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Nintendo 3DS price drop starts today at Walmart

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Nintendo surprised us all a few weeks ago when it announced an $80 price cut on the 3DS portable gaming device less than six months after launch. The price change officially goes into effect on August 12, though those who purchase (or purchased) the device before then will be automatically included in a rewards program bringing them 20 downloadable eShop games — 10 NES classics and 10 GBA titles — for free by the year’s end. The tradeoff, of course, is spending $250 on a device that will be selling for $170 in a matter of days.

Or right now, if you’re a Walmart customer. Reports are coming in that in-store prices have already been reduced to $170 at numerous locations, according to Joystiq. Since joining Nintendo’s “Ambassador Program” (the free game rewards thing) only requires users to sign onto the 3DS eShop prior to August 12, those who pick up a $170 device from Walmart over the next couple of days will get to enjoy the best of both worlds, a more appropriately priced 3DS and a boatload of free games.

Take note that pre-orders are open for the reduced price item on Walmart’s website as well, but those won’t ship until after the Ambassador Program deadline has passed. If this is an opportunity you want to take advantage of — those planning a holiday season purchase of the cheaper device definitely should — then you’ll have to go into a physical store. Take note though, Joystiq mentions that many of the Walmart locations called seem to have embraced the lowered price already, but not all of them. Might want to call ahead before you make that trip.

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