Well, talk about turning a corner. This coming Sunday marks the first anniversary of the Nintendo 3DS handheld’s launch in Japan. The unit has just crossed the five million sold mark, effectively making it the fastest selling piece of gaming hardware Nintendo has produced. Note that that is five million units sold – in other words out of retailers and into the hands of Japanese gamers. It also means that on average, just less than 14,000 3DS units were sold each day in Japan.
It’s taken Nintendo 52 weeks to sell this many 3DS handhelds in Japan. Previously, the Nintendo DS held the record for shifting five million units in 56 weeks; before that it was the Game Boy Advance with five million units in 58 weeks. This means that the 3DS has even beaten the Wii insofar as Japanese sales in the first year are concerned.
Nintendo has provided this graph, which represents the first five million units sold during the first year for each of its top performing platforms. Between weeks 22 to 25 you can see an initial, minor spike in sales for the 3DS – this more or less correlates to the price cut Nintendo initiated midway through August 2011. As for the gradual incline around weeks 34 to 37, well that’s when Super Mario 3D Land dropped.
It’s good to see that Nintendo has turned this whole thing around. While they undoubtedly lost money by slashing the price of the 3DS last year, they’ve managed the most important thing: getting the unit into as many hands as possible. Now it’s up to software sales to start bringing in the cash.
Guess this goes to show that price speaks louder than features. Well, in Japan at least.