Michael Pachter recently shared with us his insight on yesterday's pricing and release date announcement for the Nintendo 3DS. He predicts that the 25,000 yen ($299) price point for the Japanese launch of the handheld will depreciate somewhat as it travels to Western markets, arriving in the U.S. for $250, Europe for €250 and the U.K. for £200. And although Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime stated the 3DS would "launch in all of our major markets by March 31, 2011," Pachter foresees an even later arrival in the West.
"Looking at how Nintendo does things," Pachter said, "if you're launching February 26 in Japan, and their earnings reports say before the end of the fiscal year in U.S. and Europe -- is there any prayer, even a 1 percent chance that they'll launch a week later in the U.S., March 5? No freaking way. It's not even remotely possible they're launching first half of March. I'm betting it gets delayed until April in Europe and U.S.."
Some analysts have balked at the fairly high Japanese launch price of the 3DS. Though Pachter admits the launch price is "higher than what's customary" for the handheld market, he said the market will bear the toll -- a lesson hard learned by Nintendo when it launched its latest home console.
"They screwed up on the Wii. It was sold out for two full years! You just couldn't get one," Pachter said. "What was the point? They should have sold it for $300 at launch, and made another $50 for every Wii sold during that period. It sold so competitively in the first few weeks that it was going for $1,000 on eBay -- and they absolutely don't want to see the 3DS on eBay."