Interesting Tidbits About the Nintendo DS And Nintendo 3DS Launches In Japan

By Ishaan . March 4, 2011 . 9:01am

The Nintendo 3DS launched in Japan last Saturday, which means that Japanese sales tracker, Media-Create, only recorded two days worth of sales. Since most games in Japan release on Thursdays, four days is usually considered a “proper week” of sales.


In its first two days on the market, the Nintendo 3DS sold 374,764 units, Media-Create report. For every Nintendo 3DS system that was sold, consumers bought 0.95 games for the system on average. This means that not everyone that bought a 3DS purchased a game along with it.


When the original Nintendo DS launched, it had a better software attach rate, possibly as a result of more high-profile Nintendo brands being available at launch. While the highest-selling Nintendo 3DS launch game was Level 5’s Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle at 119,591 units, the original DS launched with Super Mario 64 DS, which sold 151,000 units and WarioWare: Touched! was close behind at 149,000 units.


For every Nintendo DS system that was sold at launch, consumers bought 1.04 games on average, Media-Create say. In addition to the fact that Media-Create only recorded two days of 3DS sales, another reason for the system’s lower software attach rate could be the pack-in software in the form of its augmented reality games.

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  • Well this is pretty grim news, the first two big selling titles for the DS sold nearly 85% of the 3DS games. I guess Nintendo needs to quickly find a way to avert continuing declines in their viability of selling and providing an environment to successfully sale handhelds software in their age of continual market decline.

    • On the contrary. Despite costing ~$100 more than the DS and launching with an arguably weaker lineup (Layton is big, but not Mario big), it still pulled similar figures in half the time (3DS – 374,764 in two days compared to the DS – 469,000 in four days).

      I’d say that’s pretty good. We’ll have to wait and see how it does in the coming weeks though.

    • Zero_Destiny

      Age of Decline? Are you on drugs? Nintendo has been doing great this past gen with both Wii and DS sales being really profitable and selling in big numbers. Likewise the 3DS games have only been out for two days cost way more than the DS games and aren’t as big hitters as the DS launch and Nintendo was able to get 85% of them sold. That’s amazing. I mean Nintendo pretty much [email protected] their Japanese launch and still sold a lot. Seriously do you read the articles sometimes. Or do you just look for “grim news” in an article and post about it? Jesh I have no idea how you think Nintendo is declining or why they need to start worrying about their 3DS launch.

      • He’s just trolling as usually!
        More expensive handheld, with more expensive games.
        Has almost the same launch, and attach rate.
        This is not news worthy, but is reported so fanboys can have something to talk about! Oh No the 3DS is going to be a failure! Really?

        • You are placing words in my mouth. The article supports the idea that they are in an age of decline (3DS has a lower attach rate than the DS did). Price is of no concern as well, for the market for videogame has grown since the DS launched, thus more people available and willing to buy games and be interested in it.

          Im not trolling, the numbers are just speaking for themselves.

      • You should realize by now that when it comes to Nintendo and most things even remotely related to Nintendo at least, he’s a troll.

        • Zero_Destiny

          I don’t know how you can talk about Mario Bros and Zelda. Love Pokémon, and love Golden Sun and yet not be a Nintendo fan? *sigh* I really should learn that Sawada is a special case. I want to think he’s not a troll. He’s put out some good comments here and there and has sparked some real debates (and not just a Justin B Lady G kind of debate). But comments like this. :( Makes me real sad to think that.

          • Im quite sure Im the sites biggest Nintendo fan; at least Im willing to let the numbers speak for themselves, lol.

          • Altritter

            The site’s biggest Nintendo fan? Are you being serious? You say you haven’t even played a single Zelda game, and you also abhor games without flashy graphics and voice acting, which most of the best Nintendo games don’t have. Something tells me you’re full of it.

          • Zero_Destiny

            I didn’t know numbers spoke stupid. Must of been wrong my whole life thinking numbers were reliable and didn’t mouth off dumb things. Must of missed that in Math class. A master of ENGLISH and MATH. Man your expertise never cease to amaze me!!! Keep up the good work oh smart one. I look forward to hearing stories about you Mr. Next Einstein.

          • You can love parts of something without loving the whole.
            I love Zelda, GBC/GBA, SNES/N64/GCN, but I hate DS/Wii and what Nintendo’s done to gaming with them. And I love the 3DS.

          • alundra311

            Replying to you here.

            “I didn’t know numbers spoke stupid.”

            This sentence reminded me of this. Thank you. Lol. XD


      • Nintendo latest earnings for the past two years have been on decline, with even their most recent one stating their profits are down 74% Year over year, with sales of their hardware decreasing. Clearly, that is proof enough that they are in an age of decline. Sure, they are still pulling in profit, but with such huge profit loss, they have an isshu on their hands.

        I do not think cost is of consequence in this statement, as Nintendo stated themselves, that, people view their pricepoint as a bargain as many were expecting 50-200$ more of it and that games are just slightly costlier than DS games, furthermore, with the videogame market expanding since the release of the DS, there are more videogamers in the market and therefore more people for the product to be marketed too.

        I did read the article, didnt the article state that the 3DS had the inferior hardware attach ratio in comparison to the DS.

        • All you’re doing is jumping to conclusions based on partial figures. The article states that only two days of sales were counted for the 3DS as opposed to four days (that is 2 + 2 in case there’s some sort of misunderstanding here…) for the original DS.

      • PrinceHeir

        well just as you said in the PE article. he has multiple personalities :P for now he’s on a troll side and later on he’ll be the “Day 1 Baby” in later articles :)

        good to see 3DS doing great :)

        i’ll probably wait for a year or 2 though to purchase one. need some more games :P

        • Zero_Destiny

          Yeah it’s initial line-up isn’t too great I’ll wait for the red 3DS to come out!!! :D The summer line-up is looking to be pretty good though with Devil Survivor and Zelda 3DS. Still not too many games. I’ll just keep waiting and save up my money in the meantime.

  • I don’t see how this really matter, the 3DS has build in software and the AR cards, as mentioned above. The original DS didn’t come with anything most of the time, I know they had the Mario bundle because I got that one but I don’t recall anymore bundle packs. Overall though I think the whole reason behind not selling a game with each system is because of the built in features and whatnot. IMO I think they’re cool, however I still bought two games because I wanted them not because of the 3D aspect. The whole reason why I’m getting a 3DS is because of the titles that will be released on it and the VC, not because of the 3D. I could care less, it’s just a perk to me. Besides, I feel that this article is unnecessary because the number is 0.95 compared to 1.04…only a 0.09 difference. Not significant enough to me, but that’s just my take on things. I think Nintendo will do well no matter what. It’s Nintendo.

    • I just want to point out that we only post articles like these with the aim of informing our readers and making them more aware of the business side of things on Siliconera, no other reason.

      At the end of the day, this is the kind of information that helps put things in perspective later on down the road when certain decisions are made by a publisher. That’s also why we do our weekly sales posts and look at investor reports. A lot of that information helps people better understand why publishers make the decisions they do sometimes, and I think understanding/acceptance is important. :)

      • Barrit

        And knowing is half the battle!

      • Oh no Ishaan, I meant no harm to Siliconera, nor you. I’m glad that you try your best to inform the fans of what goes on during the business meetings and the sales rankings, etc. I appreciate it. I just feel that Media-Create and also Tsunayaosi stressed the statistic too much. I mean not every company is always going to have a hit console/handheld at launch, I mean look at Sony with the PSPGo. It’s understandable. So I applaud you and Siliconera for continuing to keep me, and others, up to date on sales and what’s going on behind the big business doors.

        I also meant to point out to Tsunayoshi that this news is not grim, it could even have a positive standing. Although Nintendo isn’t selling as many games per 3DS this time around, this may be because of the content the 3DS already has packed into it. This is my personal prediction. I mean honestly, it’s got so many perks to it that one doesn’t even require a game to enjoy the 3DS.

        That’s just my view on things though. I see Nintendo always having a successful future in video gaming. =)

        • Ahh, I see! I’m sorry I misunderstood. :)

          Well…certain people will always choose to skim over articles without bothering to read or think first, unfortunately. I also think that a lot of people just like to complain more about Nintendo than any other company, just because they aren’t solely focused on making “traditional” games.

          There’s also the people who love to complain about how they want something “new,” and then tend to wave anything new (Wii, Kinect, 3DS, Netflix…the list goes on) off as a gimmick and complain about it.

          There’s also a lot of very vocal Sony fans that dislike seeing the shift that’s taken place over the last few years. I mean, look at the people slamming the 3DS when they barely know anything about the NGP or what kind of software support it’ll get and how much it’ll cost. :p

          • Joanna

            Ishaan, I love you!
            Thank you for vocalizing all the complaints I’ve been having with a few Siliconera posters. Honestly it’s only a very few people, but I feel like they get a kick out of complaining about everything and anything Nintendo related. I didn’t voice this earlier because I felt maybe my partiality to Nintendo could be affecting how I’m taking some of these posts. Although I will say that after you told people to stop with the port/console whining, the site’s atmosphere has improved a lot. :)

          • T-that’s a strong word, Joanna-san!

            Thanks though. We really want to keep the community open to all kinds of people, and I’m super glad you still come to post on here, even though it seems like your life’s been really busy lately. :)

          • Joanna

            But Ishaan-sempai, I really admire you. ^///////^

            Yeah, life’s been really hectic for me. I’m hoping to get a little more time for myself in April, but we’ll see how that pans out.

        • kylehyde

          I know how you feel. Personally I agree with you, the initial 3DS numbers were pretty great, specially considering that the salesmover on the nintendo consoles generally are first party titles, and in this occasion most of the launch titles were third party games because nintendo is keeping their big guns for not hurting them.

          Unfortunately fatalistic reactions are going to be there for every statement that can be intepreted (or misinterpreted) in a negative way, even if the writter of the article didn’t mean to point a bad situation.

        • Well Nintendo should still be concerned…because at this rate they may have to lower their earnings for their handheld market, if 3DS sales do not, pick up and match DS sales. Though I guess it provides guidance on the future that so much on board content should not be included at launch since people may not buy games; or maybe that Nintendo should instead focus on bringing out their most big name most popular game series to be at a consoles launch.

          • kylehyde

            I think that you didn’t read the reason why nintendo hold his horses at launch, and that was because many third party publishers were worried about their games get passed by the people in favor of the 1st party software, and of course considering that few launch titles were worth it I think that they were really generous. But the big guns are there is just that they are gonna release it later.

            Also, what grim situation are you talking? They sold 374,764 units in 2 days 374,764 of 400,000. Every videogame manufacturer would sale his/her soul for numbers like that. Also as the article pointed before, the DS counted with a better launch, even with that “handicap” (which was explained many times in many sites) they make really good numbers. So instead of blow your mind many times for almost everything (devil survivor oveclock, EBA, jb winning the gram…. oh wait a moment, that was esperanza spalding, my bad, and other things), give a good read to the article

      • Joanna

        I really appreciate these business oriented posts. I’ve learned a lot from them and I hope you keep doing them as well as those localization blog posts from NISA, XSEED, Aksys, etc. I really appreciate this about Siliconera and I’ve never seen a gaming news site with such close ties to the actual publishers (even if they are smaller companies compared to the juggernauts like SquareEnix, Capcom, Konami, Sega, etc.) So thanks everyone at Siliconera. :)

  • kyuketsukimiyu

    It’s possible that part of the reason not everyone bought a 3d title for it is also because of the backwards compatibility. I know that it has more graphical power than just displaying in 3D, but I think a lot of people kind of see it as a DS + 3D and I think that 3D alone is not enough to make people buy a title they may not have before. I am sure software rates will be fine in the long run, as it gains support.
    Incidentaly, I have no plans to buy a game with my 3DS that I have had preordered since the first day preorders were announced. And no titles have been announced yet for the US that feel like a must buy for me.

    • Aoshi00

      No US titles interest me at this moment either other than the Jpn Layton.. even though I want to see the cool 3D effect, but I’ve alrdy played enough SF4/Super on 360/PS3…

      I’m waiting on ebay to get a Jpn Aqua one if I could catch a reasonable price (below $300-350), instead of $400-500… I’m willing to pay $50 more (or $100 max) to play Jpn 3DS games, eventually Love Plus :) But it would suck to miss out on the cheaper US games and Netflix… Still have tons to play though, just started Gyakuten Kenji 2, so far so good, and I was so lazy all this time I still haven’t finished Devil’s Flute.

  • Tokyo Guy

    I have a few other interesting “tidbits” about the launch:

    1. The 3DS could be found in stock 24 hours after release, at major electronics stores in Tokyo. This absolutely stunned me because I can’t recall a single time when this happened with any other console. There were reports that Nintendo made a second shipment which would explain it.

    2. The 3DS is not in demand…at all. This is equally shocking because the DS Lite was beyond sought after for MONTHS after release. Some of you may even recall how the overseas launch was postponed because Nintendo couldn’t make enough for Japan.

    Specifically, Amazon Japan sellers have been selling the 3DS with zero profit for some time now, and even the USED game stores are selling the console under the retail price. Again, this might go back to the idea of Nintendo shipping enough units to satisfy the demand and thus deliberately seek to prevent second hand profits.

    3. Based on the first two facts I mentioned, it’s clear the 3DS hasn’t really taken off here. I blame it entirely on the shortcomings of the console itself (i.e. the price and the battery) and on the horrible software offering. I recall people attacking me for saying such when Siliconera posted a story about the launch titles some weeks ago, and yet lo and behold my point was valid: the launch titles aren’t moving units.

    It remains to be seen if/when the sales will pick up. I suspect once a key game releases things will change, but it might also be that sales won’t really skyrocket until either a price cut happens, or the hardware revision comes out. (It’s worthwhile to note that the DS didn’t really enjoy mass sales until the DS Lite).

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