updated 08:40 am EST, Tue January 3, 2012
Nintendo more than recovers from early 3DS slump
Nintendo returned from holiday with word that it had shipped more than four million 3DS systems in the US. The milestone, which it reached in nine months, was enough to outsell the Wii over its own intro period. Nintendo had already passed four million in Japan just days earlier.
Much of the help came from the holiday rush, where quickly rising sales made up for the slump early on in the 3DS' history. Two first-party games launched at the end of the year, Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land, were credited for part of the leap. The two were the first 3DS games to push past one million sales each and likely led to many getting a 3DS just to play one or both.
The increase very nearly didn't happen and relied on Nintendo taking urgent action in mid-2011. A combination of the high initial $249 price and a lack of major games led to the DSi regularly outselling the new system. A price cut to $169, while damaging to Nintendo's bottom line, may have saved it by putting it below the price of an iPod touch and otherwise getting past the $200 psychological barrier.
Separately, Nintendo added that it had sold 4.5 million Wii systems in all of 2011 and 3.4 million DS handhelds. Wii demand is known to be cooling and will likely slow further now that the Wii U is due to arrive this year.