Grabbing a 3DS on the U.S. launch day will put around $150 directly back in Nintendo's pockets, according to one analyst.
David Carey, vice president of technical intelligence for UBM TechInsights, gave Eurogamer a preliminary estimate saying the system's components cost about $101 per unit. Put in perspective, Eurogamer says that is about $15 more than the DSi.
Tom's Guide asked Nintendo to comment on the figure, but got a less than satisfying answer: "Total rumor and speculation. No comment."
Forking over two and a half Benjamins for a portable console is a tough pill to swallow, but not unheard of.
The PSP cost $249 when it launched in the U.S. in 2005, although the bundle included a memory stick, headphones, a case, and a UMD version of the Spider-Man 2 movie.
By comparison, the original DS launched in 2004 priced at $149.99, and the DS lite graced U.S. shores in 2006 and cost around $130.
Nintendo traditionally goes for a more wallet-friendly price point that probably reflects its traditional primary audience: children.
Perhaps with the breakout success of the Wii with adults and senior citizens has forced the company to reevaluate its target audience. That demographic change potentially applies with the 3DS too -- the device'swarning label says anyone under 6 shouldn't use the 3D functionality at all.
Perhaps Nintendo is hoping to target a more mature crowd with the 3DS. You know, the one that doesn't rely on allowance money or birthdays for its major purchases.
To be fair, the $250 retail price doesn't include costs for research and development, packaging, advertising, and shipping. Besides that, Nintendo unlike other hardware manufacturers (here's looking at you, Sony and Microsoft) doesn't like to sell its hardware at a loss.
If you're into numbers, Joystiq compiled a list of launch prices for portable prices and adjusted it for inflation.