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Nintendo 3DS sells 5 million units in the U.S.
Nintendo 3DS sells 5 million units in the U.S.
July 12, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

July 12, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
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    8 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



Newsbrief: Nintendo's 3DS handheld has sold more than 5 million units in the United States since its launch in March 2011, the NPD Group reported on Thursday.

This news comes just three months after the console reached the 4.5 million unit milestone, and just one month before the launch of the revised 3DS XL.

The Nintendo 3DS got off to a rocky start after its initial release, but after a major price drop in July 2011, the system's sales picked up quite a bit. In fact, after one year on the market, the system had sold nearly twice as many units as the Nintendo DS did in the same time frame.

Alongside this news, Nintendo announced that it sold 155,000 3DS systems, 150,000 DS systems, and almost 95,000 Wii consoles in June 2012.


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Comments


Merc Hoffner
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As I recall, sales of the DS really exploded when they released the DS lite. The 3DS XL isn't an update in the same way the lite was, but perhaps it will produce a similar uptick. Afterall, the DSi XL did, even with the fiasco of being released AFTER the 3DS was announced.

I suspect that despite every tech story on every news site proclaiming that mobile has decimated the handheld, what we've really seen is the effect of natural console generation transition combined with medium to poor execution of launches and possibly a hint of recession blues. i.e. I reckon handhelds are actually performing independent of mobile. We'll see in the next two years or so.

Merc Hoffner
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Christian,

For a while I've been trying to coin the terms 'posihype' and 'negahype'. Apple has unfathomable posihype while Nintendo has astounding negahype. Basically everything one does is gold while everything the other one does is dirt - weighting perceived performance up or down relative to their real world performance. I wish I had a numeric tool for assigning actual values to this (obviously difficult as we're talking about subjective humans creating an objective measure of subjectivism) but it really affects the share value and so is an important real world factor. So much so that given how ludicrously undervalued Nintendo shares are I'd be tempted to buy shares if it weren't for the fact that I know that even when they outperform analyst expectations their shares won't improve by nearly enough, while other companies would see more significant improvements just by announcing reduced losses.

What's really interesting is what drives this 'hype' value? I have no clue, but it seems to be irrespective of projections, equity, IP strength, fanbase, momentum, historical performance, competitor landscape, or anything else I can think of. Maybe it's just in the name. Listen, 10 years ago a heard one of those wild statistics that found 80% of customers would pay more for a Sony product without being able to explain why. Sony's posihype has undoubtedly waned but can you tell me why exactly? And has it actually been in tandem with their decline in performance? I think not.

Oh well.

Chris Hendricks
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I completely agree, Merc. The only explanation I can come up with is that people like to root for underdogs. Apple, for all of its success, is still dwarfed by Microsoft in terms of things like desktop computer market share, which seems to give it an underdog status. Nintendo, on the other hand, has made awesome games and great consoles for decades - others may argue this, but I stand by it - making Nintendo nowhere near an underdog.

Patrick Davis
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@Merc You have to backtrack quite a few years for this one.

Nintendo got a bad rap for a while due to not getting big 3rd party releases on N64. The cartridge format caused many 3rd parties to jump ship to CD. So, most of the better games were first party Nintendo games. This isn't necessarily bad, but this is also the time when games started pushing into psudo realism. Nintendo didn't get many of these titles, so they started getting hit with the kids machine label because of the types of games the first party offerings are. A label they still haven't been able to shake off. The GCube ran into the same issues as the N64, and the Wii basically told hardcore gamers to their face that Nintendo wasn't for them. I love first party Nintendo games as much as the next guy, but other than that, the offerings on the Wii are pretty damn slim for hardcore gamers. Couple that with the fact that other than a few games, it has next to nothing in the psudo realism shooter department that has exploded in recent years in the mainstream.

After all of that, Nintendo is finally trying to win back the hardcore crowd with the Wii U. Considering past experiences over the generations, I'm not surprised most hardcore gamers are completely dismissing it, and Nintendo, as a real contender overall. This is of course not true since they tapped a completely different market with the Wii, but casual gamers not are the ones that are going to be getting on message boards defending the Wii most of the time. So, most of the time you are going to see a random mainstream FPS gamer yelling doom and gloom against Nintendo.

I'm completely unbiased as I always end up purchasing all of the consoles, but I'm definitely the minority. Most people end up with 1 system, and Nintendo hasn't made it tough to NOT pick them as a only console to own. People have a choice between 1st party Nintendo titles... and... everything else. Well, unless you are a complete diehard Nintendo fan, people are clearly choosing the 360/PS3 offering.

I can only hope this all changes with the Wii U. Instead of having a Nintendo system as a first party game console, I would own a Nintendo console for... everything. A crazy thought I know. It hasn't happened since SNES days. Nintendo clearly has something there if hardcore gamers still buy their console just for the first party games, knowing that there probably won't be much else they care about. I can only hope they don't squander this opportunity. If Nintendo screws this up, I don't know how they would ever regain faith from hardcore/mainstream gamers again.

Leon T
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@ Patrick

You didn't go back far enough. Nintendo upset a lot of the people when the NES caused the US console market pick up again. Some people in the industry didn't want to make console games. The restrictions they put on game releases just made them more enemies. Then there was the censorship they enforced on SNES games that started the first cries that Nintendo is kiddie.

@Cameron

I doubt there will be another handheld anytime soon that can sell like the DS just like I don't think a console will reach PS2 numbers next gen and maybe the one after. The 3DS still has a chance to get close to DS numbers if NSMB2 and the new brainage are killer apps . Nintendo would also need a new breakout killer app as well.

Still with that said the only handheld that sold better than the 3DS has after the price drop is the monster that was the GBA. Nintendo hasn't got a handheld launch right since that (GBA) was launched.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Patrick Davis - Leon Terry is right about Nintendo (or more specifically, Nintendo of America) enforcing censorship on the SNES games. While it was nothing new for Nintendo to enforce censorship on games produced for their systems at that time, it became more apparent and a big deal when the Mortal Kombat fiasco occurred. Ever since the MK controversy, Nintendo started to get a reputation for being "kiddy", while Sega was seen as the opposite of that. The typecast that was placed upon Nintendo didn't help the company any when it released Perfect Dark for the N64. Unless I'm mistaken, there were criticisms over Nintendo for releasing that game as it was rated M. As for Leon's info on some people not wanting to create console games when the market started to pick up again, that's news to me, but I believe in what he's saying. When the first Videogame Market Crash occurred, that was an opportunity for the Computer Market to take charge and I can imagine people preferring to create games and programs for computers over for game consoles as you could do so much more with computers at that time (especially have computer version of classic arcade games looking more like the original arcade games).

Joseph Garrahan
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Merc,

I like your phrases and analysis.

Gotta keep using them to get them minted and coined!

Arthur Tam
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I don't know whether to applaud your reference or facepalm.


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