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Reggie Explains Why North America Lacks 3DS Colors, Models

By Kevin on Jun 18 2013 09:35 PM
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I've lost track of how many 3DS/ 3DS LL (known as 3DS XL in other regions) models Japan has been showered with over the past year or so. From the Pink X White 3DS LL announced last August, to the recently evolved Eevee-themed 3DS LL — available exclusively from participating Pokémon Centers across Japan — Japan's 3DS lineup continues to flourish. Heck, even the original Japanese 3DS model continues to receive new colors, with the Metallic Red 3DS becoming available in retail stores one week ago.

In a recent interview with IGN's Richard George, Nintendo of America president and Chief Operations Officer (COO) Reggie Fils-Aime explains why North America fans haven't received the same level of treatment when it comes to the broad array of colors and limited-edition 3DS/ 3DS XL models. It seems that Nintendo of America is headed in the right direction with their current strategy, however.

Reggie Fils-Aime said:

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It really comes down to the nuts and bolts of how we manage our SKUs at retail, and how we do it in a way that’s effective for us and effective for our business partners. You’ve visited retail in Japan. One of the key differences in Japan is that the hardware is that it’s behind the counter. It’s not out and about. So in that type of construct, you can have a lot of inventory behind the counter. It’s a lot easier to support multiple 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.

We are taking a page out of the Japanese playbook with these very limited-edition unique hardware options. We started with Fire Emblem. We did Pikachu. Now, obviously, Animal Crossing. What we’re seeing is that if we do this right, we can have a more limited quantity, have it sell through in a fairly short period of time, and use that as a way to satisfy the consumer’s desires to have a range of different SKUs and some special hardware.

So, what does everyone think? Does that help clear up the situation?

Source: IGN

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Comments: 14

I can see his point, to a certain degree. The only issue I have with his statement is I've never seen 3DS units out on a shelf where you just grab the one you want. Places like Walmart, Target, etc always have them locked up and you need to find a sales associate to get the one you want. I guess what he is referring too is shelf space at retailers, in general terms
I just took a picture so everyone could get a better perspective on how Japanese retailers stick their game hardware. This pretty much applies to every system. Basically, the shelves are lined with small boxes (or cards in some instances). Take the box to the counter and they retrieve it from a drawer behind the counter.

(click image for full view)
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Someone tell me why North America can't adopt something like this. They'd sell a hell of a lot more systems if they did. That, and we'd all be getting a more vivid and assorted lineup. According to Reggie, anyway.
I think EB Games here in Australia does a similar thing to the retailers in Japan. Not really sure, but since in the smaller stores they don't have room for a glass cabinet behind the service counter (the store I went to prior to moving a few weeks back had the counter smack dab right in the middle), the game consoles are displayed by having the boxes "gutted" and displayed with no contents on the shelves, with the consoles themselves stored in a locked room.

The supermarkets like Big W and K-Mart just have the consoles in a locked cabinet. Only the games themselves are readily accessible at any time.

It is a shame that the video games market outside of Japan is so radically different that we can't have a larger variety of 3DS models. I know a friend of mine is still looking forward to seeing a release of the orange colour that was shown off at E3 some years back, though I suppose it's unlikely he'd grab it now since he gave up and jumped on the Zelda 3DS. Personally, I'm still hopeful for the Kingdom Hearts 3DS to get released here.
This makes sense to me actually. So, I can't be upset at this reality really. Though I would really like a proper NIntendo.com Store so that they could allow for these exclusive SKU's to be obtainable directly from Nintendo instead of cluttering up the retail shelf.
Not sure I'm going to really take that as an excuse, but whatever.  It doesn't really bother me, since I already have my 3DS.
Uh, I smell something, and it isn't cookies. This sounds like a poor excuse at best. The profit margin (from what I've been told) on Nintendo systems is very small for the retailers. Have you ever noticed that Amazon doesn't actually sell them? They are sold "through" Amazon by other retailers. If Nintendo in Japan wanted to, they could easily sell 2 or 3 more different styles. Now all they do is make small batches and get rid of them quickly so they don't have to hassle with resupply. And that makes these special editions very hard to find. Basically if you don't get one the day (or at best week) it comes out, you aren't going to get one at retail price.
I'm not a collector, but I might for the first time want to get a new 3DS in the future. Perhaps even a 3DS XL (I've solely had a Cosmo Black 3DS since December 2011 and I've never had multiples of a gaming system before, but the new color and pattern options are just too good and my touch screen is scratched because I idiotically didn't get a protector for it).

I just...I don't know, I don't completely agree with his reasoning. Would retailers really be that upset if Nintendo offered certain limited edition 3DS systems through online venues only? Couldn't retailers sell vouchers, creating a new system for such items?

I understand that retail stores in the United States operate differently than such stores in Japan, but I would prefer a better solution than the current way of operating. Anyone who wants a Pikachu 3DS XL should be able to get one. Pikachus for everybody! XD

Perhaps in the future, Nintendo will develop a handheld that has an easy way to customize it, and these skins or cases or whatever will be universal and not take up too much shelf space.

But all of this is another example of capitalism's downside. The retailers telling the merchandiser that something isn't possible and the consumers dealing with that relationship.

It could all be solved with a ban on region-locking, but piracy was such an issue with the DS, that probably isn't even an option.
I don't know if that's just an excuse or what! I generally only buy one system, but the again. I have 2 different versions of the GBA and DS. I skipped the DSi completely.
I remembering buying my Game Boy color and picking out a color. It adds individuality to it. Easy to find when laid down. Then again
I think the different color system with certain games are a great idea. I would really really considering buying a Findl Fantasy version, if it existed.
If you make it and ship it. Retailers will find a way to display it. Trust me on this.
Hmmm.. Well, their excuse makes sense to me! But if they were to, say, open tons of Nintendo stores across the U.S. then everyone would be happy as can be! Well, I would anyway..
But I support Nintendo no matter what! So what if I can't have an Eevee 3ds Xl? Being able to get just a basic blue XL and play these awesome games they have been dishing out makes me happy enough!
i think the truth of this matter is what the retailers are willing to do for the gammer which in my experience is as little as they can. options are not the rule in the US, people dont wana spend time to help you in any way . just take your money and say "come again".
i think a few specialty console stores might be a good idea for "fancy" colored cases for all the game systems but in the standard retail it wont work at all... ever tried to get help at walmart? lol
"'So what that means is that we have to be more selective and more knowledgeable in how we handle different SKUs'"
Well, now that you know how things should work, can't you create new designs to have behind the counter, and give some of the typicals colours (red,black,blue) a break for a while?
Not to make you feel stupid or anything but it is believe and its true that Japan is 10 years ahead of use in technology I mean like even though most still use flip up phones the can be charged by the sun and they are even water proof (since teenagers love to use them so much they even use them in the shower!!!) So it really doesn't surprise me that Japan would have better models then us
I think it is a poor excuse to not have more colors available in NA. Gamestop does something similar to Japan, empty boxes on the shelf. Same with the games. you have to take the empty box to the counter and purchase the item. Then they go to a locked drawer and retrieve what was in that box. It wouldn't be hard for places like Walmart to do the same thing if they are worried about space. As it is, there is onlysmall amount of handheld competition going against the Nintendo hand helds. Vita is practically dead, Walmart quit selling it long ago and carry a very miniscule amount of items/specialized micro SD cards for that system. The only viable competition for the 3DS is a tablet. However most tablets won't fit in your pocket. While phones are portable, their batteries drain far more quickly with gameplay than the 3DS systems do. I strongly agree that Nintendo would sell even more 3DS game systems if they released what is available to Japan here in NA.

They had an OK selection of 7 colors when the DS Lite was released, but color options dwindled with each handheld release. DSi had 6 colors that weren't limited editions. The original 3DS started off in limited colors, but new ones were released while the starting colors were discontinued. Not a good idea in my opinion. We own 7 of the original 3DS game systems. 4 are the aqua blue color, 1 black, 1 red, and 1 midnight purple. With my new nintendo 3ds xl, only colors, red or black. I'm not fond of red, so black is what I got. I bought a majora's mask skin and applied it. The edges are still black, but it looks good with the gold skin and majora's decal. My 12 year old son is a huge Zelda fan and is jealous of my decal and system.

View PostTheXevv, on 23 May 2015 - 03:09 PM, said:

I think it is a poor excuse to not have more colors available in NA. Gamestop does something similar to Japan, empty boxes on the shelf. Same with the games. you have to take the empty box to the counter and purchase the item. Then they go to a locked drawer and retrieve what was in that box.

It really does sound like a lame excuse when you stop to think about it... especially when it's not uncommon these days to see certain products, versions of products or special bundle deals for something that are "online only" (meaning you can only buy them from a retailer's website).  I see this practice routinely on websites for companies like Walmart, GameStop, Home Depot, etc.

In other words, if Nintendo made more colors to choose from and retailers of the 3DS didn't have shelf room for all of them, companies could opt to only sell some of the colors online.  It's a system (of sorts) that's already in place and Nintendo's explanation ignores it completely.