updated 10:50 pm EDT, Thu May 12, 2011
Nintendo 3DS still struggling to outsell DSi
Nintendo faced a hurdle in its hopes to retake some of its share in mobile gaming from Apple on Thursday after NPD results showed that the 3DS wasn't outselling its predecessor. The company shipped 194,000 3DS systems in April but moved 257,000 of the DSi the same month. A statement from the console maker argued the gap, despite it being the first full month for the 3DS, was due to the "staying power" of the older systems and the recent dual Pokemon games driving sales.
The 3DS has faced an uphill battle in getting acceptance since launch. While sales have never been disastrous, it was outsold by the PSP in Japan. Its US launch pushed 400,000 systems, but it was still outsold by the DS that week. Pokemon again played a part.
Along with the lack of a system-selling flagship game, reasons for the 3DS' current lackluster performance have varied among critics, though the $250 price has been the most commonly cited factor. It costs $100 more than the DSi and is $20 more than the iPod touch, which still has faster hardware and a deeper library of typically less expensive games. Nintendo's 66 percent profit drop has been commonly blamed on the DS series and the Wii together losing much of their steam, some of which has been attributed to Apple.
Microsoft, meanwhile, continued to lead in absolute console sales, the NPD said. About 297,000 Xbox 360 systems shipped in April, putting it in the lead for the tenth month in the past year. Its sales were a 60 percent jump from a year ago, and while not an absolute record made its gains the best of any platform. April is historically a slow month as it's both well past the holidays but before the E3 gaming show in June, where consoles sometimes get price cuts.
The success among TV consoles was credited to continued strong Kinect sales as well as games attached to it, like Dance Central. Half of the top ten games in April were Xbox titles.