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Iwata Explains 3DS Date and Price

Find out what Nintendo's CEO had to say to investors the other day.

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata in an Iwata Asks column from earlier this year.

Financial news services like Bloomberg and Reuters reported earlier on Nintendo's reasoning behind the 3DS February 26, 2011 release date and ¥25,000 price point. The reports were from an investors Q&A held by CEO Satoru Iwata following the Nintendo Conference 2010 press briefing on Wednesday.

Nintendo has since posted a transcript of the Q&A, allowing us to get a closer look at Iwata's comments on the matter, which came in response to a two part question about why the system will be missing the busy Christmas period and what Nintendo thinks about the system being more expensive than the Wii.

First up, on the area of release time frame, Iwata said that Nintendo originally felt that a release within the year would be preferred, and set its earnings forecasts and subsequent plans based on that. "We progressed with actual development, and we're currently getting ready for mass production, but we determined that it would be difficult to ready suitable numbers for a release within the year. Additionally, regarding the level of polish for the product, we thought that by setting the release date to what was announced today we'd be able to deliver it at levels that we found satisfactory."

Iwata pointed out here that when it comes to game console business, rather than thinking just about the current fiscal year's earnings when planning a release time frame, the most important thing is to start the platform off in a healthy fashion, as it will serve as Nintendo's main business for some time. "We decided that it would be preferred to simultaneously deliver a highly polished product and to ready satisfactory quantities in order to not cause confusion in the market. It is true that this caused negative effects on this year's earnings forecasts."

Regarding price, Iwata first responded to the questioner's comparison to the Wii by saying that Nintendo does not feel it appropriate to make comparisons of the form "The price ratio between consoles and portables has been x until now, so it should remain the same for 3DS."

On the price itself, he said, "Of course, the lower the price the better. However, considering a number of factors such as materials cost, the health of the platform business, and the reaction post E3 as to how much value would be felt from the hardware once the functionality was understood, we felt that this price would be understood."

Investors seem to not be taking too highly to the timing of Nintendo's release, leading to large drops in Nintendo's stock price following the date announcement.

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