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Analyst: 3DS Sales Have 'Slowed Considerably' Since Launch
Analyst: 3DS Sales Have 'Slowed Considerably' Since Launch
April 11, 2011 | By Eric Caoili

Though the system moved a record number of units for a Nintendo handheld on its launch day in the U.S., sales for the 3DS have experienced a notable decline since, according to Lazard Capital Markets.

Nintendo of America introduced its latest, stereoscopic 3D-enabled portable on Mach 27 in the U.S., and while it declined to provide specific numbers, the company said the 3DS enjoyed the highest day-one sales of any handheld in its history. In Europe, the 3DS sold some 303,000 units on its opening weekend, and was the fastest selling Nintendo console ever in the U.K.

But Lazard believes that 3DS hardware sales in the U.S. have dropped since, as they have in Japan, where Sony's PSP has outsold the new system for the past two weeks.

The group's senior analyst Colin Sebastian said, "Based on our recent checks, we believe that sales of the 3DS have slowed considerably since the initial launch window."

"The Easter holiday could provide a near-term boost," he added. Sebastian also noted in his forecast for video game sales in March that the 3DS's launch launch last month provided "incremental traffic" to game stores, but he said that "the impact of new hardware platforms on software sales is more meaningful after they reach a larger installed base."

Other analysts predict that the 3DS sold anywhere from 500,000 to 750,000 systems last month in the U.S., and that the handheld will go on to sell 11.6 million units globally by the end of the calendar year and 70 million units worldwide by 2015 -- an impressive amount but smaller than the 91 million sold by the previous DS line at the same point in their sale cycles.

Sebastian provided his forecast for future Wii sales, too: "We believe that Nintendo is likely to consider additional console price/bundle offerings in order to stimulate Wii sales into the summer months."

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Christopher Totten
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Well of course sales slowed, the launch lineup has some cool titles but no total system sellers. The people that bought it day 1 are those who absolutely wanted the hardware itself. Now they need to bring out some awesome software.

If they system doesn't pick up when new Mario or Zelda titles come out...THEN that's something to worry about.

Chris Skuller
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Completely agree. I'm interested in the 3DS but so far nothing has come out that I'm interested in. Super Street Fighter 4 is cool (and looks great btw), but I already have that game for my 360 AND a tournament stick to play it on. Once Nintendo drops the big bombs I'll pick up a 3DS. For now my DS is still working great.

Jamie Mann
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I'd still like to see some concrete numbers on this - it's in line with what I predicted before Christmas, but given the earthquake in Japan (and continued aftershocks), I can't help but feel that Japan is a very poor litmus test for 3DS sales: if I was in a country which had just been hammered that hard, I'd probably want to avoid spending lots of money on expensive toys, but might instead be tempted to buy a cheaper handheld with lower-priced games.

In any case, it'll be interesting to see what happens when we finally do get confirmed figures for Europe and the US; the 3DS may have achieved record sale figures in the UK, but they still fell far below the predicted total (113,000 vs Nintendo's own expectations of 140,000 -
k-3ds-sales-figures). And according to VGChartz, total European sales fell by over 40% in the second week; sales in the UK alone fell by over 50%!

Eric Feliu
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Wow so much speculation, but no hard numbers. Kind of makes me question the headline and the author's intent. If you are going to speculate put that in the headline so at least you are being honest.

How about waiting for real numbers over a period of time more than a week or 2? Gamasutra articles are becoming less and less informative lately. Lots of speculation on sales figures with sensational headlines seems to be the norm of late.

Boss Higgins
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Really? First, the UK numbers are real. You might know that if you looked at the accompanying hyperlink. Second, the author isn't speculating at all, but the analysts they quote are. The title even points this out. Did you even read it?

Joe Cooper
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The gizmo excites me a lot.

But even if I weren't broke, I wouldn't pay 250$ 3DS right now with those games.

A PSP is a better buy if you don't already have one after all these years, and a lot of people don't. (Zing!)

Anyway, the price strikes me as pulling a Sony, even if Sony is charging more for their competing system. Perhaps Nintendo will not be too proud for their own good and will fix this.

Brad Borne
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Sure, it was great getting the PSP late in it's life, when it finally had enough games that I could buy them on the schedule of any other system's releases ;)

I think I just ran out again, though...

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3DS is a Dodo. Cartridges in app store world? $40 games in a $0.99 world? same form factor as the ageing DS? $250 ASP for a game only device when you can get a ipod Touch for less? DS software sales down over -20% last year and the 3D gimmick is going to radically change this trend?

Christopher Totten
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"Cartridges in app store world? $40 games in a $0.99 world?"

This statement incorrectly assumes that all games are created equal. A game like Angry Birds can only provide snack-sized bouts of gaming, versus a game like the upcoming remake of Ocarina of Time. Not only can people put major time into its original beefy quest, but there will be the Master Quest version and other extras that Nintendo has yet to reveal. Not to become an ad for the game, but that's what a $40 dollar game looks like.

And yes, some of us "Dodos" still like to hold our games in our hands and buy them in boxes.

Mike Siciliano
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Can I just ask a simple question that no one seems to answer?

Why is it that the 3DS cartridges are somehow completely anachronistic and a "bad" business model but $60 discs for the PS3 and Xbox 360 are not?

Why is it that nobody ever brings up those consoles when talking about this?

Kyle Orland
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Well, with a console you don't have to carry those discs around with you... they just sit in your entertainment center, so the physical size isn't a difference.

Mike Siciliano
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But T K didn't simply complain about cartridges or the size. He complained about the price. Since $50 and $60 games are still selling no problem on various consoles, I don't see how he can question selling $40 cartridges (at least not in the way he's doing it).

Also, cartridges has become progressively smaller since the Game Boy era, first with the Game Boy Advance, then with the DS. The 3DS keeps that small size, and considering how well the DS sold, I wouldn't say cartridges, based on their size or price, are out of place in the video game market.

Personally, I really like all those carrying cases companies come out with. The one I got for my 3DS looks like a CD wallet, which is neat.

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$60 dollar games @Mike? Those game can cost up to $90 dollars if you upgrade them.

DanielThomas MacInnes
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It's a bit early to proclaim the 3DS a failure. When December rolls around, then we can start throwing rocks. Personally, I'm impressed that it's sold as well as it has, given the high price point, the many cheaper alternatives (including the old DS Lite), and the fact that, for most peasants, the economy still sucks. And the economy is going to continue to suck for a very long time.

On the other hand, the 3DS really fubar's with my eyes. That's going to be a problem.

Steve Peterson
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It's worth noting that Nintendo projected sales of 4 million units worldwide for the 3DS through the end of their fiscal year (March 31); actual worldwide sales were less than 2 million units (836,000 in Japan, 303,000 in Europe, and between 500,000 and 750,000 in the US). When you hit less than 50% of your announced sales expectations, that's not a good thing. Nintendo has their work cut out for them to bring sales in line with their expectations.

I think the $250 price point is certainly a factor, as is the higher price of the games and the generally lackluster launch title lineup. A surprising lack of a strong marketing push may also have been a factor. All of these things are fixable, but it remains to be seen how Nintendo plans to address them.

Sony should be taking notes for their NGP launch, which will probably be an even more expensive device.

Mike Siciliano
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I agree with the points you brought up, but I do think that Nintendo is making a strong marketing push. I've seen numerous 3DS commercials on TV, tons of advertisements elsewhere, and I've spotted 3DS units at various stores.

Mark Morrison
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It was reported that Nintendo spends about $100 per unit in hard costs. If that's true this might be one of most profitable game hardware releases in history. How's that...let's say $100 profit after additional retail costs/deductions, gonna look X approx. 10M in 12 months? That's just for one new hardware product. Not a bad 2011 for Nintendo probably. Btw- I'm not a Nintendo fan boy or analyst groupie, but #s are #s.

Kostas Yiatilis
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On Sales:

2million units sold already X 100$ in profit is 200 million $ already. 2 weeks in.

That is only hardware, console developers also get percentages from each game sold (at least one per console).

Outselling the gb, gbc, ds etc is already an achievement. Just because they don't do the: "we have no more units" dance routine, doesn't mean it isn't good stuff.

On iPhone VS 3DS:

And of course most iPhone games (i have built a few) can't compare to most DS/3DS titles, thus the difference in price tag.

Plus the iPhone game price tag was largerly dictated by a rush of developers coming in and under-pricing in order to get into the market, which is probably what Nintendo wanted to avoid. In this economic system we live in you have to protect the prices in order to have quality, if you don't you have thousands of devs complaining it wasn't the goldmine they were promised.... which is what happened with the iphone, now it takes double the effort to rise above the sea of crap.

Of course 90$ is a bit steep and does not take into consideration the different economic status of a country. It's always a fight to get the balance.

Anyway I got COD MW2 legit, but from a retailer, same with BlacOps, cost 35euro, which is about 50$, when at the same time Steam had it 50euro (50% higher) and at the same time 50$ for the US market. Which is retarded of course....Same with DLC, alway priced the same amount, not the equivalent in euro.

35euro is a lot better than 50 and even better than 70 which is on consoles here....

So maybe they should get ther s h i t together.... Protecting on one hand, not stiffing customers on the other....

On promotion:

BTW I see TVSpots of the 3DS everyday here in Greece, which is usually an undervalued market due to Piracy, I guess DS did good (I got one for my sister...). It took years for XboxLive support to come here.