While Nintendo’s Wii U has struggled to win over even a fraction of the consumers who purchased the original Wii, the company has had far greater success with its handheld division, where the 3DS currently sits virtually uncontested as the king of the portable space. The system has just reached 15 million sales, bolstered by strong software support and the recent launch of the New 3DS XL.
This milestone puts the 3DS in the same group as several other massively successful Nintendo handhelds, including the original Game Boy, the Game Boy Advance, and the DS, which the company refers to as “the best-selling video game system ever in the United States.”
This claim is, however, slightly misleading. The original Game Boy and the DS have both sold well over 100 million units each — the DS has sold more than 150 million, in fact. Of course, those consoles were released long before mobile devices were seen as a viable gaming platform. The fact that the 3DS’s games have managed to find such large audiences in the face of the mobile gaming explosion makes its success all the more impressive. Last year’s Pokémon remakes, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, have sold nearly 10 million units, while the recently released The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D has already sold more than 2 million.
“With more great games on the way and a hardware system for every type of gamer, 2015 is shaping up to be one of the stronger years yet for Nintendo 3DS in the United States,” said Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing Scott Moffitt.
The 3DS games confirmed for a 2015 release are currently few and far between, but recent consoles ports to the handheld such as Xenoblade Chronicles and the newly-leaked Hyrule Warriors set the 3DS apart from mobile phones as a serious gaming platform. We’ll know significantly more about the company’s 3DS plans for the rest of 2015 after the Nintendo Direct presentation at E3 next week.