updated 08:05 am EDT, Fri April 15, 2011
Nintendo 3DS sells 400K but doesn't pass DS
Nintendo's US president Reggie Fils-Aime in an interview late on Thursday gave out promised 3DS sales numbers. About 400,000 of the game system shipped in the week after it reached the US on March 27. He was "very satisfied with this start" in speaking to USA Today and touted upcoming plans for Netflix support and the online store.
The figure didn't make it the best-selling Nintendo system. The company sold 460,000 DSi systems during the same week. It outperformed the Wii, however, which sold 290,000 systems during all of March and was outsold by the Xbox 360 by a wide 143,000-unit margin. Fils-Aime cautioned not to directly compare the 3DS' results too closely to the DSi that week or during the original DS launch, noting that the month-old Pokemon Black and Pokemon White were still driving sales of the older system and that the original DS launched during Thanksgiving week, usually the strongest-selling week of the year.
Unlike the Japanese sellouts, stock still remained after the launch. The extra stock was deliberate, Fils-Aime claimed. Supply had been staged at distribution spots in between so that a store running low could get new stock instead of having to wait for its next regular shipment. It was a testament to how well the supply chain worked, he said.
The results weren't ideal for Nintendo but suggested a relatively strong start for an off-season launch and would have made more profit than on the DSi, with a full $100 price gap sitting between the $250 3DS and its predecessor. It may need to count on sustained sales to counter the iPhone and iPod touch in gaming, as the combined effect of their sales may have directly led to a steep drop in holiday sales. Nintendo has had to gradually address the impact of the Apple hardware and is counting on the 3DS' much more contemporary hardware, glasses-free 3D, and much more Internet-aware platform to draw in gamers that would otherwise have skipped over a dedicated game console.