High price of Nintendo 3DS won't stunt sales

Despite its apparent unwillingness to commit to a firm UK price, Nintendo reckons the 3DS will be its biggest ever launch, surpassing even the stellar progress of the family-friendly Wii.

Pundits and retailers are currently pegging the cost of the console alone at anything between £220 and £230 which could easily rise to £250 once you add a single game, but Nintendo's big cheese in the UK, David Yarnton, reckons the wallet-worrying price tag won't put people off, according to Gamesindustry.biz.

"Indications that we've had so far from retail is that they are really happy with the price and demand indicates it will be our biggest launch in terms of hardware," Yarnton told attendees at a 3DS conference.

The US price has been set at $250 but UK retailers have been left to set pre-order prices as they see fit.

HMV was the first UK outfit to have a punt, putting up a pre-order page yesterday pegging the gadget at £229.99, closely followed by Play.com which reckons £219.99 is nearer the money.

Argos joined the fray today also offering pre-orders at 229.99 but with the added incentive of an free accessory pack which it says is worth £20, plus £60 worth of discount vouchers.

Yarnton reckons early adopters will be wiling to pay the premium for the novelty of a 3D handheld, saying: "If you look at the value proposition, there's not a 3D entertainment device on the market at that price point. Not only a device that you can play games on but as a communication device, being able to download content with some of our partners like Eurosport and Sky."

The company is planning to ship around four million units of the dual-screen device in the first year, and Yarnton is confident that supply will meet demand, avoiding the desperate shortfall which met the launch of the Wii.

"We're comfortable with the stock we've got and retailers are too. One of the things we're working with retail on - and is really important as far as we're concerned - is pre-orders with our customers so that we can make sure the stock is in the right places and we don't just go and give stock willy-nilly to the market," he said.

"We need to make sure we can satisfy that consumer demand. So pre-orders are really important and that's how we're looking to allocate second chances of stock, based on the retailer pre-orders. We're pretty confident we'll be able to guarantee whatever they pre-order."