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Iwata: We Want 3DS Sales to Show Consoles are Here to Stay

Posted by James Newton

President comes out swinging

One of the most anticipated 3DS games is nearly here: Super Mario 3D Land releases in Japan next week, and Nintendo president Satoru Iwata expects it to ignite 3DS hardware sales.

Speaking to investors after the company's quarterly results, Iwata revealed that since the price drop the 3DS is selling at a better pace than the DS in the same period of its life, stating:

I think we can imagine large growth for the Nintendo 3DS in the year-end sales season.

How big are we talking, though? Nintendo hopes to sell a further 9.32m 3DS consoles worldwide before the end of the financial year, but Iwata has something more than figures in mind: he wants sales to show that consoles are here to stay:

Next week, after the launch of “Super Mario 3D Land,” we would like the Nintendo 3DS to become explosively widespread and sweep away some reports that game-dedicated devices are coming to an end.

Can the 3DS succeed in changing that perception in its first year? Is Super Mario 3D Land the game to show the industry that handhelds are still a viable and relevant platform? There's lots of questions, and we may never have a definitive answer, but we'll have a better idea when Nintendo releases its next financial results at the end of January.


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User Comments (31)



Corbs said:

I'm anxious to see how this portable race does once the Vita launches. Then we'll have a better idea of just how much the smartphones and other devices are having on the dedicated game systems.



NX01Trekkie1992 said:

@Corbs, well, 3DS has a bit of a headstart on the Vita (though admittedly not as good as it could be), and with the REALLY sought after 3DS titles launching just a few months before the Vita, it will widen the gap a bit more, combine that a lot of DS owners will by default go to the 3DS due to backwards compatibility, and you have a race in favour of Nintendo, but then again, anything can happen



47drift said:

@Corbs I'm thinking it'll do pretty well given the head start and cheaper price. It's one thing to have a less expensive system, it's another thing to have it out for Christmas when the competitor won't. I'm sure 3DS will be juuuuust fine.



Corbs said:

I'm not talking about Vita vs. 3DS, I'm talking about seeing how Vita does now that we've seen the 3DS struggle early on and Nintendo have to drop the price by 1/3 less than 6 months after the system's release, possibly attributed to the smartphones that people keep talking about in the arguments. Will the Vita face similar struggles early on?

And with only four top-tier first-party 3DS titles listed in Nintendo's global release schedule for 2012 so far, how long will they be able to string those four games along to keep this momentum going?



NX01Trekkie1992 said:

most likely long enough to take a good share of the market, and if they're smart and make the 3DS usable as a controller for the Wii U, that'll add extra incentive to purchase one, thus further boosting sales



DrCruse said:

Somehow I doubt that a single game is going to boost sales dramatically. The Mario formula has been beaten to death, and even though this game looks visually good, the gameplay looks bland.



Omenapoika said:

It kind of feels like 3DS is launching now, since it hasn't had any (as in not actually even one) real effort on first party games.
Let's see how this rolls out when people have a game to play with the console!



Haywired said:

I don't think dedicated handheld consoles will ever get the sort of sales that they used to because smartphones have changed the landscape. I can't see many casual gamers spending money on and carrying around a separate device when they can get quick, simple games for free or for $1 on a device that they already have. Handheld consoles will take hits, just like cameras and MP3 players have.

However I think Nintendo's handheld market will be safe because of kids. Kids aren't going to have smartphones, so Nintendo handhelds are still going to provide their portable gaming needs. Seeing as appealing to kids is something that Nintendo is very good at then there shouldn't be too much of a problem. Though this does make the whole "3D may damage kids' eyesight" risk seem even more of an odd business decision, but thankfully they seem to be playing down the 3D more and more.

Personally I would say: don't bother competing with smartphones. Get rid of all the multimedia, non-gaming guff and just make simple handheld consoles that just play games, great Nintendo games. Have the kids' market all to yourself. How many generations it would last however I don't know. Maybe eventually they would have to make an Xperia Play-style gaming phone. Who knows?

I think one-by-one the 3DS is ironing out its problems with a price-cut, huge games coming and an inevitable re-design/re-vamp to give it some focus and push it in the right direction.




@9. I remember ppl saying exactly that before Super Mario Galaxy was released.

Here' s hoping for real gaming Iwata



Kage_88 said:

@DrCruse - well, Mario Kart Wii has sold 28 million units, and New Super Mario Bros. DS & Wii have sold 26 & 22 million respectively...and I'm pretty sure those games ALSO faced the 'Mario is stale' scrutiny that is so prevalent whenever the portly plumber rears his head...

Bottom line is - Mario is good.



XCWarrior said:

Two Mario titles on 3DS and Zelda on Wii are going to be nice boosts ,but the games have to keep coming after that. There are release dates in Japan, but us Americans are waiting on a lot of games announce dates. And for crying out loud, get us some release dates for the eShop and Wii Shop - and stop giving us shovelware on there!



Tare said:

@9 It's happened plenty of times in the past.

Tetris for the gameboy
Mario 64 for the N64
Halo for the X-box
Halo 3 for the X-box 360

Once a system get's a game that sets it apart, people will buy that system.



jerryo said:

bring more games, bring better games, bring cheaper games! then you might stay



Urbanhispanic said:

As long as the software rolls out and that they are worth picking up, Nintendo will kick butt with the 3DS. They'll need all the good games they can get as the Vita is not too far away and we all know the Sony fanboys are thrilled to get PS3 ports on the go.



komicturtle said:

A new Pokemon game will surely push 3DS sales. My cousin said he'll get one when a new Pokemon game comes out because it's one he really plays on his Gameboy and DS the most. He does have an interest in other games and he's a huge fan of Star Fox and says he'd get that game too definitely. By the time he gets a 3DS, he'll have loads of titles to choose from and possibly get a revised 3DS and cheaper too.

This is an example of what some people are probably doing.

I hope the Vita gets a good start because I think both 3DS and Vita are the ones to show that dedicated handheld systems are here to stay. Both will promote tremendous competition and that means great games



motang said:

Well Mr. Iwata, you need to push hard for good games on the system! Then the public will make sure to have it stay.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@Corbs Well with the Pokemon detail in spring next year, I'd say pretty good actually. That's really all they actually need for a portable system.



TheGreenSpiny said:

I think what Nintendo understands is how much the casual market has an effect on the games business. If you go back to the original Gameboy, I'm sure there was a lot of adults that bought one just for Tetris. Those same adults will never touch a 3DS when they can buy Tetris on their smartphone these days. Just like the people who bought Wiis for Wii Sports then when out and bought Wii Fit, Just Dance, ect. I'm sure a lot of those same people bought Brawl, Mario Kart or NSMBW. There's a big reason those titles sold gazzilions. With Nintendo having this cross generational appeal allows them a greater success. They are more losing out on the general consumer. There are a lot more casual gamers out there than people realize. Gaming has become just another form of entertainment to a lot of folks in the same way that listening to music, watching TV and movies are. They'll buy a Playstation and the latest CoD & Madden every year. They are not going to buy a 3DS (or Vita) unless is has exclusive must play games or mind blowing features not seen elsewhere.



Glade said:

@9 they've been stretching Mario for over 2 decades.. It's amazing that he's not six feet tall. I'm not a huge fan of him anymore but people love him just for being Mario... So I guess Mario will always sell a nintendo console..



TheGreenSpiny said:

@25 Glade: We don't love him for being Mario, we love him for the awesome games. Every franchise gets stretched, just ask Activision and EA. If Nintendo put out their core franchises as often as they do, I'd be sick of him too.

None of those games that EA or Activision put out were any good to begin with.



timp29 said:

You can't tell me that the rising cost of living and global financial uncertainty/consumer doubt isn't having an impact on the sales of luxury items (aka handheld consoles)



MeloMan said:

I don't know any official numbers or anything, but I feel like most smartphone gaming is downloaded by casuals while portable gaming consoles are purchased mostly by hardcore gamers and casuals that want meatier experiences than what smartphones give them. Only my opinion, but I think portable gaming consoles will only have to worry once smartphones are able to match and exceed portable consoles IN EVERY WAY. I mean, it is what it is, people use smartphones for everything app and the occasional time wasting game; people get portable gaming systems for everything portable gaming and then "maybe" a touch of an app here or there, so portable consoles aren't going anywhere for a very long time in the conversation of "gaming".

Now on the point of the article, it takes more than just Mario and 1st party IPs, Iwata, it takes a whole library of diverse, quality titles, that go on to define a system. You have a legion of games that are nigh impossible to do on the smartphones and are worthwhile experiences on the 3DS (in this example), and bam, there's the answer you seek, Iwata, A 3DS with come-get-some-of-this titles on it that the smartphones can't touch. Less philosophy talk, more quality productions, Nintendo.



Bensei said:

Actually I'm betting more on Mario Kart 7. I've had to much Mario's in the last few years, and they didn't really change much.

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