News Article

Fils-Aime: "3DS Didn't Launch Prematurely"

Posted by Trevor Chan

Lower than expected sales because of...?

Four million 3DS consoles were shipped prior to its launch and like any other company, Nintendo was hoping every unit would be sold by the end of the fiscal year.

Missing that target by about 400,000 units, Nintendo conceded that 3DS sales had been lower than expected. Although the 3DS broke multiple sales records worldwide, gamers and potential buyers of the handheld console were put off by the pricing.

Anticipated titles and the launch of the Nintendo eShop helped flagging hardware sales, and it's these two factors that Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime feels Nintendo has finally addressed. Speaking to Kotaku, Fils-Aime spoke about the upcoming flagship titles gamers have been waiting for:

We're going to be launching Ocarina. We're going to follow with a steady drumbeat of Star Fox and Kid Icarus and two Mario titles and the Luigi title. I think we've got that issue [of limited Nintendo games and lack of network] not only identified but addressed... We've just done the first network update. We've got the eShop up and running. We've got the 3D movie service still on track for the summer. We've got Netflix still on track for the summer. So I think we're well underway to having that addressed as well...

With two such significant factors that obviously impacted sales, Fils-Aime still thought that the launch of the console took place at the right moment in time:

... with the adjustments we've made, we're going to be back with strong momentum on the 3DS... The system did not launch earlier than planned... We thought there would have been a tighter gap between launch and the first network update.


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User Comments (73)



MasterGraveheart said:

Netflix. Looking forward to it.

...just don't give me a "corrupted files" error when I leave Netflix. @.@

(I get that with my Wii)

I still wanna see the game titles come out at a bit faster rate.



Punny said:

More 3DS systems will be purchased once the holidays come. I know this thing will be able to be a "money printer," like Nintendo's other handhelds (except for the Game Boy Micro).



TKOWL said:

It looks like the 3DS is following the same exact pattern the DS launched to.



komicturtle said:

As much as I like Reggie and Nintendo- I have to say, the 3DS was... well, kinda launched pre-maturely.

For one, I would hope they don't let 3rd parties (especially specific ones) wreak havoc at launch with their subsequent systems. The last handeheld I could remember that was successful at launch was GBA. At least the DS picked up steam and hopefully, this will happen with the 3DS.

I'm confident it will



y2josh said:

Why would the North American Nintendo President bad mouth a system they are currently trying to sale? He knows the truth.



ToneDeath said:

I think it will be doing just fine by the Christmas season, especially as there'll be a much stronger bunch of games available for it than we have now (and hopefully Luigi's Mansion 2 following not long after).

Having it out already should give it the benefit of word-of-mouth, so people will already know they want one when it comes to the time they expect to be spending more money on this sort of thing.
I've already been letting most of the people I work with have a go on mine, and most say they'd like to get one of their own (it's actually quite surprising how quickly they say this, almost no sooner than you put it in their hands).



Savino said:

I am still waiting for the HUGE third-parties support that they promised... Not that I don´t like Nintendo games, I love it, but I more than a Nintendo exclusive titles system.



Raptor78 said:

I didnt find that the 3DS had been launched prematurely... however I found that it was only being supported "fully" by the third party companies rather than Nintendo and that was a bit dissapointing.
I bought both Tecmo games and the amount of DLC from them has been amazing, and not "well just unlock the data on the cart" kind of DLC, proper "taking up space on your SD card" DLC. lol Extra levels, costumes, weapons etc.
...and then there was Street Fighter with a decent online mode, those made for a good launch, but Nintendo didnt seem to make a big apearance in my oppinion at the begining. Sure they had a couple of games, but I would have expected them to really promote the 3DS caperbilities. Now that Zelda has come out their presence is much more larger, but I really thought it was a poor show (software wise) from Nintendo from the start. All I can say is thank you Capcom and Tecmo, and bring out multiplayer for Samurai Warriors nexttime .



Ecto-1 said:

I was a bit worried about the 3DS until they revealed their upcoming games coming out this holiday and early next year.

Reggie's expression in that picture looks like a perfect deer in headlights look.



Hardy83 said:

Uhhhh, yes it was premature. It was rushed. Stop laying..... Well you can't, it's your job. lol

Also if by fixing the lack of software, they have a handful of Nintendo IPs but still a barren wasteland of software selection for the summer, then yes, I guess it is fixed.

Also where's the third party support? Some Capcom, some Ubisoft. There isn't much else.

Just to be clear. I don't think the 3DS is a failure, but I sure think it's launch was.



Lobster said:

@7 I reserved Luigi's Mansion 2 at Gamestop yesterday when I picked up Zelda, and the sheet I got says 3 January for launch (at least two other games I reserved have the same date, including Animal Crossing). The date could easily change before then and of course that's the NA date anyway. But it's a date and you guys usually get games a day or two before us.



Hyperstar96 said:

We're going to follow with a steady drumbeat of Star Fox and Kid Icarus and two Mario titles and the Luigi title.

What, Luigi's Mansion 2 doesn't count as a Mario game?



alex167 said:

I´d like somebody asks Reggie if they have any plans for Latin America, because we don´t have Club Nintendo so we´ve missed all the promotions and special gifts.



kevohki said:

Bad launch lineup + too expensive = Not meeting sales expectations. Make better launch games and get better 3rd party support for your launch besides ports. It was released prematurely, you aren't fooling anyone except the people who bought Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D.



Skotski said:

They certainly don't play the same.
Hopefully this means Luigi will slowly move out of his brother's shadow.
One can only dream though.



BulbasaurusRex said:

I've got Street Fighter and Dead or Alive, and I don't see anything else interesting until Star Fox in September. At least there's also Pokémon White, the eShop games, and catch up time with my Wii to keep me company.



Skotski said:

Honestly, I love my 3DS, but I will say it definitely did launch prematurely.
If they had released the eShop and the rest on launch day, there'd be a lot less complaints.

And let's face it: If Dead or Alive Dimensions, BlazBlue Continuum Shift II, Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D, and Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D all released on launch day: No one would have even complained that day. NO ONE (except for the rabid fanboy).



Skotski said:

Oh, and to be clear: I'm not saying all those titles be moved backwards to the launch day - I'm saying that the 3DS should have been delayed until all of those released at the same time.



NintyMan said:

It's easy enough for some of you to say it was launched prematurely, but back then you wanted it out and you wanted it out now. I just wanted to get that out. But, stressing enough as it is, the sales will indeed increase later this year. It's been slow, but steady, and it'll get better from here on out.



Hardy83 said:

@22 NintyFan Most people did want it out as soon as possible... Until people learned about the browser, shop and launch game line up. At that point most people I recall on forums saying, woah woah, don't rush this.



lockelocke said:

retail line is one thing, but i think the eshop should have been up and running with a decent selection of games at launch (more than we have now, even). they want to convince us that they're taking online services seriously and turning over a new leaf, but their actions are speaking louder. while both the friend system and digital distribution service are slightly improved, i think it was time for a complete overhaul, not a slight upgrade.



Meta-Rift said:

They planned this all along. They knew the user base would skyrocket if they ported OoT.



timp29 said:

Yeah the people I've spoken to who are aware of the 3DS - the first thing they always say is 'have you got zelda?!'. OoT will shake it up a little. But I do feel they launched it prematurely. eShope should have been up and running with the full backlog of DS virtual console/ DSiWare offerings.



Bassman_Q said:

I thought the lack of the eShop at launch was pretty stupid. That, and a lack of any significant, 1st Party titles is what made the 3DS launch pretty lame.



SwerdMurd said:

sweet! New iterations of all the series we already expected. My world is blown

And yeah, at the risk of sounding like an echo:

-Price is way-ass high
-Games, thus far, are laughably poor to almost decent (barring OoT which just happened)
-Several of the selling point features not being ready for launch.

But hey--if you say it wasn't premature, it wasn't. What kind of a Nintendo fan would I be if I didn't believe you, unwavering, in every case?



kkslider5552000 said:

Actually yes it was launched prematurely. But again, this is nothing new. Ask anyone about minigame shovelware, RRODs or 599 US dollars. A system being rushed is nothing new.



crazyj2312 said:

Its incredibly difficult to explain the system to someone. Concepts like touch controls and motion can be displayed in ads . But when you have to put faith in someone's words for the main selling point, you know you're in a bind.



Kid_A said:

Now that I have Ocarina and the eShop I play my 3DS more than any other console right now



TanookiSteven said:

Nah, the 3DS didn't launch prematurely, but hey, next time, give us e-shop a little sooner, k Nintendo? Anyways, this is just the beginning, E3 has come, now let's see how much hype you slaves---er I mean fans of Nintendo can build up =P



WaveBoy said:

Ya...Launched prematurely for you guys, I opened my sucker up the day before E3 in early June. The eShop was basically available 2 days later.



Bankai said:

Reggie mate, if we're being realistic, the 3DS STILL shouldn't have launched. I love it to death, but it was way premature. The eShop still sucks for that reason.



XyVoX said:

Well as far as reasons for the 3DS not selling well for me and some friends was the reason that we prefer the XL to a 3DS because of the screen quality, we dont like the way the 3DS's screen when switched into 3D goes Dim / murky and loses brightness a common side effect/trait of most 3D TV's/Projectors. SURELY other people have noticed this?



tweet75 said:

i think a $50 price drop would help. Really I think alot of people will buy at $200



SwerdMurd said:

@kk - very true. Come to think of it, there are way more premature launches than mature launches.

/me removes the baby from his trebouchet and loads in an old lady



GreenSpleen said:

Im sure there will be a decent jump in sales this month with the E-Shop, Zelda and RE. I had way too many games downloaded on my sons DSi to just lose when trading up for a 3DS. So we waited until the file transfer was available and then bought one. We transferred 62 files over. Now all we need is a SD card menu for the 3DS... I dont understand why Nintendo gives so many channel windows with no way to fill them up...



Kimiko said:

Still waiting for good third party titles. Squeenix, Atlus, Sega, .. Where are my RPGs?
Also, why no SNES emulation? I think the DS was capable of doing that (CMIIW), but certainly the 3DS is.



Noire said:

His 3DS is probably still attached to a model, so maybe in his world the only premature launch was his own. o__O



kdognumba1 said:

Hmm, I'm not sure if some people have mentioned this or yet however I'm actually satisfied with the games I have and the system for the most part except 1 glaring giant problem. While they now have 1 global friends list, where's my ability to message my friends? It's great and all I can see them online, don't have to have 20+ friends lists, and can see what they're doing but it doesn't mean anything if I can't TALK to them.



daznsaz said:

got mine soon as it was available was a bit bored after i played most of the launch games but now i hardly put it down always got something to do with it love it



Peznaze said:

We may think they were premature, but it had to launch by the end of their fiscal year, so to Nintendo, it was, if anything, late in launching. I don't know how well their policy of letting 3rd parties lead the way worked out for them, though. At any rate, the first year of any system is always bad.



erv said:

Oh come on, I will probably end up buying a 3ds lite that can actually hold a battery charge like a system.

Or not, depending on how the competition is showing up on vita. And my cash pile after wiiU. Oh well.



Raptor78 said:

@erv The 3DS battery is fine and the system is already small enough, Nintendo have gone for an always on model so you treat it like a mobile phone. Since day one mine has never been off and I have only had a red light once. The idea is that you drop it in its cradle when your not using it around the house and that way you dont need to turn it off so that it recieves DLC when you are not using it. But seriously I take mine out and about with me all the time and the battery lasts believe me.



Burny said:

Now the big question is: When will the other network updates follow?

Nintendo can't have created a friendlist for no other purpose than.. having a friendlist? Where's online pictochat? That's a "killer app" right there. Where is voice chat? Easy communication is also a feature that ties users to their devices.

Towards the end of the year when Mario Kart hits, I hope to hear a bit about those things from Nintendo. At least it seems Nintendo is going to maintain the 3DS' OS this time. What they did with the Wii was just poor, probably due to the static way the system was built.

@erv: A light version is not what you should hold out for when it's about battery life for you. A XL version is what you need. Have a look at teardowns of 3DS systems and battery comparisons between the DSi(XL) and the 3DS! There isn't much downsizing they'll be able to do.



Wolfenstein83 said:

I think it was a lack of having a solid launch game lineup, and the fact that most people are still happy with their DS Lites and DSi's.
I plan on getting a 3DS now that there are some great games on the way. I don't know why Nintendo is so worried, the system is still brand spankin' new, they need to give it a chance, even though it didn't sell a billion units in one week or whatever.
Plus I am guessing that with such a cruddy economy lately, nobody wants to shell out the cash for a 3DS when they still have other handhelds to turn to.
I am sure that things will turn around soon though, and before you know it there will be 3DS systems selling like nobodys business.
The future is bright for the handheld, Nintendo just needs to have a little patience.



RandomMan85 said:

A console is only as strong as it's games, period. This is the reason that the 3ds hasn't sold as well. All but a few of the launch titles sucked. I must admit that GR shadow wars and Street fighter were great, although not enough to pull casual gamers as well as the hardcore gamers in. There sould be a significant increase in sales when the big name games are released. (absolutely can't put down Ocarina of time).



JimLad said:

Having even a great core lineup won't sell as many systems as the DS did.
It got to where it is by also having casual killer aps like Brain Training and Nintendogs (which was a fresh ip back then)
The Mario games always have the best chance to improve sales, namely Super Mario and Mario Kart. But I think they need something else that makes use of the systems features and makes gamers of all backgrounds go "wow I need to try that!"
Perhaps a game completely based on augmented reality? or something that uses the 3D photos you can take.



Ristar42 said:

I think its a console you have to play to really appreciate, which makes it tricky to market I suppose. Street Fighter 4 and Ridge Racer were great titles for me as I like arcade style gameplay.
I waited until I could get a bit of a better price though, no way I could afford £200 + at launch!



BalrogtheMaster said:

Well I finally got my 3DS yesterday, and I don't see what everyone was complaining about. Its a great system that got a handful of good games at launch. So what, the first party titles are garbage? As long as it launched with something good to play, I'm content

turns back on Street Fighter



MF_MaxiMillion said:

So a 3D Movie service other than Netflix comes out this Summer? I'm seeing it happen:

Netflix arrives at USA

EU doesn't and gets a "3D Movie service" at the end of the summer.

By the way, I do hope they plan to make to make more network the end of this year, I still want something nifty on the Friend Register.



arrmixer said:

I think the 3ds is a great system... would love to get one.. but in all honesty I believe at lot of consumers feel jaded buying a portable system for $250US when they would rather use that money for a console system. I personally don't need a portable gaming system... when I'm out I rarely have any down time...
If I had money to burn sure, I would buy one But to be played at home...



Token_Girl said:

The $250 price tag plus no must have launch titles for me is the biggest reason it's not in my pocket.

I see what they were hoping for though:

1) Launch with high price tag with only 3rd party games: They hoped there were enough Nintendo faithful to sell out and give them a nice quick early profit. It also helps 3rd parties get sales they wouldn't normally have. If OoT had come out on launch day, everyone would be walking out with that and not street fighter 4.

2) Rope more people in with OoT. That seems to be working, given how quickly it's selling out.

3) They should have had the eshop out at launch, though. Would have been a simple way to value-add the machine without very significantly hurting retail title sales. Luckily, there's more room for improvement with firmware updates for the 3DS than the DSi (although, that was the case with the Wii too, and the shop interface is about what it was at launch).

I think they just overestimated the amount of Nintendo faithful who would buy on launch day for $250. They're going to really need to think about that price come the holidays when Vita releases. I'm sure I'm not the only one who was planning to buy it who is now waiting for a potential price drop to compete with Sony.



Algorhythm said:

They still haven't justified the software price point of $39.99 for every game. Certainly there will be many games that will justify that price, but there will be so much shovel-ware for this platform, it is begging for a tiered price-plan for software. Nintendo should have made tiered pricing a featured of this launch, much like their "Touch Generations" brand of DS software.



3d_freak said:

I think the 3ds was premature at lauch, because really, there was no reason that all that stuff(eShop, browser etc.) wasn't released with the system.



Samholy said:

im happy by its pre-mature launch.

why? cause i had money at this time, which i spent on this console without any regret. not even a slight thing.
if it would have launch right now or a month later, money wouldnt be there, and my 3ds neither

and i actually like that theyre taking their time. quality over quantity, thats what i like.and i dont mind waiting for real games, my budget is tight until august september anyway



Tylr said:

No eShop
Very poor launch line-up
No web browser, system transfer etc.

Definantly premature.



WolfRamHeart said:

In my opinion, the 3DS was definitely launched prematurely. I used to own one myself but the system just felt like a half-assed product especially considering the hefty price, poor launch line-up of games and no eShop. It honestly doesn't feel like a true successor to the DS, which is what the 3DS is supposed to be. Zelda is going to temporarily boost system sales but it is going to take a lot more like a much needed price drop, a good selection of games and significant improvements to the eShop to help the 3DS recover.



komicturtle said:

If the 3DS does get a price drop, well, we'll see how it's going to affect Sony. If Nintendo decides to do a special premium pack-in with Mario 3DS or Mario Kart with a Flare Red 3DS for $250, then they'll rake in loads of cash and lots of people will be more willing to get the game. Or maybe they'll also do a Green 3DS with OoT and Link's Awakening and Four Swords packined in and pre-installed for about $270.

I think those are the best ways to compete with Sony most directly. There should most definitely be a reaction to the $250 Vita and Nintendo might as well do that. They tend to bring out a special console all of a sudden during the holidays.

I wonder how Sony would react to that



Traxx said:

Anyone complaining about 3DS not having good third party games is IGNORANT. Stop blahblah, and play Street Fighter, Ridge Racer, DOA, TC GR, SMB, Rayman 3D, PES2011. Those are at least good games. Stop making Nintendo consoles a failure for third party developers and buy some of these games, punks.



EliPro said:

The 3DS is going to have much better sales by the end of the year. Probably the disappointing sales where aided by everyone saying they where going to wait a while to get it. Even GameStop clerks at my city where telling people to wait.

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