updated 09:15 am EST, Mon February 20, 2012
Nintendo 3DS fastest-selling handheld console
Nintendo confirmed a milestone for both itself and the gaming would by revealing that the 3DS should now be its fastest-selling console. The system took less than a year to reach the five million-unit sales mark in its home of Japan, four weeks faster than the 56-week record set by the decade-old Gameboy Advance. The DS took 58 weeks to get to the same point.
Even the Wii had been significantly outpaced, Nintendo showed.
While promising for the 3DS, the company declined to directly mention the cause. As shown in the graph, sales were well below others until a price cut to $169 into the middle of 2011 started accelerating sales. That along with high profile holiday games like Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land helped boost interest in a device that had still been outsold by its older, cheaper counterpart for most of 2011.
Much of the 3DS' challenge outside of Nintendo's own hardware has been the iPod touch and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone and Android. Although Apple doesn't break down sales by the country, it shipped 15.4 million iPods worldwide just in the fall, most of these the iPod touch. The figure might not have seen Apple top Nintendo in Japan, but could have seen it move enough to be a significant drag on 3DS sales. iPod games usually cost considerably less, and the iPod is considered more of a general-purpose device where the 3DS has only a small amount of use outside of games.