Retailers in the U.K. say a tabloid report that the Nintendo 3DS is being hit with "record return levels" after making thousands of gamers dizzy and sick with headaches is simply not true.
"Furious gamers made ill by Nintendo's new 3DS console have been refused full refunds!" So blares the headline of today's article in The Sun about the record levels of returns plaguing the Nintendo 3DS, driven largely by the fact that the handheld's unique 3D capabilities are making literally thousands of gamers sick. 27-year-old Sundeep Tailor, for instance, became ill after playing for just three minutes - three minutes! - with his young son, but when he tried to return the system, Game offered him only £176.99 ($288), £30 ($48) less than he paid for it.
"Although we've not been able to offer a full refund to those complaining of feeling ill, we are offering alternative options to help those who have been affected in this way," a Game rep said. The company is offering an in-store credit of £190 ($309) or £180 ($293) cash for 3DS rigs traded in before April 25. But are people really lining up to get their money back?
Well, no. "Recent reports are incorrect," Nintendo told Eurogamer. "The number of calls and emails with queries on Nintendo 3DS is in fact well below the rate experienced during past hardware launches and having spoken with our retail partners there are only a handful of people who have actually gone into stores to request a refund."
Retailers are expressing similar sentiments. Game issued a statement saying, "We've had less than five people complain that they feel sick and want to return [the system]," while fellow retailer Currys said, "We have not noticed a big increase in returns."
The Sun's report apparently conflates overall trade-in numbers with returns due to illness, according to HMV, which naturally paints a misleading picture. "We would like to make clear that we are not aware of any manufacturing fault with the 3DS console - which we have seen huge demand for, and that we have not issued any refunds for it and nor are we doing," a company rep said. "A number of customers are, however, choosing to take us up on our pre-played games offer - which is a totally different thing, where they can trade-in previously purchased games products, including the 3DS if they so choose, against any other products that we stock in-store up to a pre-determined set value"
Nintendo did offer some advice for parents and gamers concerned about potential side effects: try before you buy. "Our advice for anyone concerned about potential side-effects or for anyone who just wants to take a look at a Nintendo 3DS is to ask to see and play one before they buy," a rep said. "Most stores will only be too happy to oblige."
The U.K. launch of the 3DS was a big success for Nintendo, hitting 113,000 units over its first weekend.