Anyone still under the impression that Nintendo remains the dominant force in video games need only look to the latest announcement from company president Satoru Iwata.
On Thursday Iwata posted a letter to customers that announced a steep cut in the price of the portable 3DS system, from $249 to $169, and offered 20 free game downloads to people who purchased the system at the steeper price.
"I am keenly aware that we may receive criticism for having damaged the trust of those valued customers who were the first to support the Nintendo 3DS."
The cut comes on the heels of a downgraded profit forecast, which, thanks to dismal sales, showed quarterly revenue falling by about half and a loss of more than $328 million.
From the company's stateside headquarters here in Redmond, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime did his best to frame the news as an opportunity for a good deal, saying in a statement:
"For anyone who was on the fence about buying a Nintendo 3DS, this is a huge motivation to buy now. We are giving shoppers every incentive to pick up a Nintendo 3DS, from an amazing new price to a rapid-fire succession of great games."
Full disclosure: Not long ago Nintendo sent me a free 3DS to try out.
For the record, it's a lot of fun. The glasses-free 3D is pretty amazing, although after an hour or so, it can lead to a headache (fortunately, the system can switch to 2D very easily).
It's tough to say why the 3DS has had such a tough time catching on. The tsunami and nuclear catastrophe in Japan certainly didn't help. Neither does the general lack in abundance of 3DS games.
Meanwhile the much-anticipated release of Nintendo's new console, the Wii U, in 2012 is no doubt being looked to as a potential game-changer.