Nintendo hints at 3DS pricing

Notoriously tight-lipped games firm Nintendo has hinted at the price of its new handheld 3D games console, which looks set to undercut Sony's PSP Go.

UK gadget site Electric Pig managed to corner Nintendo's UK marketing manager James Honeywell and ask him the some of the big questions we're eager for the company to answer.

Although Honeywell wouldn't reveal the specific recommended retail price of the new handheld gizmo, he did provide a decent ballpark figure.

"We haven't made any kind of announcement," said Honeywell, "but for anyone who already knows, the Nintendo DSi's available for around £129.99, and the Nintendo DSi XL with the large screens is around £159.99. So obviously it's going to fit somewhere kind of within that type of architecture."

Whichever way you read the statement, it looks as though the 3DS is going to cost well under £200, which will undercut the £225 RRP (although more usually £199) of Sony's PSP Go.

This isn't surprising when you consider that the original Nintendo DS cost less than £100, and Nintendo's handhelds have always been marketed at price-conscious gamers. The original GameBoy was much cheaper than the Sega GameGear or Atari Lynx, and the original DS was half the price of the Sony PSP.

However, the new 3DS features several architectural improvements over its predecessors, so it's good to know these aren't going to push up the price to a ridiculous level. Not only can the 3DS create a stereoscopic 3D effect without glasses, but its GPU is also much more advanced than the graphics chip of the DS. The 3DS's PICA200 GPU features programmable shaders, making it more powerful and flexible than the GPU in Nintendo's Wii console.

Honeywell wouldn't reveal any information about a release date for the new console, but he reiterated Nintendo's previous announcement, which is that the console will be available by the end of the financial year, which means before 31 March 2011.