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Analyst: 3DS Expected To Launch In U.S. Next March
Analyst: 3DS Expected To Launch In U.S. Next March
June 17, 2010 | By Eric Caoili

June 17, 2010 | By Eric Caoili
More: Console/PC

Analyst firm Lazard Capital Markets expects that Nintendo will launch its much-anticipated 3DS system in Japan late this year and in North America next March, with a predicted price point of $249-$299.

LCM describes the Nintendo 3DS, a new DS model that displays games in 3D without requiring special glasses, as a "winner at E3", received well both by industry and trade professionals.

"We have little doubt that the 3DS will prove successful for Nintendo and quite possibly third-party software publishers, as the 3D-effects will give reason for consumers to upgrade from their current devices, as well as potentially reduce the cannibalistic impact from smartphones and tablets," says LCM analyst Colin Sebastian.

"Our conversations with developers and publishers suggest there is broad support for the 3DS," he adds. "... we believe [the Nintendo 3DS] will resonate well with consumers."

The firm's outlook for Wii wasn't as positive, as it believes that Mirosoft and Sony's own upcoming motion control setups, Kinect and Move respectively, will cut into Wii's market share. LCM points out that one shouldn't count out Nintendo's home console just yet, though.

"... high price points for Kinect and Move could be the Wiiís salvation during the upcoming holiday season," argues Sebastian. "Meanwhile, a strong slate of first-party software from Nintendo should keep core fans engaged with the platform until there is a platform refresh, as early as 2011, in our view."

The analyst says Kinect will probably launch in the $100 to $150 range, with anything above $150 unlikely considering the Wii's current price ($199) and a presumably low cost of materials for Microsoft's motion controls accessory. The platform holder is expected to ship some three million units of Kinect worldwide by the end of 2010.

Sebastian notes that Microsoft might have trouble selling Kinect to core gamers, though: "Our conversations with multiple developers and publishers at E3 suggest there is some doubt whether Kinect is suitable for core gamers, such as first-person shooters (e.g. Call of Duty), where any lag would be detrimental to game-play."

"That said, we see enormous potential for the platform as a unique and useful interface to home entertainment," he continues. "Moreover, if commercially successful, we believe that Kinect has the potential to drive accelerating growth for Xbox and increase attach rates, which are already fairly robust."

As for Sony, the analyst says its PlayStation 3 is moving increasingly to a digital entertainment hub strategy with its new PlayStation Plus service, access to movies and TV programs, and more: "While initially marketing the PS3 as a core game platform, we believe that Sony has turned a new page and now is developing a broader digital entertainment platform."

LCM also believes Activision came off as a winner for investors at E3, reaffirming long-term margin targets and providing an upbeat outlook for its key franchises. It says that Call of Duty: Black Ops, for example, is tracking ahead of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 at a similar point prior to its release.

"... a robust Blizzard pipeline, new online business models, and growth in Asia provide an opportunity for reaccelerating growth," says Sebastian. "We believe that Activision is well positioned to maintain its industry-leading margin profile with multiple opportunities for growth in coming years."

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Joseph Vasquez II
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Lazard really thinks $249-$299 for the next DS? I can't imagine Nintendo breaking the $200 barrier on a handheld. I'm betting on $199 in the US.

Fiore Iantosca
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Damn I hope it's not more than $200! Cmon Nintendo!

Groove Stomp
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I was talking about 3DS prices yesterday and my personal conclusions are that Nintendo likely wouldn't price the 3DS above the Wii. I'd seriously be surprised to see a Nintendo handheld be more expensive than their home console.

Kez Keenan
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Can't see it being more than 200. My theory is that they'll drop the ds line by 50 dollars and launch the 3ds at 199. Thoughts on kinect is that they've yet to decide on losing money on a sell but sell more or make money from the beginning but sell only to the hardcore early adopter.

I can't see either microsoft or sony getting casual consumers when they've both just made their consoles a 100 dollars more expensive.

Jeremy Reaban
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I honestly can't believe it won't be $250. I mean, they are charging $189 for the DSi LL. And the 3DS is a whole new level in terms of technology.

Even compared to the Wii, it's far, far more impressive, and that still sells for $199 (launched at $250), when it was quite primitive technologically

And it's not like it won't be sold out for a year (maybe more) at that price. Keeping it less only benefits scalpers and eBay.

Ian Uniacke
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The analysts seem to be deluding themselves comparing the cost of the peripheral to the cost of the console. To a new consumer (which is in the majority the only consumer that would be interested in Kinect) they have to buy a 360 AND the peripheral which is going to run them up 350 to 400US$, or almost double the price of a wii. Considering the games are basically the same the only justification for this to the consumer is improved graphics. I highly doubt the casual gamer will consider better graphics worth twice the price for the same experience.

I can see the Move having success because it is targetted toward the core gamer for whom the graphics will be worth the price. However in the case of Move it's even more drastic...along the lines of 400 to 500US$ just to buy in from ground floor. However since lots of core gamers have PS3 already it might be more fare to say the buy in price will be about 100 to 200US$ for those gamers so at least it has a chance.

Ian Uniacke
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NB: In my first sentence I should have said "comparing the cost of the peripheral (kinect/move) to the cost of the console (wii)."

Merc Hoffner
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As I've suggested before, the most consistent trend in the industry over the last 6 years is the pattern of industry analysts spewing continuous wrongness. To that end I can make a superior prediction: Through a process of elimination, one may determine the truth by subtracting analysts' predictions. At this time therefore, I suggest it will come out in the US first this winter, with Japan following closely, and Europe possibly slipping to March 2011. It will cost $200.