3DS has lived a pretty tragic tale since its March 2011 release -- and it doesn't look like that's
changing anytime soon.
Nintendo announced poor first-quarter earnings in July, and largely blamed the poor sales of the 3DS. Between April and
June 2011, only 710,000 units were sold, which brought the total number sold to
4.32 million (830,000 in the U.S. total). This was disappointing for Nintendo,
considering it was hoping to sell this amount in the first few weeks of the
3DS' release. The company blamed a poor initial game lineup for the system's
In an effort to run damage control, Nintendo slashed the price of the 3DS
from $249.99 to $169.99 in August. It also offered a Nintendo 3DS Ambassador
program that allowed users to download certain games for free.
The effort appeared to be working -- Nintendo sold 215,000 3DS systems between August 8 and 14 in
Japan alone. This was pretty significant, considering the company sold 109,000
units in Japan in all of May 2011.
But that's where the success stops -- for now. Nintendo recently saw a 5
percent share slide as well as criticism from analysts who say gamers are happy
playing on mobile devices like smartphones instead, and that Nintendo doesn't
fulfill the gamers' needs anymore.
Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata announced that Nintendo will
release a significant game lineup starting the end of 2011 to the beginning of
2012. But analysts believe a better game lineup won't save the 3DS at this
"Nintendo succeeded by pulling in people who weren't gamers and
their needs now are no longer being fulfilled by Nintendo -- they are happy
playing games on their mobile phones," said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund
manager at Ichiyoshi Investment.
So far this year, Nintendo shares have plunged nearly 50 percent due to
3DS woes and doubts that the Wii U can be as successful as the Wii. Iwata took
a 50 percent pay cut while other executives took 20 to 30 percent pay cuts for
poor performance, and analysts have cut their full-year operating profit
forecasts for Nintendo by about 45 percent in the past month.
Despite the doom and gloom, Iwata marches on with hope that the 3DS
won't be a complete flop after a better game lineup is released.
"From the end of this year to the beginning of next, we are planning
the kind of extensive lineup that has probably never been seen before in the
history of video games," said Iwata. "We will make an all-out effort to see that the 3DS
sells enough to become the successor to the DS."
Rumors also circulated last month
that a second circle pad would be released for the 3DS, and that a whole new
portable system would be released in 2012.