"At first we thought it would be desirable to launch the 3DS within the year, so we made our forecasts on that basis," Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said during an analysts' conference. "At this point it is clear that if we launch within the year, we will not be able to supply enough units." Nintendo's Wii was notoriously difficult to find long after its holiday season launch in November 2006.
Nintendo announced yesterday that the 3DS will launch in Japan on February 26, 2011, priced at 25,000 yen (around $299 US), then hit North America and Europe in March. It has predicted selling 4 million Nintendo 3DS hardware units by the end of March 2011.
As you'd expect, analysts including the famous/infamous Michael Pachter of investment firm Wedbush Morgan have weighed in with their opinions on Nintendo's news.
"Looking at how Nintendo does things," Pachter told Joystiq, "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.."
Pachter also predicted a rise in the standard software price. "Look at the price of Nintendo first-party games on the DS," he explained. "They all launch at $34.99 or $39.99, well above the standard $29.99 software price point. I think they'll try [the standard price] at $34.99. Who knows if they'll get it, but if the 3DS sells at $250, they'll know they've already got a wealthy consumer."
Jesse Divnich of market research company EEDAR, meanwhile, believes that the 2011 launch "has little to do with manufacturing limitations and everything to do with Nintendo's decision to ensure a strong third-party launch line-up."
"Historically, third-party launch titles have underperformed compared to their first-party counterparts, which is almost entirely due to the limited development schedules available to third-parties," he said. "By allowing additional development time through March 2011, a superior product lineup should be available at launch, something all gamers can appreciate."
Nintendo has yet to announce North American and European launch dates and prices for the 3DS. Divinch predicts it'll cost $249 to $299 while Pachter says "Nintendo will charge $250 and people will pay it."