Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, recently announced the company was doing something unprecedented in their history: cutting a console’s price shortly after release. Since going on sale in February, the Nintendo 3DS has seen sub-par sales figures and the company’s stock has dropped 12 percent, the largest dip in 2 years. Since the announcement of the price reduction, those who bought the new handheld system have been filling the intertubes with grumblings of betrayal, to which Iwata wants to say he’s sorry.
Posting on Nintendo’s Japanese site, Iwata has issued an open letter of apology and explanation to those who purchased a 3DS early on. In the letter, seen translated below, the Nintendo president begins by thanking those who purchased the handheld system and acknowledges the criticism the price drop has been receiving. He then goes into the reasoning behind the price cut, saying the “situation has changed greatly since we originally launched the 3DS,” and a price reduction was needed “in order to ensure that large numbers of users will continue to enjoy the 3DS in the future.”
The letter continues, explaining the basics of supply and demand by saying if the developers, publishers, and retail outlets are not “confident that the Nintendo 3DS is a worthy successor to the DS” to garner a wide user base, then 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.”
Iwata ends the letter with a peace offering in the form of the 3DS Ambassador Program, noting the fact that the program won’t “completely make up for the feeling that you are being punished for buying the system early.”
Here it is in full:
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.