3D is getting cheaper and Nintendo is giving away free games

For those of you that went to the downtown Los Angeles Nintendo 3DS street events or have seen the 3DS and thought it looked cool but didn’t want to spend $250 on it, there is some good news.  Nintendo of America today announced plans to drop the suggested retail price of its portable Nintendo 3DS system to $169.99. The new price, down from the suggested launch price of $249.99 is effective Aug. 12. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said, “For anyone who was on the fence about buying a Nintendo 3DS, this is a huge motivation to buy now.”  Nintendo is no doubt hoping the price drop will help the adoption rates that have been slow before Sony’s new Playstation Vita launches later this year.

The handheld market is shrinking for both companies as they now compete with smartphones and tablets but, Nintendo does have the best position due to its iconic franchises.  At some point in the near future, they may have to pull a Sega and focus on developing those properties for other platforms.  The 3DS does have the strongest software lineup of any handheld and the new price will bring the glasses-free 3D experience to many more people.  The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, launched June 19, and an upcoming Who’s Who of iconic video game franchises like Star Fox 64 3D  will arrive on Sept. 9, followed by  Super Mario 3D Land in November,  Mario Kart 7 in December and  Kid Icarus: Uprising sometime over the holiday season.

Nintendo 3DS owners can also access a wide variety of downloadable content, such as original 3D software, classic games that have been re-mastered in 3D, Game Boy and Game Boy Color games in their original 2D glory, and more than 350 Nintendo DSiWare games. In addition to games, Nintendo 3DS has been updated to include features like, the new Nintendo Video service which delivers short 3D music, comedy, animation videos and a recently added Netflix application which allows members to stream TV episodes and movies.

If you are on of those early adopters you are receiving a big “Thank You” from Nintendo in the form of free games.  The reward for getting in on the action early is 20 free downloadable games from the Nintendo eShop.  These free games will be available to anyone who owns a Nintendo 3DS system and uses a wireless broadband Internet signal to connect to the Nintendo eShop at least once before 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Aug. 11.

Starting Sept. 1, Nintendo 3DS early adopters will be able to download 10 NES Virtual Console games at no charge and before they are available in the Nintendo eShop to the general public. These games will include Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Jr., Ice Climber and The Legend of Zelda.  By the end of 2011, Nintendo will also give away 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games which will include games like  Yoshi’s Island, Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion and Mario vs. Donkey Kong.  Nintendo currently has no announced plans to release these GBA virtual games to the rest of the public.

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