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."