By now you’ve probably got a good idea of the potential that Nintendo’s upcoming 3DS has. If not, feel free to take a peek at my hands-on impressions of the device itself, and a roundup of seven of the most prominent titles hitting the platform around its launch on the 25th March.
But did you know that you could get just as much an idea of the console’s awesomeness by hearing someone from the company’s marketing department talk about it? I did, and after speaking with the rather nice marketing manager James Honeywell, you will too. Nice as he was, his PR defences were strong, and had laid out many journalists in the past.
Although I tried my best to break down that metaphorical fortress, James still managed to get a good number of expertly-sounding marketing lines in our interview. But in turn, I managed to get some rather interesting and personable answers from one of the men responsible for making the 3DS the most desirable product of 2011.
SPOnG: So, the Nintendo 3DS. We know a date - 25th March - but we’re not rock-solid on the pricing yet. HMV’s saying £230, Play’s saying £220. What’s the official number?
Well, there is no official price. Nintendo doesn’t actually set retail prices. All we do is communicate to our retail partners the cost price - it’s then up to them to determine how much they will actually go on to sell it for. So what has happened is that obviously, we’ve had a discussion with our retail partners, they’ve had that communicated, they’ve then worked out how much and that’s why you’re starting to see some of those prices for pre-orders go live. So it is now somewhere between £219 and £229.
SPOnG: You’re saying that’s a good, final number that you’re happy with?
SPOnG: Recently there’s been a bit of news about the health issues surrounding the 3DS. Has that resulted in bad publicity, and has that impacted supply to UK retailers?
When you say health..?
SPOnG: It’s been recommended that children under the age of six do not use the 3D functions of the handheld because it might cause undesirable effects on their eyes.
Ah! You’re right. Ultimately, all 3D technology has that kind of warning on it. And all Nintendo has done is just try to make sure we’re responsible and try to make sure we’re communicating that information up front. We’re suggesting that anyone under the age of six doesn’t use the 3D functionality. We’ve provided a parental lock, so that responsible parents can make sure that they can choose what’s right for their children.
It’s just something that we are aware of, and therefore we want to make sure we’re being completely above-board. You’re right, there is a warning on the packaging, again to make sure that people are aware of it. And it’s just for people to make up their own minds at the end of the day, whether or not they think it’s right for their children.
SPOnG: And how have retailers reacted to that sort of publicity? Have they been supportive? Have they cut down their shipments in response?
No, I don’t think it’s affected any form of appetite for the unit whatsoever. I don’t think we actually ever promote gaming to the under-six anyway. I know you get age ratings from the age of “3+”, but people often misunderstand what that means.
A “3+” title just means that the content within the game is suitable for anyone over that age, not that you should be playing it from the age of three. So we’re just making sure we’re being upfront. None of our retailers are having any kind of issue, and I think part of that is down to how we’ve handled this situation.