If we're talking sustained as in 2 Years, then I admit I'm wrong. I don't think the 3DS would have been able to hold the $250 pricepoint for 2 Years. I think it would have been fine with a cut taking it to $200 though, maybe before the Holiday push of 2012... Especially with Mario ready for it. They would still have been bringing in huge profits and I think sales would have been alright leading up to the Holiday push, staying at the front of the pack for Weekly sales.
January NPD has been suggested to be wrong. Really wrong by almost everybody. Even Pachter is calling it out. Using that to try prove a point wont work this time around. I also think 75k in Japan is pretty good considering one game worth buying has been released since December.
We might even have differing ideas on what a success would be for 2 Years at a +$200 pricepoint. Do you think that ~25 Million in 2 Years would have been good at above $200 on pure profit? I think 25 Million in 2 Years would have been doable (And good) for the 3DS if it released with the strategy I said. You probably disagree and I understand if/why you do.
The 3DS wouldn't have sold 25 million in two years at a price of $250, 20 million would already be a stretch.
Suppose the actual January numbers for the USA were 350k (I doubt you would argue that they are higher), that still isn't much; and this is the $170 3DS we are talking about. A $250 3DS would obviously sell (significantly) less.
Also, having a high profit margin on a product doesn't lead to high profits, if you have a low volume of sales. Whether the 3DS sold 10 or 20m units a year, since it's supposed to be a massmarket device, Nintendo will have assigned a marketing budget according to these expectations, so lower sales will ultimately lead to less profit per unit.
There's also the fact that the more money consumers have to spend on hardware, the less they have left over to spend on software where the real money is in the video games business; and more money that can be spent on software translates to higher sales of third party software which is something that Nintendo absolutely needs right out of the gate on their platforms, because third party confidence in general is low. Who knows, perhaps Nintendo would have been forced to drop the price of a hypothetically successful $250 3DS too, because first party games are the primary choice for consumers (like, you know, all the time here we are talking about 3D Land, Mario Kart and Zelda) and with no disposable money left, third party games wouldn't have been able to sell. So third parties would have put pressure on Nintendo to increase the installed base.
Any way you look at it, the 3DS should have never launched at a price of above $200.