Nintendo said it learned "significant lessons" from the shortages during Wii's launch, and made efforts to stage supply for the newly debuted 3DS enabling it to sell nearly 400,000 systems in a week in the U.S.
"We had product going direct to store and we also had product in retailers (distribution centers), so they could easily replenish when they had stores running low on inventory," explained Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime in an interview with USA Today.
"We learned significant lessons from the launch of Wii and we made sure to have not only ample supply in the marketplace, but we staged supply so it would not sell out. ... That strategy is why you didn't see massive sellouts on Nintendo 3DS," he said.
The 3DS's nearly 400,000 one-week U.S. launch sales, the release of Pokemon Black and White, and the sale of more than 460,000 DS and DSi systems helped make last month the best-selling March in Nintendo of America's portable hardware business history.
Some point out that the original DS model that launched in 2004 sold 480,000 units during its first week and a half on the market, but Fils-Aime argues that comparing the 3DS launch with its predecessor's is like comparing apples and oranges.
"When we launched DS, we launched going right into the Thanksgiving week (in 2004). From a pure timing seasonality, you are not going to be able to compare the two launches," the executive argued.
He went on to say that Nintendo is "very satisfied" with the 3DS's launch so far, and that the company expects the new console's momentum to build when it launches its online eShop, 3D trailers for Hollywood films, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, and Netflix support in the coming months.
Fils-Aime added, "Obviously, a sell-through of 400,000 units in one week is exceptional. And the fact that we achieved that without people being worried about massive stockouts and shortages just underscored how we properly executed our supply chain."