Very seldom do you see a company like Nintendo drop the price of its brand new console by $80 less than 6 months after release, but with sales of the system lagging over the past few months Nintendo's taken the drastic measure.

On 27th July, Nintendo announced that 3DS will drop to $169.99 in North America, with similar price drops in other regions too, beginning 12th August. And before everyone that's already purchased a system grabs their pitchforks and torches, it should be noted that anyone who's logged onto the eShop will get 10 free NES games and 10 free Game Boy Advance games as compensation for their loyalty, not a bad deal when you consider such titles as Yoshi's Island and Metroid Fusion are among the available free games.

But now comes the question of why Nintendo, having crested a wave of video game success over the past several years, would suddenly and drastically drop the price of a system that just a few months ago it touted as likely to break even the Wii's massive sales records? In truth, there are likely a number of reasons for the price reduction, but the upcoming PlayStation Vita likely played at least a small part in the decision.

So is Nintendo really that concerned about Vita? What company wouldn't be at least a little concerned that a competitor's new handheld was about to launch with their own unit struggling sales-wise? Having said that, it doesn't seem like that was the driving force behind the price drop: that would seem to be more about trying to jump-start sales leading into the holiday shopping season and giving gamers more incentive to pick up the unit.

Now the question turns towards Sony and what this radical 3DS price drop does to the upcoming Vita release. Will the $80 difference turn gamers towards the 3DS rather than the Vita? It very well might, especially for consumers who were on the fence about which machine to pick up for Christmas. But let's face it, most gamers who are excited about PlayStation Vita weren't that concerned with the price difference to begin with. And if Sony can deliver with the rather impressive set of launch titles we took for a spin at E3, gamers will likely find little trouble ponying up the extra money for Sony's impressive new portable toy, regardless of what happens with 3DS .

In the end, it should be a lot of fun to see Nintendo and Sony go head-to-head this holiday season and watch the two compete for gamers' attention along the way. Nintendo has definitely given consumers incentive to consider their handheld and now it's going to be up to Sony to deliver a portable gaming experience at a price that will allow it to be competitive. We know we're excited about the prospect of two amazing portable game systems to choose from and we look forward to watching it all unfold in the coming months.

So what do you guys think of the Nintendo 3DS price drop and do you think it will affect you or other gamers' decision to pick up the PlayStation Vita when it launches later this year? We'd love to hear your comments on the issues.