News Article

Satoru Iwata Highlights a Strengthening Worldwide Market Share for 3DS

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

First system since DS to surpass five million annual sales in Japan

When seeking good news and cause for optimism, Nintendo need look no further than the 3DS. A system that struggled in its early days and was written off in some quarters as out of touch and doomed to failure, it's gone on to combine a lower price, high quality games and more to survive in the post smartphone / tablet world.

It's been on the front foot in Japan for a sustained period now, and in a financial results briefing Satoru Iwata explained that the portable reached around 5.5 million units sales in Japan in 2012, with momentum suggesting a similar achievement this year; only the 3DS and DS have passed that annual milestone in the Japanese market.

In the Western market Iwata-san outlined strong sales and increased market share. With a combination of other transitioning systems losing share and improving 3DS performance, the 3DS accounted for over a quarter of the dedicated gaming market in both Europe and North America, while dominant in Japan.

Europe was given special attention due to differing performance in different countries, and in a positive for the UK — after being cited as a concern in previous briefings — it was mentioned as an area of key improvement with an 8% increase over the last reported period earlier in 2013.

The impact of Pokémon X & Y was also highlighted, with an emphasis on its role in dramatically boosting hardware sales in different territories. With no NPD data for October as yet, the following graph nonetheless shows how hardware sales increased following its release.

In general it was demonstrated that first-party software sales on 3DS are well beyond last year, while it was suggested that consumer feedback around the 2DS indicates a number of new buyers that hadn't previously considered picking up the original systems. The continuing strength of X & Y, allied with the 2DS and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, are key points in giving Nintendo optimism in the Holiday period.

It's been a strong year for the 3DS to date, with improved results around the world. Let us know your thoughts on these results in the comments below.

[via nintendo.co.jp]

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User Comments (31)

Ungravitify

#1

Ungravitify said:

Well this just goes to show that you shouldn't write a console off just cause it had a rough first year. I hope the Wii U can get sales similar to this next year.

KevTastic84

#4

KevTastic84 said:

I have to say my 3DS is probably my fave piece of gaming kit since the snes came out, and i still think its got a very long lifecycle ahead of it. It oozes class

Will-75

#5

Will-75 said:

The 3DS has become my favorite all time system I can honestly say I play it daily - AWESOME SYSTEM !

buzzn

#6

buzzn said:

It is a pretty sweet console. I think it's the best handheld console I've ever had. I would say that the Wii U also has loads of potential, I enjoyed TW101 quite a lot, it has promise. Can't wait for games to start picking up the pace soon.

Antisham

#7

Antisham said:

Big props to Nintendo! They always deliver great games and brilliantly unique hardware, they deserve the hard earned sales for the 3DS. I would love to know out of interest, the age demographic of 3DS/2DS users. Nintendo seemed to have tapped into a pretty vast market! Good times ahead.

PrincessSugoi

#8

PrincessSugoi said:

@Antisham

There's an Age thread in the 3DS section and last time an average was taken it was around 25. I myself am in my early twenties... and pretty much everyone else in real life that I've seen with a 3DS/2DS are around my age.

Goginho

#9

Goginho said:

You know, Nintendo should (if they aren't already doing so) thoroughly analyse how the 3DS got so successful, and basically make an identical repeat of the steps taken for the success rate of the 3DS, and do that on the Wii U, if at all possible (since the conditions are different I can imagine). Maybe it's like playing a match in the rain vs. playing on a dry pitch.

But nonetheless though, all it takes is to copy and paste the process of the 3DS' growth onto the Wii U's. Actually, the 3DS has had more competition than what the Wii U has. The 3DS needed to compete and break through the massively increasing popularity of smart phones and other mobile/portable devices, as well as the PS Vita (I guess). Not to mention, it needed to make a persuasive and convincing comeback after the "3D-makes-you-blind" scare.
Now, I don't wanna say the Wii U only has two - three other consoles to battle with including the PC, and therefore has it easier, but it does have a lot less competition at hand at the moment. The only unfortunate aspect of this, is that the anticipation is quite immense for the upcoming consoles, and I can imagine many potential gaming consumers are holding off until the release of those.
I'm no analyst, but what I predict will most likely happen is the other consoles will have a great launch (including hardcore pre-orders), only to be followed by, basically no sales at all for the next lot of months, since the prices are ridiculously high for the average consumer / gamer / w.e, and their more affordable predecessors are gonna continue living on with games being continually developed for them as well.
This will then be Nintendo's chance to put the Wii U under the spotlight and show the average consumer what it's all about and what it has to offer, since the anticipation for the other consoles will be long gone after having experienced their "booming" launches and seeing what they're all about (most likely nothing more special than, or as special as Wii U's GamePad, thus turning hype into fad).

Nintendo is already going in the right direction lately, with some pretty awesome and quirky advertisments provided by cool and energetic celebrities such as Wayne Brady (remember Robin Williams on the 3DS and LoZ?:P).
Slow and steady wins the race. Don't make the same mistake as with the Wii, getting overly excited by sudden success and stop putting out content. That's like leading for 89 minutes, only to think the match is practically over, thus losing composure and conceding two goals.

ledreppe

#10

ledreppe said:

@PrincessSugoi

I'm one of the older ones at 34! I would say the increased 3DS performance is due to all the great 1st party games we got this year; Luigi's Mansion 2, New Leaf, Mario & Luigii Dream Team, Pokemon X/Y. I'm sure they all contributed to hardware sales.

rjejr

#11

rjejr said:

Any word on why Japan isn't getting the 2DS? Or if it will? I can't believe in a Q&A nobody would ask that.

My theory - the thing is too big to carry around, and if the Japanese wanted to game at home they would buy a Wii U.

That, and the 3DS is selling so well, why offer a discounted version. Which is 1 eason why Apple raised the price of the mini from $329 to $399 so as not to cannibalize $499 iPad sales. The the iPod touch went from $229 to $299 before that.

It's probably a combination of the 2, I'm just wondering if Nintendo has stated either of the above. They riskeither insulting the Japanese by telling them they, and their hands, are too tiny, or that yes, they could be paying less to play 3DS games, but no Nintendo is making them pay more b/c they will. .

Emblem

#14

Emblem said:

The only problem with my 3DS XL is that their are too many great games :) !

DualWielding

#15

DualWielding said:

@ledreppe

Yah but one can't disregard the impact of 3rd party titles, the reasons I buy nintendo handhelds and not the home consoles is that the handhelds have 3rd party support while their home consoles don't... I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one too, Nintendo games may be the biggest sellers but having a varied library with contribution from many developers instead of being a thing that only plays nintendo first party is what makes the thing sell

ledreppe

#17

ledreppe said:

@ferthepoet
Ok, but for me Nintendo hardware is enough. I tried flirting with the idea of a
PS4 to get the varied 3rd party support, but got cold feat because most of the games are FPS' or games I simply can't get excited about or care for (what some would say are 'core' games like Assasin's creed, Metal
Gear and games like that, that I can never seem to complete).

rjejr

#18

rjejr said:

@ferthepoet - "that hideous thing"

That was actually my first explanation, but I deleted it b/c I didn't think Nintendo would actually say that out loud.

kenzo

#19

kenzo said:

@IWATA

It time for the 3DS to get another update since it is going so strongly and it has not yet reached its optimum form.

My suggestions are:

1. Make the 3DS SuperXL with a 3D screen the same size as the WiiU gamepad screen. That would bump it up from 4.8 to 6.2 inch. With the same size and resolution as the gamepad it would make for some interesting crossplay interaction with the WiiU console.

2. Keep the lower chassis the same size of the 3DSXL, as that is the right size for the touchscreen and buttons. Sure the top will overlap with the bottom. Its called 'asynchronous gaming', ha ha.

3. Make the new 3DS Super XL wirelessly stream in both 2D and 3D.

4. Fix the so-so existing 3D with a better version to increase the sweet spot. Perhaps use face tracking so the 3D is steered to the users face and is presented consistently.

End Memo.

Jimonfire

#22

Jimonfire said:

I'm a very proud 3DS owner, i am stuck between fire emblem and monster hunter, it is consuming my life!

The Wii U will for sure bounce back up. I f you do a holiday comparison against the ps4 and xbone, the wii u price and game line up are incredible, can't forget to mention all Wii games can be played on it!, They need to do some serious advertising. With that they will for sure go FTW.. They should also advertise the incredible games coming up in 2014!

unrandomsam

#23

unrandomsam said:

@KevTastic84 It feels cheap and tacky. Cheap plastic. Creeks. It is the worst device I own when it comes to that. Too much that needs 60fps doesn't have it.

cfgk24

#25

cfgk24 said:

@unrandomsam I have to agree with Kevtastic - It is my favourite bit of Tech - EVER - Period. I love the 3D effect over Vita HD screen - I love the touchscreen, I love the Dual screens - I love th music player - I love the Circle pad, I love the High quality games - I love the Form Factor of it above all else. . .

Haxonberik

#27

Haxonberik said:

Funny how France has the biggest share on 3DS outside of Japan, given Pokemon X and Y's Kalos is France based... I wonder if that had any real influence on it...

DualWielding

#28

DualWielding said:

@kenzo

My suggestion would be to do a 2DS that is shaped exactly like the 3DS XL and sold at the same price as the regular 3DS model

KayOL78

#31

KayOL78 said:

@Goginho Totally agree, slow and steady wins the race...incidenty, my mates house is crawling with tech, tablets, ps3s, wii's and smartphones...and the only thing thats constantly on is an old dsi with mario...after asking why mario is all thats being played, one of his daughters 5 said...'because its awesome.' thats why when mario comes to wii u i shall be introducing that household to wii u...something i'm sure we can all do to help create great word of mouth.

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