3DS is a Huge Success in Japan

Here’s a shocker: Nintendo’s handheld is doing well in Japan. It seems like those who decided it was a failure amid a few slow weeks after launch and the knock it took thanks to the East Japan Earthquake were wrong to be so hasty. Nintendo has just released a graph showing that the 3DS is not only their best performing console over a year of sales, it’s the fastest selling console in Japan ever.

No doubt, the company is feeling pretty smug and this information’s timing couldn’t be more convenient to grab some attention just as Sony’s Vita launches in the west. Regardless, it’s a sign that all those “traditional handhelds are dead” naysayers might want to put down their iPhones for a minute and check out the graph below.


The data doesn’t cover western sales which we assume aren’t as demonstrably good as those in Japan but it still shows that the 3DS is doing very well in a key market.

Source: Nintendo Japan



  1. Glad handheld gaming isn’t dead, don’t think I could game properly on my phone.

    • I measure success on user satisfaction and quality of games.

      3DS has failed.

  2. It was mid-august when Nintendo did that massive price cut for the 3DS wasn’t it after all the bad sales? Sales definitely pick up after that in the later half of the year. Hoping this is exactly what happens with Vita. Fails at launch, massive price cut, goes on to be a success.

    • If they make a massive price cut they will lose even more then they are already doing on the psvita. A price cut is not what is needed.

    • Well… near the end of 2011 the 3DS had got some pretty big games like Monster Hunter and the odd Nintendo games like Mario and co. They could cut the price… or they could bring over some strong titles that sold the PSP or something.

      • What do you reckon happened to boost GBA sales around week 37? That line is, to me, the most amazing one on the graph!

      • Huh?

      • Christmas 2001 happened.

    • I think the price cut is where we see that little blip and the gradual improvement around the 24th week. The big spike comes with the Mario games and the holiday sales.

      • Yep, the blip about wk 25 is the price cut.

      • Eurogamer say the price cut began 11th August (http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-07-28-nintendo-announces-3ds-price-cut), which would have been week 31. Maybe the price cut didn’t make such a difference after all.
        Perhaps it was just the effect of the holiday period combined with the fact the console had had enough time to build up a decent number of games that finally made the console appealing to the Japanese market.

      • Or does this graph show the fiscal year and therefore week 25 is 11th August?

      • It’s weeks from launch of each respective console.

      • Ohhh, now it makes sense! Thanks.

    • You want it to fail, so you can get a cutprice console?

      That makes sense… (not….)

  3. While it was inevitable that sales would pick up when the big flagship, system-selling titles released it’s not all good news for Nintendo.

    Forced to drop the price of the 3DS long ahead of their planned timescales they’re still making a loss on each console sold – a situation which is alien to them.

    They don’t expect to reach break-even point on the hardware costs until sometime between Apr-Sep this year so until then they’ll be really hurting unless attachment rates are very good.

    If people are only buying the one or two big titles for their 3DS’ Nintendo will continue to haemorrhage money.

    That being said, my back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that Uncle Ninty actually made money during the last three months of 2011 (i.e., their nine-month financials reported a smaller loss than their six-month ones).

  4. “naysayers might want to put down their iPhones for a minute and check out the graph below.”

    I checked the graph on my iPhone. What now?

  5. It’s good news in one territory… Can the replicate this around the world? I certainly hope so. After 18 month with its gaming I’m back with a nice chunky PSP and the 3DS, no buttons didn’t ruin every game but enough to justify dedicated handhelds. I’m hopeful handhelds will remain in existence even if it is a smaller market.

    Now if only I could afford a Vita too… Damn those childcare cost!

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