Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has defended the cost of the company's forthcoming 3DS handheld to investors, stating that the Japanese launch price was arrived at following a positive response from consumers at this year's E3 conference, where the system was unveiled.
Late last month Nintendo announced that its new handheld will release in Japan on February 26
, 2011 for •25,000 ($299), and will debut in the U.S. in March, at an as yet unknown price. There has since been widespread debate over the launch price of the handheld system; coupled with Nintendo's decision to launch in February instead of at holiday -- thus reducing its fiscal year forecast -- the publisher's stock fell 10 percent
after it made the announcement.
Nintendo investors also recently expressed concern to Iwata that the system will cost more than the company's flagship home console, the Wii.
Iwata's response, published in full on Nintendo's Japanese website
, sought to allay these concerns by claiming the price is justified as the 3DS doesn't require an external screen to play.
"Portable video game machines integrate both a gaming device and a screen. You do not need any other hardware devices to be connected in order for you to play with it," he said.
"We do not think, 'the price relationship between portable devices and home consoles must stay intact simply because it used to be that way.'"
He continued: "While it is always better for the price to be as accessible as possible, in terms of its cost, and in order to make a healthy and sustainable business for both the hardware and the software, and given the positive reactions since E3, which give us the indication on how the public are likely to appreciate the value of Nintendo 3DS if they can have hands-on experiences and, above all, by taking other factors into careful consideration, we have concluded that we should propose this price point to our consumers."
Last week Iwata stated that the price of 3DS software will likely be close to that of current Nintendo DS titles
, saying: "We don't believe that the world is in a state where high priced software will sell well."