Nintendo sold 400,000 3DS units during launch week

nintendo-3ds-650pxNintendo launched its 3DS handheld gaming device on March 27. While it resembles the company’s Nintendo DS on the outside, the guts of the 3DS represent an evolutionary step forward, particularly in the glasses-free 3D technology used to power the uppermost of its dual screens. Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime sat down recently to chat with USA Today about the new product launch, which he said saw just shy of 400,000 units sold during its first week in stores.

It was a good March for Nintendo’s other hardware as well. The company moved 290,000 units of its Wii gaming console and a total of 460,000 Nintendo DS’s, which is available in multiple models. These bring the total Nintendo hardware sold in North America over last month to 1.1 million, which Fils-Aime calls “a very strong March.”

While the 3DS opening week sales fall a bit short of the 500,000 sold the week of the 2004 Nintendo DS launch, Fils-Aime points out that the differing release windows make it impossible to compare the two. “It really is apples and oranges. When we launched DS we launched going right into the Thanksgiving week (in 2004),” he said. The day after Thanksgiving, known as “Black Friday,” is pegged as the busiest shopping day of the year and the first “official” one of the gift-giving holiday season. The Wii launched in the same holiday window as well.

The 3DS launch went more smoothly, with very few sellouts in comparison to the mad rush that accompanied the launches of both the DS and Wii. Fils-Aime pegs this disparity to the company’s past endeavors informing this latest launch. “I would characterize [the 3DS] as a launch where 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,” he explained.

“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. That strategy is why you didn’t see massive sellouts on Nintendo 3DS. 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.”

It’s an interesting shift in strategy for Nintendo. The past November launches pinned a lot of faith on the hardware selling itself during the crowded holiday season. By release the handheld in March, Nintendo caters primarily to early adopters. The list of launch games illustrates that; while there are some high-profile titles available, there’s nothing from Nintendo — yet — along the lines of a “Mario” or a “Zelda” game. By the time fall 2011 rolls around, a much more robust catalog of games will have been built up and word-of-mouth on the powerful little handheld will have spread. It’s a sensible strategy, even if it is a departure from other recent Nintendo launches, since the company will now have an idea of what the rush will be like going into the holiday season and can prepare accordingly.


This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

You're not a true fan without these Nintendo Switch exclusives

Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very best exclusives available right now.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Nintendo 2DS XL vs. Nintendo 3DS XL: Which handheld reigns supreme?

The 3DS family of systems hasn't shown any signs of letting up in the age of the Nintendo Switch. With the New Nintendo 2DS XL in the picture, let's compare the newcomer to the New Nintendo 3DS XL.

Here's our Champion's guide to picking the best character in Apex Legends

Apex Legends' use of heroes with different abilities helps separate it from other battle royale games. To help you choose your legend, we've put together a legend guide detailing their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

Transport your Nintendo Switch in style with these nifty cases

The Nintendo Switch, which boasts both wired and handheld modes, needs a good case to ensure it doesn't get beat up while you're on the go. We scoured through dozens of Switch cases to bring you the best ones.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

These are the best weapons for taking down mutants and bandits in Metro Exodus

Metro Exodus is a very difficult game, and choosing the right weapons is key for surviving the post-apocalyptic Russia that 4A Games has created. These are the best weapons in Metro Exodus.

Exotic Masterwork Weapons are in Destiny 2. Here's how to upgrade

Destiny 2's new Masterwork gear offers a number of special bonuses. Here is what you need to know about it, including how to find the gear in the game and even create it yourself.

How to keep a PS4 in your pocket with the PlayStation Mobile app

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

Razer Game Store to shut down at end of February, less than a year after opening

The Razer Game Store will shut down on February 28, less than a year after it opened. Games purchased from the digital store will continue to work, but purchased keys will need to be used before its closure.

Niantic promises to make Pokémon Go less troublesome for homeowners

Niantic is looking to settle the lawsuits filed by angry homeowners who were affected by hordes of Pokémon Go players trespassing on their properties. Niantic promised to resolve complaints within 15 days, among other things.

These Xbox One exclusives are the definition of quality over quantity

Xbox One has a prestigious collection of handpicked titles that you can't play on other consoles. Here are the latest and greatest Xbox One exclusives, including some that are also available on PC