3DS sales struggle in recent weeks

By Joseph Christ on May 16th, 2011 (36 comments)

According to new NPD reporting Nintendo has been experiencing a bit of a paradigm shift when it comes to sales. In a market where both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 are seeing improved sales over last year, sales of the Wii are down 38% from this point last year and 40% from March.  Quite surprisingly, sales of the newly minted 3DS are also slowing. After an initial week of sales reaching almost 400,000 units, sales have slipped to just 194,000 in April.

The slowdown of the Wii is somewhat understandable considering the amount of time the console has been on the market, and the growing popularity of the Ps3 and Xbox 360 in the casual market. But the 3DS surprises me. I had the 3DS pegged as a breakout hit when I first saw the unit, but it doesn't seem to be catching on the way I predicted. It's possible that Nintendo simply has too many handhelds out right now and people are not as willing to shell out the extra cash for yet another one.

Overall, it's a good time for Nintendo to announce something big on the horizon and their new HD console might just be that thing. As much as they loath to admit it, Nintendo is currently in a position where they will have to compete with both Sony and Microsoft if they are to continue to be a viable entity in the gaming industry. We'll see what they have to show at E3 this year.

Tags: 3DS, NPD, Xbox 360, sales, Wii, Nintendo, PS3

Joseph Christ

Joseph Christ is the Reviews Editor and a Podcast Personality at 4Player. Specializing in reviews, editorials, drinking, and saying inappropriate things about gaming franchises that are beloved by millions, his satirical and sometimes edgy style offsets a more serious and penetrating substance lurking below the surface. He is also the host of the Cocktail Time Podcast. You'll follow his Twitter if you know what's good for you.

Comment!
  • RedAma131 3 years, 2 months ago

    I was looking forward to the new HD console than the 3DS. I think the 3DS will pick up as more games are released.

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  • Xerotwo 3 years, 2 months ago

    It's all because of the lack of a great launch title pool the 3DS has at the moment. That and some people would want to wait for either a new Pokemon game or a new 3DS lite model.

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  • TheSage 3 years, 2 months ago

    I'm not too surprised about the 3DS not selling. There wasn't enough advertising of it that I saw, it seemed like Nintendo was relying more on game sites or word of mouth. Also, the 3DS doesn't have a stellar game line-up so far, and many features are still not available on the 3DS like the E-Shop. Maybe at E3 when Nintendo announces all the features that will be available for the 3DS, or announces more games for the 3DS will they get more sales.

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  • ArcHeRHooD 3 years, 2 months ago

    I agree on how the 3DS doesn't have many good games to sell right now which is one of the reasons why the 3DS isn't selling well enough. Probably once more games come out, it'll pick up some steam.

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  • Skittles0520 3 years, 2 months ago

    i haven't played a handheld for since the first gameboy advance.....

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  • cookiemonster31 3 years, 2 months ago

    I got a 3DS for my birthday, i've used it like twice. I would probably use it more, but one full charge only lasts me like 3-5 hours max.

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  • Sk3tch00d 3 years, 2 months ago

    As RedAma131 said, all it takes is one good game. I'm waiting for the MGS game to come out or atleast LoZ.

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  • StrykeBlayde 3 years, 2 months ago

    Isn't the 3DS selling for more than what the Wii has ever sold for? I think maybe the price, along with the not-so-impressive game pool, started the decline in sales.

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  • Aged Milk 3 years, 2 months ago

    I think it may have to do with people being skeptical of the value of it's namesake. There are alot of people out there who honestly aren't interested in the 3D fad, and with the amount of titles it has to start with, I'm willing to bet people are going to be more inclined to just wait for a 'Lite' version to be released. Better tech, wider selection of games. Also I'd be interested to see how sales of regular DS Lites are doing in comparison from recent weeks to the 3DS.

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  • NCman 3 years, 2 months ago

    wow, im surprised about how mature the commenters are here, i havnt even seen xbox/ps3/pc fanboys jump on this opourtunity to bash nintendo.

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  • Vandell 3 years, 2 months ago

    It's simple, really. 1) 3D is an obvious and passing fad. 2) You can get a much more powerful, sleek, useful device for less (smartphones/superphones). 3) Turmoil in Japan is not helping, at all.

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  • PancakeChef 3 years, 2 months ago

    I agree it is probably a lack of games that is hurting the sales of the 3DS. I think to some extent it is the same for the Wii, in the beginning years they had a lot more first party and other games for it and then slowly less and less.

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  • specdotsign 3 years, 2 months ago

    Could be because of the lack of software. It could also be selling less due to market confusion. They should have named it something different in my opinion.

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  • Trusis 3 years, 2 months ago

    After playing around with the 3DS in Gamstop, I realized it wasn't relly anything special. I totally hate watching 3D anything, personal perference, but I was even more upset with the titles that are currently on the market, or coming onto the market. Orcarina of Time? I can just plug in my N64, it might be enhanced, but its still the same game. I want to see something new and outside of the mold Nintendo has created. You can only sell the same game for so long before you start to tank.

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  • J52 3 years, 2 months ago

    I'm actually a little relieved to hear this. I don't feel Nintendo brought its A-game with the 3DS and Nintendo is the one company I always really hate to see half-ass things. Hopefully, this means better games on the horizon from Nintendo trying harder. Also, maybe the NGP won't be as neglected in America as the PSP was.

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  • UltimaInferno 3 years, 2 months ago

    I do have to agree with Trusis a bit. Nintendo has been doing a lot of recycling of old games, and just because you're playing a game in 3D doesn't mean everyone will go and buy all the same games again BECAUSE it's 3D. The 3DS seems like it could be a pretty powerful system without the 3D, but Nintendo needs new games for it not games you already have just in 3D

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  • jon2435 3 years, 2 months ago

    Yeah my brother bought the 3DS for his daughter and the biggest issue is; not many games to buy. The new handheld is able to play all the old stuff which is great (more like GREAT! Tony the tiger style there). That still leaves little reason to pick up the 3DS. I play and love the Rune Factory series and it's for the DS. Heck even then I am playing it on the DSi. All that is just my example, but it's easyish to see that I don't really need to pick up the 3DS to better my handheld gaming. That being said, I want one.

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  • moses526 3 years, 2 months ago

    This doesn't surprise me too much. I know it's a broken record, but Nintendo didn't seem to put too much effort behind their advertising. When you half-ass an attempt at something like this, you get half-assed results in your sales.

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  • Aged Milk 3 years, 2 months ago

    I think another deciding factor may be that in a market where you're paying $300 on a system, then $60 on a new release for a home console; $250 can feel like an obscene amount to be spending on handheld(any handheld for that matter), not to mention that many of it's releases are starting at $40 a pop.

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  • Comradebearjew 3 years, 2 months ago

    I think Nintendo has already made 100x what it cost to manufacture the 3DS.

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  • Sammonoske 3 years, 2 months ago

    The 3D gimmick on the 3DS was doomed to begin with. It is cool at first but then you just turn it off until you get a new game, then repeat.

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  • Bombader 3 years, 2 months ago

    Well they could either rename the system or continue forward with better stuff. Frankly there is too much emphasis on 3D rather than the system specs (which looks good 2D, sometimes 3D) and just needs good software. More than likely it will sell in a slow burn until good games come out for it or the price lowers due to the Wii2 coming out.

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  • echo1194 3 years, 2 months ago

    I agree with the statement that it's due to them releasing so many handhelds. It simply doesnt make it worth buying a new one every 6 months. When they start releasing more games for it I'm sure sales will increase.

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  • AdjacentKitten 3 years, 2 months ago

    I don't know what to think about this new Nintendo console stuff. If they can actually provide some decent hardcore audience games, then I could get into it.

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  • Killacure 3 years, 2 months ago

    It's all price at the end of the day, a Wii at $99 would take off again as would a 3DS at $169 which would still leave Nintendo making a profit on each unit. Here's hoping that the Nintendo HD console will be sub $250.

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  • tanto 3 years, 2 months ago

    more doom and gloom........ name one console that sold as high as launch right after launch. There wasnt one.. The 3ds is outpacing the ds with its sales right now. Thats all that matters All this other shit is bullshit

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    • tanto 3 years, 2 months ago

      The ds sold 5 million units in 6 months The 3ds is at 3.61 million at 1 month. You tell me whats doing good and bad. The gba was not a breakout hit. The gb color was not a breakout hit. The ds was not a breakout hit and almost failed after its first year. So anyone who expected the 3ds to be a breakout hit has no understanding of gaming or gaming history like this article creator.

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  • matt 3 years, 2 months ago

    ur right m8 the 3ds has sold tons when u look at the system is not even close to showing consumers the real power of the console it needs AAA action and fps games to sell more units and it needs Mario but i agree the 3ds has sold 4 million in 1 month if it sold 1 million every month there after it would sell 15 million 1st year still way more than most if not all consoles

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  • wilko2603 3 years, 2 months ago

    I have the 3ds and the main reason i think the sales are slow is because there are no games at the moment its a pretty poor lineup of release titles although i am looking forward to zelda on the 3DS

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  • kamui 3 years, 2 months ago

    Yes, That's understandable really when they release a console with most of the features locked and not many good games to play, It'll shy a good amount of players away. They just won't be willing to pay money for a portable that doesn't have a good launch selection. Samurai Warriors was ok, But no everyone is going to love it, etc etc for the other games.

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  • Greg the Keg 3 years, 2 months ago

    Two things: not enough games, and not enough marketing. If it wasn't for this site and maybe one friend of mine mentioning it this one time, I wouldn't know it had even been released. And even knowing it's out there, there aren't any games that, even if I were a handheld gamer (I'm not), I'd be interested in. All this for $250, and it adds up to not the most attractive deal. Which is sad, since Nintendo has such a long legacy in the industry and should have this kind of thing down pat by now.

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  • Heavens_Blue 3 years, 2 months ago

    I don't think it's really surprising at all. Nintendo DS consumers have wised up. After releasing a new model of the original DS 3 times, they naturally assume that there will be a new model with a price drop in the next few years and by then there will be a greater variety in software and a better battery life.

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  • TheLordEspada 3 years, 2 months ago

    nice to see people are seeing how crap Nintendo really is and are now switching to real consoles

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    • BundleOfFunyuns 3 years, 2 months ago

      Yes, because eckbawx and PS3 are such flawless consoles. Don't act like the Wii is the only bad console, Mr. Derpicus.

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  • BundleOfFunyuns 3 years, 2 months ago

    Seems like Nintendo is doomed to go the way of Sega if it continues on this path. This new HD console could really make or break the company.

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  • SonyXp82 3 years, 2 months ago

    I vary nearly bought a 3DS last week when I seen it on Amazon for £165 + add a game for £10, there isn't really anything out yet for it that I really want & I know I'm best waiting. Although I wasn't impressed with it when I played on it at the launch event I went to & really don't feel it's worth the money, I think the word spread & once people had it for a while they weren't that impressed by it any more.

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