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23/03/2011 Specialist Frugal Gamer Guide
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The best 3DS deal for you isn't always the cheapest 3DS price. You need to consider all the angles to come away with a purchase that is really suites your needs.

Fig 1. Best UK 3DS Price is currently 170 on Amazon.

Like many decisions we make at retail, the best way to get value for money is to do your research first. To that end I've spent the last few weeks investigating the best value for money and cheapest ways to buy a 3DS.

Best 3DS Price

Although the 3DS is essentially an elastic product that can be manufactured to meet demand, at launch the demand will outstrip supply and it will become non-elastic. This means that to find a cheap or best price is difficult to say the least.

Most shops and online stores will look to match each other's prices. The best way to achieve the cheapest deal for your money is to ensure you are not distracted by bundles that have you buying games you don't really want. It is better to pay a little more for the 3DS and one game you will really enjoy, rather than paying more for a bigger package.

Fig 2. Best US 3DS Price currently $199 on Amazon.

The best UK 3DS prices I have found that don't tie you into bundle deal, and are from retailers who can cope with the volume of orders are as follows:

3DS Quick Delivery

One final thing to check once you have made your order is that the Nintendo 3DS will be shipped for launch day, (or within a strict time frame thereafter). Some retailers can take orders that they can't immediately fulfil so check that your order is assigned to an actual unit they have in stock.

Also, when ordering accessories or games that aren't available immediately at lunch, you need to check that the retailer will split your delivery and send you the 3DS console as soon as it is in. Amazon can sometimes not split the order unless you explicitly tell them too. Avoid being disappointed on launch day and double check all the order dates.

Best 3DS Region

Another key decision, and one that will affect price, is which region you want to buy your 3DS from. Because this is the first Nintendo handheld to be region locked (you can only play games from the country you bought it from) the territory you buy it from determines which games you can play - although you can play online games against players from any region.

The Japan 3DS is available now, while the 3DS will be out on the 25th March in the UK and the 27th March in the US. By researching the pattern of game releases and prices in each region I suggest the following considerations.

The UK region has the advantage of big price reductions when games are released although they sometimes take longer to come out. The US offers the largest number of games on the platform although prices are initially higher. Japan falls somewhere between the other two but offers a lot more niche and experimental games.

If you do import a 3DS you need to take into account shipping, import tax and the ongoing cost of importing games from that region for the life of the console - although the eShop will avoid some of that expense.

Best 3DS Games

Launch day games are notoriously bad at under-delivering because they have been rushed to meet the release date. The games that offer the best value are those that have been heavily invested in by the platform holder (Nintendo in this case) or games that existed on other platforms and have been extended for release on the new technology.

The 3DS is also unusual as it comes with a set of games already included on the device itself. These will entertain players for a good few hours in and of themselves. AR Games, Mii Plaza and Mii Maker create a variety of novel ways to play and interact with the new system. This means you can pick just the cream of the launch titles to complement these free games:


Perhaps the only way to get the best 3DS price in consumer electronics is to wait until they are much older. Buying second hand games is always cheaper and hardware will inevitably be reduced in price after a few years.

If you are an early adopter and really can't wait, then the criteria I've laid out here should go some way to ensuring that you avoid falling into too many launch day pit falls and come away with a 3DS deal that really is best for you.

Written by Jan Brookes

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Jan Brookes writes the Frugal Gamer column.

"Welcome to my buyer's guide video game reviews. As well as giving you the low down on the best Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS lite and PSP game I also offer well research alternatives that are Similar, Easier and Harder than the one we are reviewing."

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