Since it launched in North America on March 27, the Nintendo 3DS has sold upwards of 830,000 units here. It's not a small number, but no one's going to argue that the release has been a blockbuster success. Blame the lack of quality launch titles and the high $250 price tag, two issues Nintendo intends to correct before the holiday season descend.
The company announced in a press release that, starting August 12, the price of a 3DS will be reduced down to $170. That's a whopping $80 off the original price, and less than six months after the hardware officially launched. With Sony's PlayStation Vita probably arriving this fall carrying its own $250 price, most will agree that the Nintendo price cut was necessary in order to keep the less powerful 3DS competitive.
Unfortunately, that still leaves 830,000 North Americans out an additional $80, just for supporting the new device and buying it early. Nintendo has a plan for them too. Anyone who owns a 3DS and accesses the 3DS eShop prior to August 11 at 11:59pm ET -- you just need to sign on and get to the main page, according to the press release -- will automatically be registered as a member of the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program.
The Ambassador Program is basically all about giving you free games, in two announced phases. The first begins on September 1, when 3DS Ambassadors will be given free download rights to 10 soon-to-be-released NES Virtual Console games, including Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong Jr, Balloon Fight, Ice Climber and The Legend of Zelda. The games won't be available to the general public until later in the year, but Ambassadors will be able to get them starting September 1.
Phase two is set to unfurl "by the end of 2011," with Ambassadors receiving free download access to 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console titles, including Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Mario Vs. Donkey Kong. Unlike the NES VC releases, "Nintendo has no plans" to sell these to the general public through the device's digital store, according to the press release.