Nintendo pushes past GameStop in an effort to sell cheap, used Nintendo 3DS handhelds

Nintendo 3DS XL vs original 3ds handheld gaming system

The Nintendo 3DS is on a roll. Luigi’s Mansion 2, Fire Emblem: Awakening, and killer downloadable titles like Harmoknight have made the little handheld the most consistent hitmaker of 2013 so far, a fact that seemed impossible just two years ago when Nintendo released the first wildly expensive model alongside an embarrassingly weak launch line up. When the worst game of your spring line up is Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, you know you’re doing something very right. Now, it’s possible to get one of the machines cheaper than ever. In an unusually consumer friendly move – for Nintendo at least – the company is now selling refurbished Nintendo 3DS systems directly through its website. 

Starting this month, Nintendo will sell used regular Nintendo 3DS models for $130. It’s also selling them bundled with a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for $170. Old school fans can also pick up the Nintendo DSi XL, a handsome system and the best option for playing the DS’ many 2D games due to the improved resolution, for $100 (or bundled with Mario Kart DS for $130.)

It’s not unusual for hardware makers to start selling used product themselves. Apple has been selling refurbished iPods, iPhones and iPads for years now. Sony has offered refurbished early PlayStation 3 models with backwards compatibility to players with broken systems since 2009 as well. With Nintendo aggressively promoting the Nintendo 3DS with an unusually active release schedule, it’s no wonder that it wants as many options as possible for getting the hardware into customers’ hands.

What is surprising though, is how cheap Nintendo is selling these refurbished units. A brand new Nintendo 3DS is still $170. Retailers like GameStop, meanwhile, sell refurbished units for $150. That Nintendo, a company so ruthless in its pursuit of profit that it ties all digital purchases to hardware rather than a central account system, is actually undercutting one of its primary retail partners.

There are other game retailers that sell refurbished Nintendo 3DS consoles for even cheaper than Nintendo. Best Buy, for example, has offered refurbished 3DSes for just $120. It’s still impressive that Nintendo is so aggressively pursuing Nintendo 3DS sales. It will be interesting to see if the company pursues a similar tactic to ignite Nintendo Wii U sales in the near future.