Nintendo 3DS drops to $169 Aug 12; 20 free games for current owners

Nintendo’s handheld gaming system, the 3DS, is set to receive a price cut in the United States, dropping the system’s cost to just US$169 from the launch price of US$249. The $80 price saving will come in to effect on August 12, and other regions around the globe should also receive cuts to the 3DS’ price despite the exact values not being mentioned.

For those lucky early adopters who have purchased or will purchase a 3DS and go online to the Nintendo eShop before the price drop, Nintendo will place you into their Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program. This program will reward early 3DS buyers with 20 free downloadable games from the system’s Nintendo eShop: 10 NES Virtual Console games from September 1, followed by a further 10 exclusive Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games by the end of 2011. The full list of games is available in the press release (via Engadget).

Nintendo also notifies us of their upcoming holiday gaming line-up, which they tout as “the strongest software lineup of any video game system this holiday season.” Star Fox 64 3D is coming in first on September 9, followed by Super Mario 3D Land in November, Mario Kart 7 in December and Kid Icarus: Uprising will be coming at an unspecified date during the holiday season. The reduced price of the console should also help sales throughout the holiday period.

The Nintendo 3DS launched in the United States on March 27 and since then over 830,000 people have purchased the console in just the US region. Soon after its release it set the record for the most day-one sales of any Nintendo handheld system, however since then Nintendo has had a hard time selling a large number of units - the price cut is likely a Nintendo effort to sell more 3DSes after poor sales.

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