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Western 3DS development slow to start but catching on, says Nintendo president

Western 3DS development slow to start but catching on, says Nintendo president

May 1, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Nintendo believes Western companies waited longer than their Japanese counterparts to support 3DS because it took them longer to realize the handheld would be a success in their regions.

While many major publishers in Japan, such as Capcom and Square Enix, have released or announced big games for 3DS, few Western companies have revealed any marquee titles for the system. Even on the original DS, its Japanese hits seem to outnumber the amount of blockbusters from the West.

"There may appear to be fewer commitments from the U.S. and the European software publishers than those of their Japanese counterparts [for 3DS]," admitted Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata during a Q&A session with investors last week.

He argued, "This is due to the different timing (between Japan and overseas) when they noticed that the Nintendo 3DS would surely expand widely into their markets and, thus, the different timing when they started the actual development of the Nintendo 3DS software."

Sales for 3DS hardware didn't really pick up around the world until the system's 30 percent price cut in August -- and they exploded in Japan during the holiday season as Nintendo rolled out Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land, and Capcom shipped Monster Hunter 3G.

While 3DS hardware has outsold all other consoles in Japan ever since last August, it hasn't had the same runaway success in the West. Iwata told investors that the portable's sales are "far below the level that it could potentially reach" in the U.S., and "far from a satisfactory level" in Europe.

Despite 3DS's challenges in Europe and North America, Iwata is confident Western publishers will show their support for the system soon: "You will ... notice a change in this situation when a richer Nintendo 3DS software lineup in the overseas markets is announced around the time of the E3 show."

The CEO notes that strong support from Japanese publishers will continue. "In Japan, we have this solid feeling that the Japanese publishers will continuously support the Nintendo 3DS," he said. "Accordingly, I have no pessimistic view on the Nintendo 3DS software lineup."

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