. I used to own a DS Lite, and it was awesome. Gave me a lot of relief from the tedium of day-long wrestling meets. But then I got an iPod Touch for free when I bought my in-laws an iMac, and found quite a few games that were either the same or comparable to those on the DS Lite, so it went off to eBay. It was also nice to reduce the amount of gear I had to haul around. With the iPod Touch I only needed the unit + headphones. With the DS Lite, I had to have the carrying case + any game cards I wanted to play. It was quite a bit bulkier. The only bad thing about the iPod Touch is I'll miss some of the Nintendo games like the Prof. Leyton series & Mario, etc.

But then I'm probably not the target demographic.

I don't know about that. I was in my mid 30's when I had my DS Lite, and I knew of quite a few other adults who have owned them. Once I met a soccer mom at Best Buy who was shopping for games for herself, she had a pink DS Lite, I think for much the same reason as I had one.

Re:Ok, maybe it's just me.... (1)

Saint Gerbil (1155665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34940396)

250 USD = 156 GBP = 285 EUR
229 GBP = 271 EUR = 365 USD
249 EUR = 335 USD = 210 GBP

I'm used to getting robbed by hardware costs in the UK but that's nearly half off.
No wonder they region locked it.

fr1st p0s7 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34936948)

this fr1st p0$t is for Fake Steve Jobbs, the GNAA, and 40-year old virg1ns everywhere. XD

Australian Price? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34936962)

What's the bet the Australian price will be $500, because we're still at 0.5 USD right?

Re:Australian Price? (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937102)

Oh sure. And it'll be several more months before we see 'em here too!

Re:Australian Price? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34937956)

Don't forget the 30% Gerry Harvey tax!

Re:Australian Price? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937204)

I'm inclined to just buy it from Amazon.

Re:Australian Price? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937542)

there have been some rumors about the 3ds having region locking, and i seem to remember from the gamecube days, isnt australia in the same region as europe? (nintendo wise anyway?)

Re:Australian Price? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34937550)

Why don't you just steal one? I mean, you're all criminals anyways.

G'Day Cobber! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34938474)

What's the bet the Australian price will be $500, because we're still at 0.5 USD right?

You're forgetting that devices sold in Australia have to undergo expensive localisation- both the 3DS and its software will have to be redesigned so that they work upside-down instead. ;-)

Oh yeah, and due to local Aussie laws they have to have corks on strings added as well. (^_^)

seeing it will sell it (0)

zonker (1158) | more than 3 years ago | (#34936964)

They've got to get these things in every retail outlet possible. The 3DS is one of those situations where seeing the system will help sell it. A skeptical public who hears "3D" might think it is a poorly implemented gimmick like the 3D of the 1950s.

Chop open that golden goose! (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34936972)

How soon Nintendo forgets that its market positions and price points are directly proportional on all its systems...

More expensive in Japan too (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34936974)

The Japanese will be getting the 3ds in a couple of weeks but it's going to cost a little north of $300.

seeing it will sell it (0, Redundant)

zonker (1158) | more than 3 years ago | (#34936976)

They've got to get these things in every retail outlet possible. The 3DS is one of those situations where seeing the system will help sell it. A skeptical public who hears "3D" might think it is a poorly implemented gimmick like the 3D of the 1950s.

Re:seeing it will sell it (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939782)

In 10-20 years the 3DS will look like a poorly implemented gimmick. Technology improve, old stuff become obsolete.

When HyperDefinition 3D images get streamed directly to the brain in DreemVision(tm), you can be use that the 3DS will be look at like the 2010s version of the virtualboy.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34936980)

Will it play "This ain't avatar"?

Price difference (1)

Amarantine (1100187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34936990)

AFAIK, US prices don't include sales tax, while European prices do, so add 20% or so to the US price before you start comparing it. But this still brings the price difference to $60 or so.

Re:Price difference (1)

darkain (749283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937002)

Curious, which state has a 20% sales tax?

Re:Price difference (1)

Amarantine (1100187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937392)

Ah ok, didn't know the sales tax was that low in the US. Over here in the Netherlands, this tax is 19%, but this is included in the price. Without this tax, it would cost about $308.

Re:Price difference (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938446)

The highest sales tax in the US is I believe 10%. Most states have it around 5%-6% and some have no sales tax at all. In Ohio (where I live) tax on this would only be $16.25.

Re:Price difference (4, Informative)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937076)

Nowhere in the US is sales tax even approaching 20%. As an ex-pat living abroad, I don't really keep up with sales tax in the US but I believe it is averaging around 8% across the US.

Yet once more, the US gets cheap devices while the rest of the world pays more, sometimes a LOT more. I'm really getting tired of companies launching products with the same "price" in US dollars and euros. The currencies are NOT valued the same, the euro is currently much stronger than the US dollar (~1.35:1 as of this morning). Luckily not everyone is doing this, the smarter companies will price appropriately for the market and local currency, such as offering something in the US for $249 while the same product in Europe is 199€ or 219€ which is much more inline with the currency's actual value. I acknowledge that our VAT is higher than US sales tax but we do enjoy better consumer protection than the US and better warranties, e.g. most consumer electronics are warranted for 2 full years, and if something breaks within the "expected lifetime" of the product, I can ask for a replacement even after the warranty period.

I don't mind paying a bit more, but many companies are gouging customers by playing the currency game. I would put Sony in this category based on their pricing.

Re:Price difference (1)

whoop (194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937110)

One of the reasons Nintendo gave for region-locking the 3DS was for differences customizing each region for the best experience, like language. So, clearly, since Europe has so many languages, the need to pay more. I guess.

Re:Price difference (1)

R.D.Olivaw (826349) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937666)

One of the reasons Nintendo gave for region-locking the 3DS was for differences customizing each region for the best experience, like language. So, clearly, since Europe has so many languages, the need to pay more. I guess.

Why would you need region locking for that? If someone needs the extra language then they will buy the localised, more expensive, version. If people do not care and would rather buy the cheaper english version then probably localisation isn't needed after all.

Re:Price difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34937694)

One of the reasons Nintendo gave for region-locking the 3DS was for differences customizing each region for the best experience, like language

"No, we don't care that you speak fluent English. For your comfort and convenience, you WILL wait six months for the game to be slowly localized and then cancelled because we don't think your fellow-countrymen will fully appreciate it."

Fuck region locking. Its only purpose is to interfere with free trade, and anyone who says otherwise is either a deluded fanboy or an outright liar.

Re:Price difference (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939010)

Any suggestions on why the UK is the most expensive market, then? Even accounting for the rather excessive 20% VAT rate, the difference in price is about $45.

Re:Price difference (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937218)

I acknowledge that our VAT is higher than US sales tax but we do enjoy better consumer protection than the US and better warranties, e.g. most consumer electronics are warranted for 2 full years, and if something breaks within the "expected lifetime" of the product, I can ask for a replacement even after the warranty period.

Good point. Didn't know the US had shorter mandatory warranties. Though I've only made use of warranty within the first month or so as I always lose the recite.

Re:Price difference (1)

tehniobium (1042240) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937298)

Denmark has this too (or at least something that resembles it pretty closely).

That having been said, we have 25% VAT. So no surprizes there.

Re:Price difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34938186)

Yes but I believe his point is if your country adds 20% tax then you can't really justly compare it to the US advertised price which will never include tax. Even if many people will buy it online and avoid sales tax.

Re:Price difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34938520)

Sure you can. Just divide by 1.2 to remove the 20% built-in tax and then compare the result.

Re:Price difference (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938732)

Yet once more, the US gets cheap devices while the rest of the world pays more, sometimes a LOT more.

We get the games for cheaper, and you get the pharmaceuticals for cheaper. It's a trade off to make it fair.

Re:Price difference (1)

cybrodroid (1842676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939122)

I thought it had more to do with import taxes than companies outright gouging, also the extra consumer protections. Blame the gov''t, not ninty.

Re:Price difference (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939248)

smarter companies will price appropriately for the market and local currency, such as offering something in the US for $249 while the same product in Europe is 199€ or 219€ which is much more inline with the currency's actual value

No the dumb companies or the ones selling things that are easy to import will do that.

The smart companies that can control their markets (via region locking, country specific warranties, etc) will sell it for the price in each region that maximises profit.

And of course sales tax is not the only cost difference. Tariffs and import duties can be significant. Compliance costs for environmental regulations and licensing (getting your device approved for meeting radio interference rules, etc) can vary. Why should the price of the device be set higher in the US because some other country whacks a higher import duty on and requires a "recycle" program for electronic devices or requires a longer replacement warranty?

First handheld to be fully region locked (5, Informative)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937020)

What's not in the summary or TFA is that this is the first handheld to be "fully" region locked. The PSP was region locked for movies, while the DSi had region locking for the online stores. But this is the first handheld where titles bought off store shelves will all be region locked. There's been evidence for some time that Nintendo are the most anti-consumer of the three console developers, but I think this is probably the final proof.

Combined with the console's price-point, this really does make me wonder where Nintendo are going with this. They've put it at a price tag which, like the PSP, is going to put it out of reach of most of the playground demographic, at least until Christmas. And yet among non-Japanese grown-up gamers, one of the biggest uses of handhelds is for when you go travelling. I'm not going to sit at home and play on a handheld, in general, when I have proper consoles and a gaming PC in my flat. Why should I peer at a tiny screen and cramp my hands up for a handheld's controls when I could be gaming in comfort? And my commute? I suspect that like many people who live in or near a major city, my commute on public transport is just too crowded and too rattly for handheld gaming. When travelling abroad, however, handhelds come into their own, and that's when I've gotten most of the use out of my PSP and DS. But if I can't pick up a game when I'm out in the US for the flight back to the UK? That's not going to make me happy.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (3, Insightful)

RotsiserMho (918539) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937060)

Are you serious? This is the FIRST Nintendo system to be fully region locked. Not exactly "evidence for some time". Also let's not forget it was Sony that pulled the plug on PS3 Linux. They're the only company to ever REMOVE an official feature from a functioning console. I read an article on 1-Up I think that mentioned the price point on the 3DS will be higher because the price point on the Wii really should have been higher. They priced the Wii so low that it was hard to find for over a YEAR. My guess is since there's really no competition in the portable 3D hand-held market that they're going to fish for a higher price and see who bites. That beats seeing third parties on eBay enjoying what would otherwise be Nintendo's profits. As you suggested, it's likely it'll be cheaper by Christmas and then everyone else can get one.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (1)

RotsiserMho (918539) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937064)

Wow Slashdot's preview is NOT the same as what it posts. It ate my whitespace. How does one edit comments on here?

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (0)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937104)

You don't. You know that preview button?

Yeah, use it.

Also, press the options button and change the text mode to plain old text.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (3)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937670)

Slashdot's preview is NOT the same as what it posts

You know that preview button? Yeah, use it.

You know the words he wrote? Yeah, read them.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34937582)

Actually, the Wii is also the most region-locked console, with all content subject to mandatory region-locking. The 3DS is the first portable system from any manufacturer to be fully region-locked.

It's hard to claim though that Nintendo are the most anti-consumer console company, given the things Sony have done this generation (which you mention in your post), and some of the things Sony have done in the past in other areas (everyone seems to forget Sony putting malware on audio CDs). And don't get me started on the dumb mandatory updates on the PSP.

The real problem with the 3DS is for those of us in Europe who end up paying a lot more and now can't even import games when Nintendo/the publishers decide that they can't be bothered releasing them in Europe.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#34940810)

And don't get me started on the dumb mandatory updates on the PSP.

Wii has them too. I don't know if the 360 does though, mine always updates through LIVE so I have no idea if the discs also contain updates.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (1)

SilenceBE (1439827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937616)

Also let's not forget it was Sony that pulled the plug on PS3 Linux. They're the only company to ever REMOVE an official feature from a functioning console.

Oh yeah that was a feature that 99% of the userbase used. An OS that was serious gimped by lack of good videodrivers and a lack of RAM. I can buy a second hand computer for 40€ that ran Linux a lot better then how Linux ran in OtherOS mode. Are you serious ? Is anybody crying about Linux on the PS3 serious ?

* Wake me up when I can buy my games in any country (even been able to buy an asian version and even have the possiblity to play in my own language)
* Wake me up when don't sign their devices so I can buy any cheap third party device that I can think off. Like more USB ports, not a problem I can use a cheap 5$ usb hub not an "official" Nintendo/Microsoft thing
* Wake me up when I'm able to build my own joystick with arcade parts and use it on my console without any problems... .

But then again this is slashdot where there is no room for FACTS.... . And see it modded down to oblivion !

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937806)

Taking your three requirements in turn and looking across all of the current "big" console platforms:

1) PS3 games aren't region locked. Ever. The console technically has the capability to implement this, but it has never been turned on. Sony won't certify region locked games. That said, some games are released for specific markets without translations. Unfortunately, this is probably unavoidable; the margins on "small" games in a lot of markets (particularly Japan) are pretty thin and requiring every game to be released with (at the very least) an English translation could kill development in many cases.

Microsoft leave the decision of whether or not to region lock games up to individual publishers. In the early years of the 360, a majority of games were region locked. These days, around 75-80% of 360 games released in the US and Europe are not region locked (and it is fairly easy to find out which are). Japanese 360 games do still tend to be region locked, though even there the balance is shifting towards liberalisation. Microsoft never region lock the games that they publish themselves.

Wii games are region locked. Always. Nintendo won't certify without it. They like to maintain control over what gets released (and played) in specific territories.

2) Third party controllers and the like do exist for the PS3. That said, various security updates over the last year or so have shut some of these down and a few older 3rd party controllers (though not all) will stop working if you update to the latest firmware (which is pretty evil). However, the PS3 does use a standard hard disk, so you can swap the default PS3 for a bigger one without having to buy expensive Sony hardware. You can plug any old keyboard and mouse into a PS3, if you want (and a small number of games will support this).

There are a few third party controllers for the 360; they are not outright forbidden, but are not officially supported either. Hard disks, wireless networking adapters etc are all over-priced MS branded stuff; no 3rd party options here. Again, you can plug in a standard keyboard and mouse, though MS do offer their own "official" versions as well.

There are a tiny number of third party controllers for the Wii; Nintendo tends to strongly disapprove, though. There are plenty of third-party "peripherals" - plastic shells that hold a Wii-mote and supposedly enhance the experience in various games. Given that these are just dumb pieces of plastic containing no electronics, there is nothing that Nintendo can do about any of these, though it would probably like to, given the ridiculous prices it tends to ask for its own offerings (given these really are just moulded plastic).

3) Unless you are seriously good at both hardware and software, you are not going to be doing this for any of the current consoles.

So in short, none of the 3 consoles meets all of your tests, though if we were giving scores, the PS3 would get something like 1.8/3 (it comes most of the way on your second point, but not all the way), the 360 would get 1/3 (giving it a half point for a general drift away from region locking) and the Wii would score around 0.2/3 (minor credit because you can get third party accessories if you look hard enough).

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34941470)

Also let's not forget it was Sony that pulled the plug on PS3 Linux. They're the only company to ever REMOVE an official feature from a functioning console.

Oh yeah that was a feature that 99% of the userbase used. An OS that was serious gimped by lack of good videodrivers and a lack of RAM. I can buy a second hand computer for 40 that ran Linux a lot better then how Linux ran in OtherOS mode. Are you serious ? Is anybody crying about Linux on the PS3 serious ?

And you think 99% of the userbase cares if the console was region locked? Really, the number of people who care about region locking or OtherOS is pretty small (and the intersection is pretty big). There's a good chance already that 99% of the existing Nintendo DS and DSi have never ever run a foreign legitimately purchased game (no, downloading the ROM and putting it on your flash card doesn't count).

Heck, did you know there was a small region limitation in the DS? Yes, games purchased in China do NOT work on outside-China DSes (technical reason - the ROM in the DS is smaller for rest of world as it doesn't have to contain all the glyphs).

PS3 games aren't region locked. Ever. The console technically has the capability to implement this, but it has never been turned on. Sony won't certify region locked games.

I believe they are actually - looking at the back cover is a picture of a globe with a number attached to it - that's the region number. Now it's possible that Sony doesn't *enforce* it, but it's there.

Example I found on flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/williamhook/2215951235/sizes/o/in/photostream/ [flickr.com]

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (2)

teslar (706653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938192)

This is the FIRST Nintendo system to be fully region locked.

What? Dude, Nintendo friggin' invented [wikimedia.org] region locking for video games. Even the NES was region locked [wikimedia.org]. You couldn't even play German games on your British NES.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938484)

"They're the only company to ever REMOVE an official feature from a functioning console."

To be fair, updating the console after the sale is a pretty new phenomenon. But consoles lose features all the time. The Atari 5200 lost two controller ports and the Master System lost the slot used with their 3D glasses. I'm sure there are others examples. That's not exactly what you're talking about since only the new consoles were affected but it's as close as you can get for consoles that you couldn't really update.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939952)

Are you serious? This is the FIRST Nintendo system to be fully region locked. Not exactly "evidence for some time".

  • Games bought in the Wii Shop Channel are tied to your Wii. Did your Wii break? Too bad, you lost all your downloaded games too (unless you manage to make a stink out of it or live in a country with good customer protection).
  • Want to use your Wii however you like with homebrew? Too bad, Nintendo will fuck you over with firmware updates.
  • Nintendo released a 4.2 firmware update that had a high chance of bricking your Wii.
  • Nintendo released firmware updates that disabled FreeLoader discs, which were a legal way to play import games without voiding the warranty.
  • The Wii's graphical chipset is prone to overheating, an issue that Nintendo doesn't admit to. Meanwhile Wiis that aren't covered by warranty any more often break due to this flaw or have graphical glitches.
  • The Wii is region locked in a time of globalisation.
  • All DS games since the release of the DSi are have a region lock when played with the DSi.
  • Do you live in a different country than a friend of yours that you want to gift a Virtual Console game or WiiWare game to? Too bad, you're not allowed to do that.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (1)

staticneuron (975073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34941446)

I am not sure why Sony is was brought into this but lets tell the truth here. Linux was NEVER officially supported by Sony. OtherOS feature was not on the box, or on any promotion/merchandising materials. No mass media market campaigns for other os, no radio, print or TV ads for OtherOS. Given the army of features that are pretty open for the PS3, it is silly and indicative of this decisive generation thanks to media and gamers in general. It was one of many unadvertised features that shipped for the PS3. I am not going to say Nintendo is anti consumer ( I don't think so myself) but to point to the removal of OtherOs as some sort of counter to what was presented above is not even on the same page.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (3, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937124)

But this is the first handheld where titles bought off store shelves will all be region locked.

I'm sure there'll be people to help Nintendo out with their missing features. Like when PS3's OtherOS went missing.

I'm not going to sit at home and play on a handheld, in general, when I have proper consoles and a gaming PC in my flat.

OTOH, I've got a console and a DS at home, and usually play with the DS. I can just open and shut the lid whenever I need to without having to wait. To me, the DS is much more about playing WHEN I want rather then WHERE. Then again, I don't have a hardcore gamer mentality; I play games for fun, not for a challenge; I don't play for hours on end.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (4, Interesting)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937568)

OTOH, I've got a console and a DS at home, and usually play with the DS. I can just open and shut the lid whenever I need to without having to wait. To me, the DS is much more about playing WHEN I want rather then WHERE. Then again, I don't have a hardcore gamer mentality; I play games for fun, not for a challenge; I don't play for hours on end.

Same here, my DS has fallen into disuse the last few years, but i have my PSP on my nightstand in sleep-mode, so i can play a level of little-big-planet / race in gran turismo during the commercial breaks when i'm watching TV, which is something i couldnt/wouldnt really do with the 360/wii/gaming pc

LAWYER, I choose you! (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939882)

I'm sure there'll be people to help Nintendo out with their missing features.

Nintendo has successfully sued sellers of storage media for GBA and DS.

Like when PS3's OtherOS went missing.

Likewise, Sony is suing Mr. Hotz.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (1)

ookaze (227977) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937882)

What's not in the summary or TFA is that this is the first handheld to be "fully" region locked. The PSP was region locked for movies, while the DSi had region locking for the online stores.

Actually, DSi games were region locked too.

But this is the first handheld where titles bought off store shelves will all be region locked. There's been evidence for some time that Nintendo are the most anti-consumer of the three console developers, but I think this is probably the final proof.

What? This has nothing to do with being anti-consumer.
But it's very bad for the low number of consumers like me, that import games and play genres that are not popular on my territory. I can't say I'm pleased with this.
I'm used to it, but I thought Nintendo understood that it wasn't making them any good.
I hope this protection will be broken.

But given my long experience of region-locked consoles, people like me are far too small a quantity for region-locking to have any impact on sales. In entertainment at least. It's even more obvious with BRD or DVD.

Combined with the console's price-point, this really does make me wonder where Nintendo are going with this. They've put it at a price tag which, like the PSP, is going to put it out of reach of most of the playground demographic, at least until Christmas.

The launch units are obviously for enthusiasts.

And yet among non-Japanese grown-up gamers, one of the biggest uses of handhelds is for when you go travelling. I'm not going to sit at home and play on a handheld, in general, when I have proper consoles and a gaming PC in my flat. Why should I peer at a tiny screen and cramp my hands up for a handheld's controls when I could be gaming in comfort? And my commute? I suspect that like many people who live in or near a major city, my commute on public transport is just too crowded and too rattly for handheld gaming.

Clearly you're part of a tiny fraction of the people that bought a DS/DSi/DS XL:
- lots of non-japanese grownup gamers bought the DS,
- the DSi XL is made precisely for people that sit at home and play on their handheld,
- most children are not playing their DS only when they commute,
- people who commute in Japan play the DS even when it's crowded,
- ...

So basically you're not even the target for the DS from what you describe, so it's clear why you can't give a proper prevision on the success or failure of 3DS.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34938258)

So what you're saying is that because Nintendo is only now region locking their games just like everyone else has since day one that this makes them the most anti-consumer company especially in comparison to Microsoft which is the only company not to give you free internet browsing (or any internet browsing, charges you to use facebook or twitter and uses expensive non-standard accessories?

Can I have some of that crack you're smoking?

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939680)

I don't think that Nintendo really knows what they're doing with this thing... I mean, all they're doing is following the 3D gimmick and then slapping a ridiculous price on top of that.

Re:First handheld to be fully region locked (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34941162)

Agreed, the price point is quite high. I come from an upper middle class family, and never have I or my siblings ever had a Christmas gift over $100 (unless we combined it with our birthday present).

No white? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937056)

It'll be released in blue and black colors whereas previous current-gen Nintendo products have all had initial releases in white color. Is glossy white no longer the cool color?

Re:No white? (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937074)

Black handhelds are fingerprint magnets. They look ugly after much use. The white version mitigated this significantly.

Re:No white? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938378)

Nintendo released their first glossy white device back in 2006 with the DS Lite. Design moves on a bit in five years.

Region locking is archaic (4, Interesting)

neolithicau87 (1930904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937090)

Having since enjoyed the freedoms afforded to me (for now anyway) with the lack of PS3 region locking, as an Australian, I have hence decided that any systems locked will be imported from the states.

Region locking to me is a serious throwback to the early 90s where Nintendo used to manipulate publishers and price points in every region. With region locking, Nintendo can just blindly go ahead and charge me twice as much (typically new games here are upto $120AUD on PS3/360, similar on Wii) and get away with it.

It's bullshit and I refuse to play their profiteering game any longer.

Re:Region locking is archaic (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939292)

Region locking for a portable device is even more stupid. Because you'd never, say, take you hand held video game device with you when travelling from Australia to the United States on holiday.

And you'd never want to buy a new game for the flight back.

I guess you're supposed to buy a new device as well.

Re:Region locking is archaic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34939368)

I refuse to play their profiteering game any longer.

Unfortunately, many others will be playing that game in 3D.

So, any reviews give details of how it tastes? (0)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#34937560)

will be available in two flavors: Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black.

Because I want to make sure I get the one that doesn't fuck up the taste of my hamburger.

Nintendo recently warned us about 3D (1)

surzirra (1977164) | more than 3 years ago | (#34938726)

The 3DS has a "3D off" setting (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34939990)

Product not for children under the age of 6.

Unlike the Virtual Boy, the 3DS has a "3D off" setting. Besides, very few games for any console are rated EC in the ESRB system. Most are rated E (originally K-A, ages 6+) or higher.

Eye risk probably overblown (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34940862)

This looks like something that Nintendo's lawyers told them they had to do, kind of like that warning in every videogame manual that everybody ignores, which cautions that games have the potential to trigger seizures. It makes it harder for somebody to sue, claiming "Your system is the reason my kid needs glasses!"

In fact, the notion that the 3ds could harm a normal child's eyes does not make a lot of sense. There's no evidence to support it, and some evidence against [nytimes.com]

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