updated 11:20 pm EDT, Thu October 13, 2011
Nintendo crosses 50m DS mark with good 3DS sales
Nintendo saw some hope return to its mobile gaming on Thursday after it crossed a historic milestone. Based on NPD September data, the DS line passed 50 million lifetime sales since its launch in 2004. This helped cement its position as the bestselling game console in history, Nintendo claimed.
Significantly, it said, the 3DS had overtaken the older handheld in sales. About 145,000 DSi and DSi XL systems sold in September, but the steep 3DS price cut had led to the newer system moving 260,000, a 10 percent boost from when the price cut first took place a month earlier. Some of that 3DS demand was helped by the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D remake, which became the first 3DS game to crack the half-million mark in US sales.
Over 450,000 3DS systems have sold to date. About 240,000 of the outgoing Wii sold the same month, putting it behind the Xbox 360 and possibly the PS3 as well.
Nintendo's collective mobile sales didn't challenge the Xbox 360's 438,000 units but helped at least slow down what had been a precipitous drop in Nintendo's mobile gaming share. An assumption that it could sell the 3DS at a premium $250 price and an initially lackluster game lineup led to a quick fall in sales and to the roughly $100 cheaper DS often being the more popular system.
The Japanese firm's claims to being at the front of mobile gaming are starting to slide. Apple just recently claimed that the iPod touch led in mobile gaming, outpacing both Nintendo and Sony. It shipped 7.54 million iPods this summer, most of which were iPod touch players, and is likely to have outsold all DS and 3DS sales combined even if Apple only counted those who played games in significant amounts on its iPods.
Apple has been credited with usurping control of mobile gaming through a much more aggressive hardware update cycle, much better software for non-gaming tasks, and cheaper games. In many cases, even top-flight iOS games cost $10 or less versus the $30 to $40 for just one DS or 3DS title.