News Article

Soothsayers, Begone - 3DS Software Sales Rise 89 Percent Over Last Year

Posted by Damien McFerran

Nintendo's handheld remains robust in the face of mobile competition

Like a broken record, industry experts seem to delight in telling anyone that will listen that the 3DS is doomed. The rise of mobile phone gaming on iOS and Android seems to suggest to many that traditional consoles have no real future, but this anaylsis conviently ignores the fact that smartphones and consoles offer two very different gameplay experiences. There's no reason why they can't both coexist.

Proof of that comes from figures released today by Nintendo of America. According to the firm, 3DS software sales have risen a staggering 89 percent over the same period in 2011.

Of course, some of this growth will be down to the fact that there are more 3DS consoles out there now than there was a year ago, but even so, it's the kind of jump that most hardware manufacturers dream of.

Here's the full press release:

Nintendo 3DS XL continued to impact the video game market in September as overall sales of Nintendo 3DS software increased by 89 percent from the same period a year ago. Standout titles include New Super Mario Bros. 2, which sold more than 295,000 units in its second month, as well as Mario Kart 7, Star Fox 64 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, which all saw sales increases compared to last month.

“Nintendo 3DS XL continues to galvanize our Nintendo 3DS business,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “Hardware sales are up, software sales are increasing exponentially and the attach rate is growing stronger every month. With a great slate of upcoming games, including Paper Mario: Sticker Star, which arrives exactly one month from today, we like our position heading into the crucial holiday selling season.”

From the web

User Comments (57)



Mahe said:

At the same time, combined DS/3DS software sales are down. That means the game sales of the aging DS can't keep up the lagging 3DS game sales.



Mahe said:

@HarmoKnight That is an old data point that might not be true anymore. Nintendo paraded it around to try to make the 3DS seem more successful in the beginning than it was. The DS had a really slow start because it was an unknown quantity, the 3DS has no such excuse.



Mahe said:

Also, that list of 3DS "standout titles" is really sad. When they include titles like Starfox 64 3D, you know the September 2011 software sales were really horrible. A 89 % increase on those is really not any victory in absolute numbers.



Mahe said:

@HarmoKnight There are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics. Nintendo is spinning the numbers every which way to make it look like the 3DS is doing better than it is.



NintendoMaster said:

My guess is that at Christmas time 3DSs will fly off store shelves with the strong lineup of games being released this holiday season. That is unless people would rather spend their money on Wii U.



Arcane16 said:

@NintendoMaster I agree once the holiday rolls around the 3ds will start flying off of shelves, I'm curious about wether Ps vita will rise in sales with Assassin's Creed: Liberation and L.B.P.



rayword45 said:

@Mahe Have you made a single positive comment on this site?

Not even talking strictly about Nintendo here, you've downtalked so many companies that your entire comment list is devoid of positivity outside of mobile gaming.

People are entitled to opinions, but when their opinion seems to be "fulfill these exact specifications or you suck ", then they should probably rethink their expectations.



KingDunsparce said:

I am actually planning on buying a 3DS (Probably an XL though) I sadly still haven't played OoT D: My new Wii won't let me play it even though I bought it. Can't play any GameCube games on it either because of lack of controller slots. Should I try the 3DS version or is it better on consoles?



rayword45 said:

@Gamer16 The Vita needs more good games. Seriously, it's not gonna fly off the shelves when the people with Vitas are playing mostly PSP games. The 3DS had the same problem earlier.

It's a brilliant console, with the worst line-up for almost a year I have seen on a major company console.



Hokori said:

@Mahe I don't know selling more 3DSes the DS. In the same amount of time seems like its doing well, and at that there now GAINING MONEY not losing it



Mahe said:

@rayword45 Nintendo was doing really well in the prime of DS and Wii, and my comments reflected that. Unfortunately, recently they've made a lot of bad decisions, and companies like Capcom are joining them for the ride, so I haven't had much good to say about recent developments with Nintendo or companies like Capcom. Maybe the current trouble with the 3DS is just a rough spot, maybe it's a downward spiral. It Nintendo pulls its act together, I'll have better things to say too.



Salnax said:

Don't worry about the drop in combined DS and 3DS sales. Some DS games were still pretty big back in September 2011. According to VGChartz, Pokemon Black/White and NSMB1 sold at about 50 thousand copies each, and you had new releases like Harvest Moon, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, Kirby: Mass Attack, and Solatorobo adding to those numbers. In contrast, September 2012 was a dry month for both the DS and 3DS. Seriously, were any new games released for those systems?

If you're still worried, don't be. October sales are going to spike over last year, thanks to a couple of major releases: Pokemon Black/White 2 and the first 3DS Layton anyone?



NintyMan said:

You can't argue against numbers and facts. The 3DS is in a strong position, and will be only get better with Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion this fall and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon early next year.



Kyloctopus said:

Great the 3DS is going well. But for some reason people won't shut up saying that mobile will rule all.



lanabanana said:

Imagine when Animal Crossing , Luigi's Mansion : Dark Moon, Paper Mario, & many other games come out



Chunky_Droid said:

I can agree that they should coexist

Because there are people like my friends, who only play mobile, then there are people like me, who will only ever play with a traditional handheld, and there are people like @WhiteKnight, who will play both as long as the games are good



Arianabtd said:

When I traded in my DSi two years ago, I got an IPod Touch and I was an only mobile Gamer.
But when I got my 3DS XL, I found myself not playing any games on my iPod.
I kinda missed playing on the DS. I grew up on the stuff. So I'm happy to see sales are growing for the system.



AgenTxH said:

@Mahe all that matters is that is doing better than the vita and not a whole lot of spining has to be done for that... everyone and this is in whatever field/industry... everyone that has to deal with numbers will always spin them in their favor.



Mahe said:

@AgenTxH The 3DS is getting better than its poor start, and it is getting a wider game library at last. But the 3DS will also be compared to the DS at its height, there's no avoiding that. That's what Nintendo should aim for with the 3DS, not just beating Vita, which would be a very low target.

@Big_Al1 It was data given out by Pachter, and for once, he was right. That's not to say that 3DS software sales can't get better over time, but this time is not it. September 2011 was a very bad time for 3DS, and percentage-wise growth from there is not noteworthy.



yobucky said:

I wonder how much of the increase in software sales also has to do with the fact the as yet piracy hasn't become an issue on the 3DS. The DS is bedeviled with lots of cheap flash carts and download sites. So as long as they keep things locked up tight on the 3DS then people will be forced to buy their games legally...



Ducutzu said:

There is a small number (maybe a couple hundred) very vocal people who use the comment system of various gaming outlets to just blindly repeat whatever is the most common criticism about a video game or system.

If, for example, the press writes that one game is rather short, you will immediately see hundreds of posts saying all the same thing: "There is no content!".

Whatever main criticism is identified by the press, it becomes the haters' mantra.

A year ago the 3DS sales were one such mantra. Nowdays it can't be used anymore.

Let's see what the trolls will latch onto next.



Big_Al1 said:

@Mahe: Pachter is paid to be a wet blanket, because he has to ensure his customers see a return on their investments. Right now the safest bet for a quick buck is mobile (a few months ago it was mobile and social, but social imploded). He basically has to keep the self-sustaining myth of Nintendo doom going because they are the riskiest propositon and a direct threat to his pet stocks.
It is logical that aggregate sales of DS/3DS are going down because guess what? DS is phasing out and 3DS is ramping up.



Big_Al1 said:

@Ducutzu: I know, right?
Quote sources, variables and statistic analysis used and I'll believe anything. Otherwise, I'd be careful to qoute a guy who has been caught saying half-truths and outright lies before.



3dbrains said:

I went to buy a game yesterday, peruded through about 4 game selling shops... found absolutely NOTHING I wanted to play. Tempted by lsunch title ghost recon.... but utterly dissapointed with the other options.
Their are still NO games on 3DS.



yobucky said:

@Gamesake Well true I guess but this will still give an increase in sales eiether way... especially since renting is not an option in all countries



Mahe said:

@Big_Al1 Do you really think Pachter has any actual influence at all? What he does have is access to the data that NPD doesn't provide publicly, and he can't lie about that, otherwise other people who have the data could call him out.

3DS sales have gotten better, but they are still showing the weaknesses of customer disinterest and lack of a robust game library. Singular Nintendo titles like Luigi's Mansion will not fix this. It needs the breadth of the DS game library.



GameLord08 said:

@Mahe: It takes singular games to make up a robust library: if you look at it now, we do have a sustainable blockbuster library over the entirety of the 3DS's short lifetime. Super Mario 3D Land, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Mario Kart 7, StarFox 64 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Tekken: 3D Edition, Resident Evil: Revelations, Nintendogs + Cats, Cave Story 3D, Super Street Fighter IV, Super Monkey Ball, New Super Mario Bros. 2 and quite a few others I may have left out, with more even bigger hits to come this season. Animal Crossing: Jump Out, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Professor Layton: Miracle Mask and Paper Mario: Sticker Star are all hugely anticipated games that will definitely impact 3DS sales when they arrive, and there are more to come (Fantasy Life, for one, we haven't heard much about).

The 3DS does have a pretty robust library for the amount of time it has been out and everything the system encountered, more so than people care to mention because the combined release of all these titles were consequently fractured. Some at launch, some in-between, some just now, and obviously much more coming later. I think it's unfair to be comparing it to the DS library right now, given the respective lifetimes of each system - the DS has been out for a long time, and still saw many hits come in its latest years before the 3DS and is still continuing to do so. Compared to the DS's lifetime, the 3DS is still considered to be taking its first steps right now; and even so, it's doing a good job for being out under two years and encountering an early sales crisis.

Besides, an 89% increase on 3DS figures is pretty significant, regardless of whatever the initial values were. That's almost a doubling of sales figures - that's pretty significant. I do agree though, that comparing 3DS sales to Vita sales is a dismissable target, seeing how the latter has performed up until now.



MAB said:

I pity the fool that owns a Vita maybe Pachter should have a whinge about that POS



Big_Al1 said:

@Mahe: Anyone who knows how the stock market works knows that it responds to perception. (Also I wasn' questioning his method of analysis, just his need to be a diva)
I'd look up the quote and the author, but I'm pretty bored with the discussion as all you're doing is rehashing the same argument.
It's probably a sign of the Mayan apocalypse or the NPD numbers.



Wonder_Ideal said:

Those are some good points (and games) that you bring up. If you can't find at least a few games you like out of that selection, that's rough. The DS does have an advantage over 3DS sales because it has been out for far longer.



SageWaterDragon said:

@Mahe It does. It really, really does, have an excuse. You want know why? Because for the first friggin' 4 months, all of the non-gamer masses thought it was just a DS that comes with 3D glasses and hurt's their kid's eyes, and is about $150 more expensive than the DS Lite.



moomoo said:

You guys do realize that the DS Lite is when the system hit its stride, not when it launched, right? The system was doing incredibly well from 2006-2009. I doubt the 3DS will sell in the same numbers as that system.



Mahe said:

@GameLord08 Those are some bad games, ports and rehashes for the 3DS. Compare the DS's first 18 months in Japan: games like WarioWare, Advance Wars, Kirby Canvas Course, Another Code, Stafi the Starfish, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!, Mario & Luigi 2, two Brain Training games, Jump! Superstars and so on, the list just goes on and on. And that's just Nintendo's games, there were a lot of good third party games like Trauma Center/Caduceus, Feel the Magic and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow too.

On the 3DS, there are less games, and the games are lower quality than what the DS had in its first year and a half. That's why 3DS sales are lagging, the games just suck compared to what the DS had in a similar timeframe.



Auracle said:

Have you actually tried any of those "bad games, ports, and rehashes"? Many of those games are original titles that have been met with great reviews. The games that are reboots are far superior to the originals and have still been met with acclaim.



GreenDream said:

@Mahe Perception of value of any material product is based on the human concept of relativity. As an RPG gamer, the 3DS has offered me almost nothing in software, yet I still use it everyday. I wanted a 3DS because I found the tech more interesting than the games.

I once had the chance to obtain an iPhone 4, when my family went out to buy one for each of us. I rejected it, choosing to opt for a simple cell phone instead.

I thought of the situation this way: why would I want to pay an exorbitant amount of money every month for a smartphone, when I can have everything I need with separate dedicated devices which require lesser or no subscriptions?

The elephant in the room here is that Apple and their partners are making money hand over fist from subscriptions on severely limited "data plans", and people buy into them because they don't care that they could exchange infinitely more data through other means!

Nintendo doesn't have a perfect environmental track record either, but the business culture required to produce much of the current smartphone and tablet business is ethically and morally sickening. Their money is made from sacrificing the health of their workers and their environment, who have no say in the production process.

There is more to why avoiding smartphones and tablets could be wise, other than avoiding their ridiculous "subscription or brick" policy. Just because a lot of people buy into a trend, doesn't necessarily mean it's a good thing.



Deathspawn said:

I can believe this. The Android games are cheap and free, but they lack depth. The first few levels are pretty much what the game is going to be. They make a nice pick up and play, but if you want something that will last you a while (a long while), 3DS is the better route.

You can't find Denpa Men on Android either.

@GreenDream There is always Wi-Fi and tablets. You don't have to opt into any cell phon plan, just get a phone/tablet that has Wi-Fi and you are good to go. Some even have both. Buy them from a store, not your cell phone company.



GameLord08 said:

@Mahe: I shall not agree or disagree on that comment merely based on the fact that that opinion is subjective. Many of these games were met with astounding reviews and sales in conjunction, so there is no denying that the 3DS now does have a sustainable library, origination of such be damned. As long as these so-called "bad games, ports and rehashes" are prevalently well-received, I believe that opinions on comparisons to whatever quality we may have had back then is irrelevant.

And there are other factors aside from games as to why 3DS sales are lagging; take care to remember that.



Windy said:

@GreenDream I'm in the same boat as you. As I wait for RPG's to come out. I have been very happy and surprised by The Denpa Men but still not satisfied with the gaming line-ups that Nintendo has presented us. I also worry that I'm seeing more and More android/ apple titles make their way to the 3DS. Not that I dislike Android and Apple as I have tablets for both systems and do enjoy playing playing a few online Multiplayer RPG's which Nintendo may never offer us on 3DS. People crack me up when they say Android and apple have no games with depth. If the Eshop was to go head to head with the android and apple market at this point there would 10 times more titles with depth than the Eshop has. The Eshop is getting there. But wont really impress me until a something truly ground breaking comes out. The Denpa Men was very close and is a wonderful game. But online Multiplayer would have made it just outstanding. I also wonder when nintendo will realize that Local wifi is just Lame in north America



Mahe said:

@Deathspawn No. For something that will last you a long while, the DS is still the better route than the 3DS. The 3DS needs to at least match the DS, and Gamecube sequels like Luigi's Mansion or Paper Mario aren't going to do that.



Windy said:

@Mahe I couldn't Agree with you more about the DS. The Best system ever made and still the king in my oppinion. Right now the DS is the best Deal in gaming and there are so many good games on it. I don't understand but a game that should have been released for 3DS a longtime ago is Etrian Odyssey. They were pumping them out for the DS and I just don't understand. It has been on the release list since the beginning of the 3DS. 2 to 3 years in developement? This kind of Scenario has been part of my frustrations with the 3DS. Im in a group and we still play Blue Dragon awakened Shadows, Phantasy Star Zero and we also play Heroes of Ruin. Well the Heroes of Ruin weekly event has already faltered. Everyone wants to play Blue Dragon and Phantasy Star Zero. Both DS games. 3DS is starting to feel like the Wii in way of releases

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