SEPT. 16, 2014 • A week after Dairanto Smash Brothers (Super Smash Bros.) for the 3DS debuted in Japan, Nintendo Co. Ltd. disclosed that 1 million units of the handheld title had been sold domestically. That sales tally includes both retail and online digital distribution. Dairanto Smash Brothers becomes only the fourth 3DS title to break the 1 million sold threshold in seven days after Monster Hunter 4, Pocket Monster X & Y (Pokémon), and Youkai Watch 2: Ganso and Youkai Watch 2: Honke. Super Smash Bros. is set for a release in Europe and North America on October 3.
Impact: Many will spin this sales figure as a confirmation that handheld game systems still have relevance yet we see a somewhat deeper story. In this 1 million sold club are two monster capture and fighting franchises, one action RPG with monsters, plus a fighting game with a host of Nintendo characters featured. All four titles have active battle dynamics that would be difficult to play well on a mobile phone, and each game is thoroughly engrossing for long periods of time, unlike the vast majority of mobile entertainment titles. So yes, Super Smash Bros. proves the 3DS is still a relevant system but mostly because this title would be difficult to pull off on a smartphone. Another consideration is that Japan’s is a culture well suited to portable gaming of every variety. Handhelds and smartphones are seen as complementary in Japan. What’s more, the right franchise will sell portable consoles from Nintendo and Sony as we have seen in the past. This is a major reason why Sony’s PSP sold very well in Japan but much less so elsewhere in the world. We expect Super Smash Bros. will sell millions of units globally, yet not with the bullet trajectory as in Japan. Overall DFC Intelligence forecasts the market in 2014 for portable software for the dedicated systems to be about half of what it was at its peak in 2008.