Nintendo has revealed the launch price of the Nintendo 3DS, the company's priciest portable yet at $249.99 USD. How does Nintendo's stereoscopic 3D gaming handheld compare to the competition and its ancestors?
The cost of buying into Nintendo's latest and greatest portable gaming systems has been on the rise since the launch of the DS Lite in 2006. The company released a smaller, lighter version of its wildly popular Nintendo DS system at a price lower than the original version. From then on, there was nowhere to go but up.
Let's break it down, chart-style.
The Game Boy was Nintendo's most budget-friendly release, a platform that also included a free game, Tetris, in the package. Adjusted for inflation, the Game Boy would cost about $158 USD in 2010 dollars (based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index inflation adjustment calculator).
The Game Boy Advance, released in 2001 for $99.99 USD would set Nintendo fans back about $123 USD today. The GBA SP also launched at the same price in 2003.
One Nintendo platform not on this list is the doomed Virtual Boy, which launched in 1995 for about $180 USD. It would cost about as much as a Nintendo 3DS in 2010 dollars.
How does Nintendo's new 3DS fare against the competition in terms of handheld pricing?
It's at the higher end of the scale, matching the price point of the PSP and PSPgo's respective launch prices in 2005 and 2009. (Adjusted for inflation, a 2005 PSP would cost about $280 today.) Given the PSP's relative success—especially compared to the rest of the failed handhelds on this chart—$250 USD seems like a price point that could work for Nintendo.
It's cheaper than an N-Gage at least and the inflation adjusted price of an Atari Lynx, which would set you back $334 USD today. Yowch!