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Nintendo 3DS Sells 371K In Japan After Two Days
Nintendo 3DS Sells 371K In Japan After Two Days
February 28, 2011 | By Eric Caoili

February 28, 2011 | By Eric Caoili
More: Console/PC

Debuting in Japan over the weekend, the Nintendo 3DS moved 371,326 units in just two days, while top-selling 3DS launch game Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle sold 117,589 copies during the same amount of time.

Japanese consumer site Famitsu, which published the numbers, previously recorded four-day sales of 441,485 units for the original DS and 67,653 for DS Lite, and two-day sales of 170,779 for DSi and 103,524 for DSi XL/LL. The original PSP sold 166,074 systems on its launch day, while PSP-2000 and 3000 shifted 263,538 and 155,720, respectively, in their first four days.

Nintendo initially stocked shops in Japan with more than 400,000 3DSes, and most locations quickly cleared their shelves on the first day, according to a report from Nihon Keizai Shimbun translated by Andriasang.

The platform holder will provide around 1.5 million systems to Japanese retailers within a month of the 3DS' launch, and is already sending out its next shipment.

The 3DS launched alongside eight games in Japan: Nintendo's Nintendogs + Cats (three editions), Level-5's Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle, Capcom's Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Tecmo Koei's Samurai Warriors: Chronicles, Taito's Bust-A-Move Universe, Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 3DS, Ubisoft's Combat of Giants and Ridge Racer 3D.

Though Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle will not release with the 3DS in North America (March 27) or Europe (March 25), Nintendo, which publishes the puzzle series in the West, will have two additional first-party games in the system's launch roster, Steel Diver (North American launch only) and Pilotwings Resort, to accompany Nintendogs + Cats.

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Kamruz Moslemi
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Well, this is it, Japan's journey into the next handheld console gaming generation has begun. I hope Japan's fragile handheld focused gaming industry will survive the shock of the heightened level of entry in terms of development budgets. Nintendo and SONY might stand to win as hardware makers in the short run, but games that are more expensive to develop added to a handheld market that was barely profitable for most before the bar was raised might spell disaster in the long run.

Mike Siciliano
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It doesn't seem like the development budgets are going to be that much higher. Renegade Kid has stated that the development costs for the 3DS are anywhere between DS levels and Wii levels:

So I think developers can do just fine with the handheld.

Ian Uniacke
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Fastest selling hand held console ever? Nintendo are DOOOOOOOMEEEED!!!

Carl Chavez
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Thought experiment time: given 20,000 opening-week sales, with a 50% drop in sales for the next 4 weeks, flat sales after the 5th week until the 10th week, and absolutely no sales after the 10th week, can a game in Japan make a profit?

20,000 + 10,000 + 5,000 + 2,500 + 1,250 + (625 * 5) = 41,875 sales.

Average sale price for a DS game:5,000 yen. Assume a 25% developer take after publisher and retail cuts, so 1,250 yen/sale.

Revenue: 52,343,750 yen.

Development costs for a modest game in Japan, based on a team of ten people who, when averaging their salaries, earn around 500,000 yen/month each (about $4k/month, since people in the Japanese game industry earn much less than their Western counterparts): 10 people * 500,000 yen/month * 10 month dev time = 50,000,000. Keep in mind that a modest game might not require that many full-time people working on it.

So, in this thought experiment, there's barely a profit and that doesn't even include marketing costs. However, I also cut off all sales after week 10, the labor costs may be overestimated, and I didn't even factor in overseas sales for games that have some international appeal. Additionally, if the 3DS' digital store capabilities have improved, a developer can get a better percentage of revenue by cutting out retail, which would help offset the additional dev costs and increase profit. In this thought experiment, if I increased the labor cost by 50% but increased the developer's share of revenue from 25% to 50% (assuming Nintendo takes only 30%, instead of retail's 50%), revenue would be 104 million yen and cost would be only 75 million yen.