Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Nintendo Courts Children with Low-Cost Game Device

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Nintendo Courts Children with Low-Cost Game Device

Article excerpt

A new portable gaming system, the Nintendo 2DS, is a hedge against a future filled with tablet computers made by companies like Apple and Samsung.

Nintendo's portable video game device, the 3DS, is selling well. But a plan to court children has the Japanese company cutting prices.

On Wednesday, Nintendo introduced a new portable gaming system, the Nintendo 2DS. The device will cost $130 in the United States, or $40 less than its 3DS sibling, when it is released Oct. 12. It is capable of running all the games made for the 3DS, but without 3-D effects.

For Nintendo, the price drop is a hedge against a future filled with tablet computers made by companies like Amazon.com, Apple and Samsung.

"Forty bucks may not be a lot, but for families it's a lot," Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, said in an interview. Mr. Fils-Aime said the 2DS was intended for the "entry gamer," especially in families with multiple children. Nintendo is pairing the device's release with the introduction of two new Pokemon games, a series that is popular among children.

The growing popularity of tablets among adults means that children are increasingly exposed to tablets at an early age. About one-third of American adults own tablets. But that figure rises to about 50 percent among parents with children living at home, according to Pew Internet Research. In another survey, IDC, a research firm, polled gamers who were considering buying a tablet or a dedicated game device. About 60 percent of respondents said they were leaning toward buying an iPad, an iPod Touch or an Android tablet, IDC said.

Younger gamers are drawn to tablets as well. A large number of the respondents to the IDC survey who said they were planning to buy a tablet or an iPod Touch were younger than 24, a demographic group that has historically been strong for Nintendo, said Lewis Ward, an IDC analyst that focuses on the game industry.

"The real concern for Nintendo and Sony is what's going on with the next generation of gamers," Mr. Ward said. "That's an existential threat if the younger generation isn't buying it at the same level as the customer base that has known you for a decade has. …

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