Nintendo shares are dropping like an Italian plumber down a drainpipe ahead of a press conference in Japan that should reveal further details about its upcoming console, the Switch.

The success of the new device – a hybrid of a handheld and home console and slated for release in March – will be critical in Nintendo’s simultaneous battle against traditional rivals Sony and Microsoft, as well as smartphones.

But for all the hype surrounding the Switch, investors are proving harder to convince. Nintendo shares were down 2.9 per cent in mid-morning trade in Tokyo and had been off by as much as 3.9 per cent.

Shares are now down 22.8 per cent from a seven-and-a-half-year high struck in July in amid Pokémon Go fever. News since then of Nintendo’s first true smartphone game in the form of Super Mario Run and the impending release of the Switch console have been unable to push shares beyond that July high.

Today’s press conference is expected to reveal pricing details, but that information may already have leaked to the public: a listing for the Switch on Walmart’s Canadian site prices it at C$399, or about $300. That is roughly at the level some analysts think is required to make the new console competitive against incumbent devices like Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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