disappointed Mario

Nintendo’s decision to slash the price of its latest handheld is fantastic news to those who were contemplating the purchase of the 3DS. A pretty significant price drop, which will see those in the U.S. save $80, makes the device very tempting. However, for those that have already made their purchase, the price cut is a little saddening.

I’m part of the seemingly small group of people who rushed out to grab a Nintendo 3DS on launch day here in the U.K. As I handed over nearly £300 (approx. $488) for the 3DS, Rayman 3D and Nintendogs + Cats (for my daughter), I was anticipating the 3DS would enjoy the same success as Nintendo’s Wii. Just like the others who have already bought the device, I certainly didn’t expect Nintendo to slash a third off its price tag less than 6 months after launch.

In a bid to appease its fans ahead of the pending price drop, Nintendo’s president and CEO Satoru Iwata has written an apology letter to early adopters of the 3DS in which he says the reduction was “necessary” and that current users may feel “betrayed.”

The letter was posted to Nintendo’s Japanese website — here’s the full translation courtesy of GameInformer:

To Those Customers Who Bought A Nintendo 3DS Before The Price Change

Greetings, everyone. This is Satoru Iwata from Nintendo.

Thank you very much for purchasing a Nintendo 3DS.

We have just announced a price drop for the Nintendo 3DS system effective on August 11 [August 12 in North America].

In the past, there have been price drops for video game systems some time after their release in order to broaden the user base further. However, never before has Nintendo chosen to issue such a dramatic price drop less than 6 months after a system release.

We are all too keenly aware that those of you who supported us by purchasing the 3DS in the beginning may feel betrayed and criticize this decision.

This unprecedented timing for a price cut is because the situation has changed greatly since we originally launched the 3DS. We decided it was necessary to take this drastic step in order to ensure that large numbers of users will continue to enjoy the 3DS in the future.

If the software creators and those on the retail side are not confident that the Nintendo 3DS is a worthy successor to the DS and will achieve a similarly broad (user) base, it will be impossible for the 3DS to gain popularity, acquire a wide range of software, and eventually create the product cycle necessary for everyone to be satisfied with the system.

Those customers who purchased the 3DS at the very beginning are extremely important to us. We know that there is nothing we can do to completely make up for the feeling that you are being punished for buying the system early. Still, we would like to offer the following as a sign of our appreciation to you.

[3DS Ambassador program details]

We feel a strong responsibility to develop the 3DS as a platform — to ensure that, in the end, everyone is satisfied; we will make every effort to do so.

Additionally, we know everyone is waiting for Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. They are scheduled for release in November and December, respectively, so we ask for your patience until then.

Thank you again, and we look forward to your continued support.

The 3DS ambassador program offers some consolation, and certainly softens the blow to early adopters, by offering 20 free games from Nintendo’s Virtual Console range. 10 of which are classic NES titles, the other 10 from the Gameboy Advance.

It’s interesting that Iwata mentions the upcoming release of Super Mario Land 3D and Mario Kart 7, as if the company is all too aware of our increasingly long wait for these popular titles.

I think the 3DS ambassador program is a suitable consolation to early adopters, and some would argue we’re lucky to get that. What do you think of Iwata’s apology letter?

[via VG24/7]