by Anton Shilov
04/26/2011 | 10:10 PM
Even though initial sales of Nintendo 3DS portable video game system set records for the company in several ways, eventually popularity of 3DS dropped significantly and now shipments of the game console disappoint Nintendo. The reasons for slow adoption of the 3DS in Japan and the U.S. are more or less clear, but the company claims that it generally made mistakes with the launch.
Nintendo saw rapid decrease of popularity of its 3DS in all regions, including Europe, Japan and the U.S. But even in Japan the company does not completely blame the earthquake and disruptions with electricity for the loss of popularity of the console.
"The initial sales [in Japan] were healthy; however, the sales speed slowed down from the third week after its launch which is not what we had expected for the start-up transition. [...] The great earthquake largely affected the sales, but I should not blame this situation just on the impact of the earthquake," said Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo, during a conference call with investors.
Nintendo 3DS also started very well in the U.S., but, on the other hand, did not perform as expected after the second week. The same happened in Europe: the sales were high in the initial week, but sales fell below our expectations after the second week.
"Nintendo 3DS has not been selling as expected since the second week, and this is not just in the Japanese market but also in the United States and Europe, where no direct impact from the great earthquake has occurred. Therefore, we recognize that we are in a situation where we need to step up our efforts to further promote the spread of Nintendo 3DS," added Mr. Iwata.
The reasons for low popularity of Nintendo 3DS are not completely clear: this is the first portable game console with the auto-stereoscopic 3D screen which can play games for DS-series consoles. On the other hand, the system is not truly affordable, it competes against a number of rivals (DSi, PSP, smartphones), its launch lineup is not that strong. In general, Nintendo will need to popularize the 3DS among consumers as well as among third-party game designers in order to let the console truly take off.