After a troubled launch, the Nintendo 3DS has staged an amazing comeback to become Japan’s fastest-selling games console ever. Reports of this little console’s death are greatly exaggerated.
Over the weekend, Nintendo released a graph showing the 3DS had hit five million sales in 52 weeks, a record for Japanese hardware sales. The 3DS took the record from its predecessor, the Nintendo DS, which managed five million sales in 56 weeks. The Game Boy Advance hit the five million mark after 58 weeks.
And yes, all of these figures relate to sell-through stock – that is, units sold from shops to customers (some companies count all stock sold to stores, but necessarily to customers).
What’s remarkable about this is that it comes after a launch period which saw 3DS sales dip to disastrously low levels in its first three months on store shelves. In a country like Japan, where Nintendo handhelds have always sold well, that was a shock.
Indeed, if you had told me last May that the 3DS would be setting sales records by the end of its first year on the market, I’d have questioned your sanity. However, a significant price drop and the arrival of big-hitting franchises like Zelda and Mario have led a resurgence.
Anyway, good for Nintendo. After being written off time and time again, the big N just keeps coming back. In short, the growth of smartphone gaming and the release of the PS Vita seems not to have affected how much people want to play Mario and Zelda.