News Article

Nintendo Expected Higher 3DS Sales

Posted by Trevor Chan

Slips from the top of the Japanese hardware chart

It's been on the Japanese market for a couple of months now and worldwide for about half that time, but the 3DS simply isn't selling as expected by Nintendo.

During Satoru Iwata's presentation at Nintendo's Financial Results Briefing, the president admitted that sales of the handheld started to slow down after the first two weeks where it had a dominant debut in the hardware chart:

The initial sales were healthy; however, the sales speed slowed down from the third week after its launch which is not what we had expected for the start-up transition... Of course, it is obvious that the great earthquake largely affected the sales, but I should not blame this situation just on the impact of the earthquake. There are other challenges that have shown up; therefore, we have revised our scenario for diffusion and are making efforts to get the popularity of Nintendo 3DS back on track for the upcoming summer season.

Not entirely happy with how the marketing of the Wii went, Iwata has expressed his desire to prevent the mistakes from continuing and to make sure the 3DS avoids the same route. As part of Nintendo's revised approach to hardware marketing, features like StreetPass will be promoted in order to let consumers know about services that they weren't otherwise aware of.

We have repeatedly mentioned the fact that you cannot comprehend the real value of the 3D images unless you view them with your own eyes... it has become clear that we need to do a lot more to convey the value to consumers... Another mission we have to tackle in order for Nintendo 3DS to spread is the fact that there are some more things you cannot value without actual experience than just glassless 3D images.

However Nintendo decides to play this, now might be a good time to take action rather than to wait it out as sales of the 3DS in Japan have recently dropped once again. The latest figures as gathered by Media Create (and shared by AndriaSang) reveals the 3DS hasn't been selling too well this past week in its homeland.

It's a battle between the PlayStation Portable and the 3DS as the two go back and forth between first and second place. The week ending 24th April saw 49,162 PSP consoles sold; with the 3DS only managing to shift 23,038 units, the PSP outsold the 3DS by more than 2:1. With the launch of Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS and Detective Conan: Aoki Houseki no Ronbukyoku, there is a total of three DS games inside the top ten software chart, the same number of PSP titles. With just a lone 3DS game remaining in the top ten by way of Pilotwings Resort, Japanese gamers don't seem to be buying enough 3DS consoles or 3DS games, for that matter.


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User Comments (75)



BlackShyGuy said:

Yikes. But once the real games like RE, KH, Kid Icarus, Zelda, and Mario start coming out, it will sell much better. (hopefully)



Philip_J_Reed said:

Yeah, I'm with Emil. The software available really has to pick up. The first wave of purchases was all die-hard Nintendoheads. That will only get you so far.

Once Mario and friends are available, and the Shop Channel opens, that's when more gamers will seriously consider a purchase. For right now, I can't blame anyone who waited. If my DSi wasn't crapping out on me, I would have waited too.



bboy2970 said:

Yep Nintendo, Japan is slowing in sales for games and systems. Just keep showering them with endless love and give the rest of the world (who buys your stuff!) the cold shoulder. I can't stand it sometimes. The less Japan buys, the more awesome stuff they get. The more we buy and the more loyal we are, the less we get and the longer we have to wait for new things.



SigourneyBeaver said:

Value? The 3D is a gimmick IMO. Until a game is released that relies on the 3D effect, it will be no more than a gimmick.



TheInstantGamer said:

I blame it on people wanting to wait for the 3DSiXL but newsflash people it's not happening. I also believe that once the software steps up everyone will want a piece of it



NintendoLee said:

I think it's four things.
1) As the InstantGamer said 3DSiXL, people think a new model will be out next year.
2) The price. The UK paid on average $350 which works out at £60 more we're paying than the states for the same unit and even then most people think their price is expensive.
3) The games. Who wants Street fighter when they have it? Who wants a ton of terrible ubisoft ports? Nintendogs? Not much quality out yet for it. The big guns are due soon.
4) "I've already got a DS" My mate said to me. The way it's been marketed is as though it's a DS with a 3D screen rather than a totally new console like DS from GBA or GBA from GB. It's not a GBC to the GB but the Advance. Market it that way.



Burning_Spear said:

Nintendo may have thought that the launch lineup was compelling, but I think many consumers didn't see enough to make it a day-one purchase. It needed one or two knockout titles that everyone wanted to play from the beginning.



advance_melee said:

There is just not really any point in rushing to buy it with the games it currently has. I'm still busy with some DSi titles that the 3ds can wait.



GamerZack87 said:

The lack of web browser and eShop probably isn't helping the 3DS' sales much either. Even I was tempted to wait until May before getting my 3DS...good thing I didn't wait though!



DrCruse said:

Although I expected this, I never would've dreamed that the PSP would be outselling the 3DS



ninja_tom said:

If SFIV wasn't available for it, I wouldn't have a 3DS. Games sell consoles - fact.



ninja_tom said:

@11, agreed, Nintendo have sort of screwed up the release of the 3DS by not dropping the console with online store and a AAA cartridge such as Mario Kart 3D



Token_Girl said:

I think there is a big issue with them putting the "DS" name on it, in that I think a lot of people really do think it's a DS with a 3D screen as opposed to the next generation in handhelds. I think Iwata is right in that they really have to advertise other features to show that even without the 3D, this is a device worth picking up. The 3D is just a really cool feature.

Also, it's difficult to advertise things like Streetpass before there's much market saturation. I don't know anyone in real life who has one yet, so I don't see that feature being very useful now. Plus, if there aren't any games I'm interested in that are out now that use it, well, it doesn't matter. As for online connectivity...well...they'd have to implement that first...



Corbs said:

With NGP coming later this year, I think Nintendo knows they've got to get the big first-party stuff coming to the 3DS fairly regularly. And I think they will.



Burning_Spear said:

I don't know about loving it. Like someone else said, I need to see a game that integrates 3D as a play element, not just an added perspective.



LztheQuack said:

@Corbs: Well it all depends on how Sony solves their PSN problems. I don't know if that'll affect NGP sales any



Odnetnin said:

They should've seen it coming. I'm sure they could've got something better than Steel Diver or Nintendogs out for launch. Pokemon 3D or New Super Mario Bros. 3D, anyone?



Hokori said:

3DS will get up there in a few weeks, after all the PSP is way cheaper and has MH. when 3DS gets Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Pokémon, and even Kid Icarus it will be awesome. In the mean time at least Japan has mask of Miracle



Snipes said:

The issue is they are nearly marketing it as a DS sequel. 90% of my community sees it as that and says they already have a DS/Lite/I/XL.



Molotov said:

They Kinda Deserve It Though. Shouldn't Have Put The Prices That High. Also, I'm Waiting For RE Revelations To Come Out Before I Even Get Myself One Of Em. I Hope The 3DS Slim Has Come Out By Then (With An All New Non Ds Design Yay)



SigourneyBeaver said:

I'm loving it as the most powerful handheld available, regardless of its position in the Nintendo handheld lineage.



MitchVogel said:

They really shot themselves in the foot when they named it 3DS. Casuals won't buy it because they'll think it's just another DS and the DS is the best selling handheld ever so everyone has one. They also will get mad at Nintendo when they buy a 3DS game and find that it doesn't fit in their DS.



matsuken717 said:

call me crazy but I'm waiting for a purple or green 3ds to come out.
Maybe it will be worth buying by then.



eirikr said:

The real problem of Nintendo is the games they launched... I believe the 3DS will be very successful as de DS is, but Nintendo must be very careful with the new titles. The 3DS has everything to outsell original DS and psp.



Ryno said:

Because it is another video game device that costs $250 plus addiontal $ for games all the while the World's economy is going straight into the crapper. Buy food, gold, and silver not worthless video game systems! OK I am done, I will get off my soapbox now.



triforceofcourage said:

@32 So true... So true...
People don't know what it can do. Only 1/3rd of my friends even know it exists. And all of them think it's just a ds in 3D so they don't want to buy it. They don't understand all the new features and capabilities. Because Nintendo should have been getting word around better. Once my friends go to gamestop to buy something for their wii/ds/360 and see the 3DS on display, I can see them getting the whole "features > Wii" thing. It's up to us to preach to the un-notified!



grumblebuzzz said:

Most of it is price. I'm a die hard Nintendo fan and even I thought it was a little too pricey. Your average casual gamer isn't going to pay over 200 bucks for a handheld device that only plays games.



Merfairy said:

3D adds alot more realism to gameplay. I mean, if you move the 3D slider down and then move it back up you're probably going to prefer the 3D version. I know it doesn't add much to gameplay but it's defiantly more attractive. Kind of like SD to HD, no one is going to say "ugh! Only standard definition!?! I can't play this!" but I think most people do like HD better. Oh, and more on topic I don't believe the 3DS had enough advertisement prior to launch, so as more people know about it and as the best games come out it should pick up steam.



XyVoX said:

Personally i think the Top screen quality is CRAP when you switch to 3D the screen gets noticeably dimmer "A COMMON FAULT / SIDE EFFECT OF MOST 3D TV'S / PROJECTORS, which for me leaves me looking at a muted coloured screen which is unacceptable and unpleasant, also the screens to small after preferring the XL's size.



default12345 said:

@20 the 3D effect will never become a mandatory play element, the moment that happens those who cannot see the 3D effect cannot play the game - the Nintendo 3DS is not all about 3D, believe it or not

@30 oh yes!



Moco_Loco said:

1. No compelling software. This is probably the biggest issue.
2. Poor marketing. I don't know who they've hired that's so much better, but there was much higher awareness of the Wii when it came out. Where are the celebrities that Nintendo has been using for the past few years? Heck, where are the commercials? I've only seen one or two on live TV. By contrast, I saw Wii commercials several times an hour when it first came out.
3. High price. Nintendo knows perfectly well they could charge at least $50 less and still make a profit. The economy sucks and people can now get a PSP at the same price as a DS Lite.
4. Adjustable demo units would help. You don't exactly leave with a positive impression when you have to stand in an uncomfortable position to see 3D. It would also help if the 3DS could push more polygons so you don't feel like you're flying over a children's pop-up book full of flat trees. Just saying.
5. They shipped it before it was ready. The eShip and online features should have been available from day one.

I still think the 3DS is pretty cool, but the launch has been weak. Maybe they could give out $50 coupons for a month to spur sales.



Pj1 said:

It's such a good handheld but the launch games were disapointing, I think Street Fighter was / is best of the bunch. Zelda and Mario will be Nintendo trump cards and it will help sell more 3DS's, I wonder if the 3DS is too expensive? Oh and we need the shop.......



Lotice-Paladin said:

I agree with #5 but I also agree with #1.

I can see a happy middle'll sell well...but not clearly as well as the DS has...



Slapshot said:

I'm with Corbie on this one!

I'm still taken back that Nintendo has chosen to reveal another home console when the 3DS doesn't even have a stable footing yet.

A 3DS Mario game will solve Everything though!



timp29 said:

Amusing. I'm pretty sure all 3DS's in Brisbane where I am are completely sold out for the next 2-3 weeks until the next shipment arrives.

But pretty much what has been said already.
i) No crap games
ii) No advertising + how can you advertise a 3d product without a 3d advertising medium? Nintendo needs ads for 3ds at the start of every 3d movie in the cinemas



k8sMum said:

for those of us with families and don't have parents/whatever buying the units for us, it is simply economics. food, housing, utilities must come first. i'll be playing my DSi until i can justify the price of the 3DS, which will not be soon. it could be the greatest, coolest thing since sliced bread, but it is expensive. the current games are ,imho, meh worthy...and promises of what's down the line are bad marketing in this economy.



Kirk said:

I'm telling ya,

When it comes to the 3DS I think Nintendo might be in big trouble.

Me personally, there is absolutely not way I will buy it because I simply cannot justify paying just under £200 for the system and then £30 or more for every new game (not sure of the exact pricing), especially when I could get between 6 and 50 games for my iPhone 4 for that same £30 (depending on the price of the games, and it's most like moving towards the higher number of games since the vast majority are only 60p), and many of them are as good as anything I'm going to get on 3DS. I could get Dead Space, Real Racing, Angry Birds, Cut The Rope, Lane Splitter, Infinity Blade, Tiny Wings, Doodle Jump, Bejeweled 2, Tetris, Fruit Ninja and more for less than the price of a single 3DS game.

I'm willing to bet there are now millions of people like me who might have previously thought about buying a dedicated hand-held like the 3DS a generation ago but simply won't consider it a good value proposition in the current market.



zionich said:

Honestly, Nintendo hyped the remake of OoT way to early for it not to be a release game. That would have been my priority #1. As many people have stated, all consoles, no matter who makes it, all comes down to the games.

Now as far as 3D being a gimmick, that also comes down to the games. Street Fighter, it doesnt effect gameplay. Pilot Wings, I feel it does effect the game play for judging distances. To many developers are to busy trying to cash in quick, instead of making quality games. I even feel Nintendo tried this on there launch games. Yes, I know all the excuses, time, money, and economy that the developers give, but you main stream gamers will always see through this B.S.



Marioman64 said:

i think its because people are thinking to literally. I'll be playing my 3DS and someone will say "What's so diffeent about the 3DS? doesn't the DSi and DSLite have 3D games?"
then I hand it to them and they are like "Oh it's not just 3D it's 3D"

we seriously need different definitions for pop-out 3d and gaming in a 3-dimensional plane



RayRayXD said:

I think that it's not just big popular games that the 3ds needs, but it needs more features, and broadcast its other features more. Yeah, it has 3D which is HUGE, but they have 3D tvs now, and unless you are a hardcore handheld gamer, why play 3D games on a tiny screen when you can play on a full-blown HD 3D tv screen? I have a 3Ds and it's awesome, but I can understand why it hasn't been the best selling yet. I also think that having a functioning internet browser at launch because if you have an option for an internet connection you just gotta have an internet browser, not just one in some update later on.



BulbasaurusRex said:

Could it be that the 3DS isn't meeting early sales expectations because the launch lineup is terrible? I myself have no interest in any launch games outside of the one I got, Super Street Fighter 4. Sales should pick up at least partially once DoA: Dimensions and LoZ: Ocarina of Time 3D come out.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@54 No current console supports 3D. The 3DS has a monopoly on that feature for quite a while, plus there's the thing about not needing special glasses.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@51 Most smartphone games have little depth compared to games on dedicated gaming handhelds, and button controls are a lot better for a large majority of games. It's not that big of an issue.



outrun2sp said:

3DS is not going to do well in the long run I predict and im certainly not getting one. I think the processing power of the psp2 is going to blow it away (sorry for saying that here). The game that they are bigging up mostly is a remake of an N64 game........

3DS should keep nintendo heads happy (who've parted with cash again for nintendo) but secretly everyone must be feeling this is an accident waiting to happen. I mean look at the battery life etc.
Even the kids these days want iphones / ipads.

While I still like my WII and Snes, the one thing thats better about sega fans as a pose to nintendos is that nintendo fans never ever will admit when nintendo has made a mistake yet the sega fans will definately stand up and admit where they have gone wrong.



daznsaz said:

think its just selling to long time gamers at mo they will get all kind of ads going for the rest of the crowd at some point just having to be patient at mo gamewise think pacman is my next new one then doa before we know it we have decent big name games and eshop etc



jerryo said:

games games games. i like many of the the launch games i already have bought 6, but these are not what the mainstream audience wants. they want mario they want zelda.. I think nintendo tried to give the launch to 3rd parties, to change the impression that it doesn't allow them to grow, but 3rd parties failed nintendo. only a few showed up with strong content. Level 5, Capcom, Ubisoft, and somehow Konami. summer is coming. After E3 nintendo is again going to top the charts for good. If even that doesn't help, oh well. then has really hit the fan

@41 i keep saying this.. people don't believe me either



jerryo said:

@20. 3D is a visual element.

the only thing you can do about it is use it to display inventory elements and a world in 3D, use it in a way Layton does. 3DS has a large amount of hardware features other than 3D dispaly that can be incorporated into gameplay. But 3D is just graphics.

how would you turn it into a gameplay element?



BXXL said:

A few years ago, i was very excited when the DS and Wii were launched, but now, i just don't care anymore for any new Nintendo console...

The reason? I've been really disappointed by the Wii and DS libraries (both retail and downloadable): lot of potential in the new hardware ideas, but at the end, only a few real masterpieces, really worth the price, and even the other "good" games i've enjoyed seem way too expensive in retrospect...

Over the last 20 years, i've given Nintendo thousands and thousands of euros, but now i don't want to spend even more money that way: gaming has became a kind of silly luxury, and it's time for that "business model" to die... most games are worth 20 to 30 euros (and 10 euros max by download), and we should be able to find them even cheaper after a year or two on the market, just like any CD or DVD...

I hope the competition will force Nintendo to lower the prices of both their softwares and hardwares: till then, i'll see what the competition has to offer, and play the best games i can, at the best price possible...



evimonkey953 said:

Yikes! this will be a problem if the president of the corporation isn't happy then that means we're not happy they might recall the product and leave people who dont have one in the dust



Dodger said:

I do see so many people here deciding to wait because the launch titles were lame and didn't have a mario or zelda in them. That's gotta cost the Big N some money.

But if you are looking at Japanese sales, has everybody forgotten they had an earthquake and tsunami already? Even if you didn't have any damage to your family or property (which it's likely everybody had something damaged, it's an island country) then a good portion of people probably would rather help their neighbors and their country rebuild then buy a new gaming system. At least that's what I would do if I were in their shoes. Maybe they see it differently.

As far as 3D as a play element, I don't quite know what is meant by that but I know that the 3D affect is really helpful and could certainly take some genres of games where they have never been before if developers try. You really can't explain how helpful it is to be able to see where your character is without trying it for yourself.



Dr_Salvador said:

I bought a 3DS at launch, and I was so exited to finally get it! But I haven´t played more that half an hour... The reason is like many have already said: there is no great games out yet!
I´m waiting for Resident Evil: Mercenaries, Paper Mario and more... But until then my 3DS will be covered in dust...
Games sells consoles!



GamersCorner said:

Most people still haven't accepted 3D technology in general yet. It may be that the 3DS is just a little ahead of its time.



outrun2sp said:

Or maybe most people think of 3d as a gimmick phase that will not be around forever. It died once and I dont think it will be the standard in 2 years time.



Demonio said:

I like how so many people are like, "Well the problem is..."
The problem is that Nintendo have done some pretty poor decision making in general and that pretty much most of the issues that have been brought up are all valid points.

I was about to draw out a huge rand of frustration, but that's a good half hour I could spend doing something more worthwhile.
Nintendo, sometimes you make it hard for a fanboy like me to love you.



alLabouTandroiD said:

I'd like to add one more thing apart from all the valid points mentioned before.
It could be that the warning to just use 2D for kids under 6 years and all the talk about 3D permanently damaging your eyesight might be a factor too.



rjejr said:

All of the above. No games, wrong name or price point (either a $199 3DS or a $249 completely new and different), iPod/Android competition, no online or eShop means the system isn't even finished or functional yet. And I think the DS Lite being such an improvement over the "phat" means some people may wait for 2nd generation.

One point I disagree with is low Japan sales being tsunami related. It makes sense that they would be, BUT PSP sold 49,162 to 3DS 29,038. That kind of blows that theory out of the water.



motang said:

Might have to do with the lackluster launch titles (other the a couple of them).



tweet75 said:

only the hardcore got it early.

I have heard many say they arent getting it beacause.
1. the price (especially because of an all around near recession)
2. they expect to get a better model in a year at a lower price
3. the games at average selection at best
4. complaints of headaches with the 3d

all these factors go into why sales were not up to expectations



HanuKwanzMasBif said:

I've been trying to pennypinch as much as possible and it'll probably be a few years before I can afford it. And then the new home console will come around with at least a 25 dollar higher price tag!



HanuKwanzMasBif said:

@outrun2sp Actually, it's been going out and in for about 60 years now. It was "in" in the 1950's, then mostly out in the 60's, then in in the late 70's, out in the late 80's and early 90's, then in in the late 90's and early 2000's, then back in around late 2008. I think it might stick around this time though: two moderately successful video game consoles (PS3 and 3DS) are doing it now, there are 3DTV's, a new 3D tablet computer, 3D movies up the censored and new methods of 3D.



SteveW said:

The screens are too small, it feels like I am sacrificing something by playing these great games on such small screens, If they don't release an XL version I might have to do something crazy like buy an iPad... no joystick but at least I could see it better.



ThumperUK said:

We need more titles, including all the Nintendo big-hitters ASAP.

Also, launch some 3D movies (preferably incl. Avatar ) on SD Cards or downloadable for the 3DS and watch sales rocket. Not just clips of movies, full ones!



JustanotherGamer said:

The 3DS currently has one 1 game worth buying Super Street fighter 4 3D edition. No wonder it has been outsold twice by the PSP a system that has been out since March 2005.

$290.00 for the System and 1 game before tax. (Many people have already played Super Street fighter 4 on other platforms)
PSP 3000 is $129.99 or $149.99 with a pack in game.

When 3DS has more games sales should improve.

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