Nintendo 3DS turns Flame Red for the holidays, but will it put sales in the black?

The 'Flame Red' Nintendo 3DS will be available September 9 for $170, just ahead of the launch of franchise hits like Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 for the 2011 holiday season.

It may be early August but Nintendo is already prepping for the upcoming holiday season. With the Sony PlayStation Vita no longer a threat in America and the U.K. this Christmas, Nintendo needs to get the 3DS into as many hands as possible to keep the system relevant to game developers and retailers. So along with dropping the handheld console's price to $169 on August 12, Nintendo is also introducing a Flame Red 3DS to coincide with the launch of Star Fox 64 on September 9.

In response to criticism that the 3DS lacks console-moving games, Nintendo plans on launching Super Mario 3D Land in November, and Mario Kart 7 in December, as well as eight new games from Ubisoft by the end of this year. These titles are in addition to other promising titles like Cooking Mama 4, Kirby Mass Attack and the more quirky games like Pet Zombies that are also geared for this holiday.

If uptake of the 3DS is still poor despite the price drop and the launch of its first-party titles and minimal competition from other handheld consoles, then Nintendo would really be in trouble. Until then, I think the 3DS still has an opportunity to beat the chicken-and-the-egg game so hopefully the 3DS's Flame Red color will bring red hot sales, and not the color of its bottom line after this holiday season.

[Source: BusinessWire, Majesco Entertainment press releases]