updated 08:15 am EST, Tue March 6, 2012
Nintendo moves 4.5m 3DS in US in first year
Nintendo on Monday touted the resiliency of the 3DS by claiming banner first-year sales in the US. It sold 4.5 million of the glasses-free 3D console in the 12 months since its arrival, or nearly twice the 2.3 million of the original DS sold in a similar span. Reaching the milestone came also with many more games sold, at nine million to five million, and pure revenue that more than doubled from $540 million to $1.2 billion.
While signs of health, the doubled figures were helped by a larger addressable base as well as exceptional actions meant to boost sales. Coming roughly seven years later, the better performance was coming from a much larger potential audience. Sales had been sluggish until a drop to $169, an unprecedented steep cut for a console that had only been on shelves for four months.
The statement is slightly unusual for Nintendo and likely a defensive reaction to perceptions that smartphones were gutting the company's fan base. "We're just getting started but this platform is built for the long haul," the company's American President Reggie Fils-Aime said.
How much of an exact effect the smartphone, as well as the iPod touch, has been having on Nintendo's sales isn't immediately apparent. However, both Apple and Google have been cutting into game revenues for both Nintendo and Sony. Many of those who only want to carry one device often have to give up a dedicated game system like the 3DS, and some have explicitly chosen iOS or Android for gaming owing to the much cheaper average game price, the more advanced touchscreen, and more frequent hardware revisions.