Nintendo, much to my personal excitement, is launching the New Nintendo 3DS on February 13, 2015. It's not a new handheld, but rather another update to the existing previous model, adding a bunch of new features like the C-Stick. The changes easily make it one of the best 3DS handhelds on the market. (If you want a pretty good overview of all the new features, make sure to check out my Everything You Need to Know About the New Nintendo 3DS XL article.)
During its announcement on Nintendo Direct, a curious piece of info was given regarding its lack of a power cord, or AC adapter. That's right, the New Nintendo 3DS XL will not come with the one item required to charge the device. Why would Nintendo do this? According to them, it's all about cutting costs. In an official statement given to IGN, Nintendo responded with this:
Nintendo responded to our request for comment on why it was decided to leave the charger out of the box. According to Nintendo, it was a measure designed to save costs for consumers who may already own a 3DS or DSi system: "New Nintendo 3DS XL uses the same AC adapter as any Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo DSi system. Rather than raise cost of New Nintendo 3DS XL by charging consumers for a component they may already own, we are giving them the option to only buy if they need an AC adapter."
But who is it saving money really? In their statement, they stated that it was a measure to save costs for the consumer. That's pretty curious, considering the system is still a flat price of $199.99. I have a hard time believing that had Nintendo included a charger, it would have brought the system up to $209.99.
So taking that out of the equation, let's look at another scenario. A consumer has a Nintendo 3DS, complete with a charger, but is not set on keeping that system if they get the New Nintendo 3DS. He or she is going to have a hard time selling that 3DS without the charger. That means, the consumer will now actually have to spend more than the asking price of the New 3DS in order to buy a charger. So once again, saving costs for consumers doesn't apply here.
But for the sake of argument, let's say that a consumer has a few kids, and plans on keeping the old 3DS and also buying the New 3DS. Having only one charger could also become problematic in the case of both handhelds being drained and in need of a charge. Granted, that's a very specific scenario, but it could happen. So once again, that consumer would then have to opt to buy a charger separately. And that's not even taking into the possibility that they want to buy each kid a New 3DS. Yikes!
I think it's safe to say that cutting costs for the consumer is certainly not the reason why Nintendo has opted to not include a charger with their brand new piece of hardware. But there is a much larger issue at hand, that I think is going to cause Nintendo quite a lot of headache once the system comes out; the average consumer.
The average consumer is not me, or most likely anyone reading this article. We read up on new games and new hardware before we go in and purchase them. But we're the minority. The average consumers are the parents of young kids, some teens and even adults with no connection to any children. The ones that might see a commercial on TV and think "that looks cool." The ones pestered by their 6 year old to buy them the latest in Nintendo hardware. And especially, the one not shopping at GameStop.
Gladys here most likely won't advise you about the lack of charger with that New Nintendo 3DS XL you're buying
You see, GameStop is just one of the many retailers that are bound to carry the New Nintendo 3DS XL on store shelves come release date. And I would hope that any GameStop associate will be kind enough to notify the average consumer about the lack of power cord. But this will most likely not be the case for other retailers. Stores like Target, Walmart, Kmart and others, that have cashiers completely detached from the Electronics Department — and likely have no idea what the New Nintendo 3DS even is — won't be able to advise poor parents of 5-year-old Susie that the product they're buying won't be able to charge it once the initial charge wears out.
That's where I suspect the biggest backlash will stem from. Retailers will most likely not take the system back since it had already been open, and stubborn consumers won't simply opt to pay for a charger and instead will take to Nintendo's support line. Either way, choosing to not include a charger will most likely have much more negative ramifications than Nintendo anticipated. I just hope they're ready for them.