FEB. 27, 2011 • The Nintendo 3DS went on sale in Japan for ¥25,000 yen ($300). An estimated 400,000 units were shipped in for the launch. By March 31, Nintendo expects to sell 1.5 million units in the country. Japan had a head start on Europe and the U.S. where the new 3D handheld released a month later. Amazon U.K. reported that it had received more pre-orders for the 3DS than any other game console. While not divulging the raw number, Amazon U.K. said the 3DS achieved 20% more pre-orders than Sony’s PlayStation 3, 56% more than the Nintendo Wii, and 255% more than the Nintendo DSi.
Impact: Through March 31 Nintendo had been forecasting it would ship 4 million 3DS units worldwide. To put that into perspective the Nintendo Wii launched in November 2006 and by December 31, 3.2 million units had shipped. Over four months after launch the total Wii units shipped was still only 5.8 million units. In other words, with the 3DS there was clearly not an issue of supply shortages. This has led many commentators to wonder if the system underperformed since it was not sold out. Our take is absolutely not. The 3DS is a hot new hardware product that is attracting early adopters in what could turn out to be record numbers. The big issue will come in the fall when holiday sales start to heat up and the initial buzz has died down.