News Article

Lifetime Sales for the 3DS Have Now Surpassed the Wii in Japan

Posted by Thomas Whitehead


It's a weekly theme here at Nintendo Life that we report the ups and downs in the Japanese software and hardware charts, yet in the case of the 3DS it's often almost exclusively ups. It tops the hardware results almost every week, occasionally outselling all other system combined, and has a reliable set of ever-green titles in the software charts, along with occasional new big-hitters such as Monster Hunter 4. A notable landmark was reached with the most recent results, however, with Nintendo's current portable system's lifetime sales in Japan surpassing those of the Wii.

Considering the fact that the 3DS and its various models are likely to be around for a good few years yet, this is an impressive achievement; it also shows that the phenomenal 100 million+ hardware sales of the Wii were in large part due to its popularity in the West — Media Create has the lifetime sales of the Wii in Nintendo's homeland at 12,698,878, now just behind the 3DS on 12,752,731. In terms of major targets to shoot for next, the handheld may now chase down the Sony PSP and Game Boy Advance, which both have a little under 17 million sales on the record books. It's unlikely to hit the all-time top, however, with both the Game Boy / Game Boy Color and DS families of systems totting up over 32 million sales each in Japan.

With increasingly solid sales figures and momentum now showing in other territories, too, the 3DS looks set to enjoy a successful lifespan; it'll be interesting to see how many iconic platforms its sales can pass in Japan over the coming years.


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User Comments (53)



galetyler said:

12 million in only 3 years.... It needs to be said that's impressive by any standards and personally I think the 3DS is going to surpass the DS family before all is said and done, I mean 3DS has yet to get a Pokemon game not to mention it has the MH series which is something the DS never had.

PSP and GBA will likely be smashed by the end of 2014 if this pace keeps up.

As for Wii U, It'll be fine the 3DS has seen this sucess almost entirely due to first party titles as 3rd parties are still for the most part neglecting the platform sure Atlus, Sega and Capcom support it but that's about it



Tsuchinoko said:

Nice! Now can we have GBA games on the VC as a reward for our loyalty?

Probably not, but one can hope



AdanVC said:

And this is still WITHOUT Pokémon X/Y... Impressive! The truth is that the 3DS is such a great handheld overall, fantastic library of games either retail and on the eShop and there's still a couple of years left of awesomeness.



Dreamcaster-X said:

Just goes to show that Japan is moving farther away from console gaming & embracing portables way faster than the rest of the world. I've been to Japan so I understand why but I just don't see it happening in the US or Europe on the same level per capita speaking.



VoiceOfReason said:

A month after the 3ds was released, people were proclaiming it was a doomed piece of crap! And now this!



KittenKoder said:

@VoiceOfReason Only people who wanted it to fail because they knew that we'll be getting more of the games they want now, and many exclusively because their systems don't have enough features to compete.

Which leads me to the real reason the 3DS is doing so much better now. It's all behind the scenes stuff that attracted more devs for the system, as well as the tech features of the system, some of which even the Wii cannot compensate for.



rjejr said:

Whenever I see that photo of the #DS adn XL side by side my brain wants to move down the 4 face buttons and add on another thumbstick like the Gamepad. They really should have done it on the 2DS, how big will have a "circle pad pro" need to be? As it is my 8 yr. old is making fun of the 2DS and saying the face buttons are too high.

Good for the 3DS though. Backwards compatibility is good. Probably an even bigger selling point than the 3D effect.



idork99 said:

Wow! The Wii sold a lot of systems around the world and the majority of the sales were outside of Japan! I guess the motion controls were a hit around the world! Everybody and their moms/grandmas wanted to play Wii Sports. Now that the motion magic is gone, Nintendo just can't get the Wii U going. I will buy one soon and I know I'll love it. But as far as sales go, I feel that the system is going to be left behind in far third in sales behind Sony and Microsoft. It's the GameCube era all over again!

But great to hear the 3DS is doing great



NintyMan said:

This is highly impressive. Yamauchi would be proud how much profit Nintendo's making with 3DS. I only wish that Wii U could get even a piece of that success.

As already pointed out, this is even without Pokemon X and Y sales! 3DS sales will be going into the heavens!



heathenmagic said:

3DS is great. Lets have some Netflix and other apps in the UK and it will be even greater ........ Please!



Megumi said:

That's handheld Monster Hunter for you, lol.
Wii U is getting better, it'll be perfectly fine by the end of the year.



ricklongo said:

The 3DS is already my favorite handheld of all time, no question about it. Here's hoping it shatters many more records during its lifespan - not only in Japan, but worldwide.



Arcamenel said:

Why do people keep saying it's 3 years old? It was released on February 26, 2011 in Japan and March 27, 2011 in NA. It's 2013, that's like exactly 2 years and 7 months.



WinterWarm said:

Let's not forget though, the DS had three models.

Anyway, what the heck?

Everyone'a sayin' 'Yikes'. This isn a bad thing at all.




It's a great little system, and there are so many quality games. This shows me that Nintendo does know what they are doing. It may take awhile, the Wii U will pick up.



LetsGoRetro said:

Everyone's saying they wish the Wii U would have this success, and I do, too, but realistically, isn't it just about too late? Don't most games take 2-3 years to develop? So anything starting now will be coming out on the last leg of the Wii U's lifespan, as Nintendo systems usually last 5-6 years



Emaan said:

The 3DS has really turned things around, I'd like to see the Wii U enjoy this amount of positive results.



Joygame51 said:

It took me so long to get a 3DS. I'm happy for nintendo that the 3ds is doing well... I think there is most assuredly a place for the 2 ds as well. So long life the whole 3ds family...even the 2 ds...



Caryslan said:

And people still think mobile gaming will make dedicated handheld systems obsolete. I'm not going to dispute that fact that mobile gaming is a big market, but I thought it was supposed to mean the death of the 3DS and Vita. Not only is the 3DS thriving, but its selling at a pace that beats out both the DS and the Wii in their prime. Are these so-called "experts" that want Nintendo to put their games on tablets and phones even paying attention to the 3DS' success.

I'm sure some Mobile gaming writer is going to praise the Iphone 5C as some kind of proof that handhelds like the 3DS are a dying breed since it managed to sell 9 million units in a single weekend. But I wonder how many of those iPhones, iPads, Kindles, and Android devices out there are used for gaming?

People love to trumpet mobile gaming as the future and I don't see it. If Mobile gaming was such a handheld killer, why is the 3DS doing well? Even the Vita is not really affected by mobile gaming. Its main issues stem from Sony's poor handling of the system.

So what is mobile gaming killing? How many people use their devices for deep games that they spend hours on?

The 3DS may be a handheld console, but it does its job better than any tablet. Cut the Rope and Angry Birds are fun, but I'll glady take a Kid Icarus: Uprising, Monster Hunter, and Resident Evil Revelations over them anyday.

And from the looks of it, 30 million other gamers agree with me.



aaronsullivan said:

I think Nintendo is always going to have something extra to offer gamers that want more than what the mobile platforms are offering, but it's going to be more and more like Wii U vs. the other consoles.

You are going to be buying it for the exclusive Nintendo games and the hardware innovations, not because it's the best all around. Also, you'll be buying it in addition to another device that serves many of the same purposes better.

That will be over time, of course.

I'm all for mobile, PC, and Nintendo thriving with their own hardware for the rest of my lifetime, btw. I like what's happening with SteamOS taking ownership of big screen gaming without being tied to Windows and serious controller support coming to iOS devices.



withoutdk said:

i hope the wii u will have better sales in the time to come... with the special bundles (as they should have done to begin with) and the new good games... wind waker and all that




Neram said:

Makes sense considering 3DS is a handheld, which people usually buy for personal use and not for sharing with multiple people.



Mahe said:

The 3DS has really come to its own lately. It's still lagging behind in Western releases, but soon it will probably also make gains outside Japan.



MrWalkieTalkie said:

Why do some people see this as a bad thing? The fact that new hardware from Nintendo can outsell the past systems is a sign that people are still interested in Nintendo!



Will-75 said:

The 3DS is my favorite gaming system period , the 3D effect when used right is better than any HD effect . I would love to see a Metroid game though it's been 3 years come on Nintendo as well a Donkey Kong made from the ground up for 3DS would be nice also ., Yet we do have the new Zelda coming which looks fabulous can't wait to see whats coming in the next year .



Shambo said:

@Derperific DOOOM NINTENDO IS DOOOOOMED DEAD ON ARRIVAL PS VITA WILL HAVE (random specs)! 'A rightful bunch of nitwits' as Toby the devil (Rowan Atkinson) would say it. Bought mine day one, always believed in it. They even gave me 20 vc classics, which I mostly have original but still a great thing!
I have 4 different "3dees" systems now, 2 being used and 2 on display. Thinking about getting a Vita now too... Not entirely convinced yet.



Rei7 said:

I am so glad about the 3DS. But i'm really not sure if Wii U could ever do something like this.. yet.. First party games seems alright but 3rd party games..not so much. For those who only plays on a single platform(i'm a multi-platformer though) it doesn't seems that Wii U will be a real option to them. People want to be able to play 3rd party games as well on it and Wii U has yet to provide that, so far I can only see Ubisoft doing quite well with it but the other big companies... i'm so sad



luckybreak said:

Not to ask for another system but I would love a 3ds slim, with semi larger screen than the original, or one that is super portable. I would definitely upgrade from my original system to have it.

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