If you’re looking for variety when it comes to your hardware’s color, you’re not going to find it in North America. At least, that’s what consumers are thinking when it comes down to the Nintendo 3DS.
If you go to Nintendo’s USA portal site, and find your way onto the Nintendo 3DS page, you’ll see the options are very limited for both models of the 3DS. You can only pick from three colors for the standard 3DS and three colors for the 3DS XL. (Guess that cuts down on decision making time, right?)
Hop on over to Nintendo’s Japan portal, and you’ll instantly see a difference. The first thing I noticed on the page was a special “30th Anniversary of Luigi” 3DS with colorful, illustrated silhouettes of the character scattered around the handheld in a playful manner.
As you can also see, there’s a new color, Metallic Red, as well as the Tomodachi Collection: New Life 3DS, decorated with speech-bubble silhouettes on its cover.
But wait, there’s more!
In addition, Japan has a fair number of options to choose from for both the standard 3DS and the LL model (which is Japan’s XL).
The following shows Japan’s Nintendo 3DS color variation.
The following shows Japan’s 3DS LL color variation.
So why are we so limited with options?
Well the answer is quite simple. Nintendo America President Reggie Fils-Aime says that the practices of the North American retail market are the reason. He explains that Japan tends to keep their hardware behind the counter and that makes it easier to hold more inventory. The North American market, on the other hand, is much different. Everything is all out for easy access on the shelves, and this can be a major problem when it comes to having a selection of colors.
“In our [North American] market, it’s all out there on the shelf. When you visit our retail, if I had to try to have 25 different SKUs out there, Wal-Mart would kill me. So what that means is that we have to be more selective and more knowledgeable in how we handle different SKUs.”
But don’t worry, not everything is at a loss.
A few unique hardware options have been implemented. There was the special bundle for Fire Emblem: Awakening, the special Pikachu edition, and the most recent bundle for Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
Ok, so we will still be limited in our options, for the time being, but at least we know the reason. (Now, if we can persuade the North American market to change…)