Despite Great Games, Nintendo 3DS Sales In Japan Are Still Behind Last Year’s

By Ishaan . August 1, 2014 . 2:29pm

On July 10th, Level 5 released Yo-kai Watch 2 for the Nintendo 3DS, and the game sold over 1.3 million copies in its first week, making it one of the quickest million-sellers on the system. Needless to say, that’s a big deal and another feather in the 3DS’ cap. There’s just one problem—despite having one the most popular new franchises on the block, 3DS hardware sales this year are still tracking below 2013 in Japan.


From January 2013 – July 2013, the Nintendo 3DS sold 2.13 million units. It was aided by the release of games such as the original Yo-kai Watch, Dragon Quest VII, Tomodachi Life, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Shin Megami Tensei IV and a variety of other software.


From January 2014 – July 2014, however, the 3DS has only sold 1.24 million units. Like the first half of 2013, it has seen a variety of games released for it these past few months, including Yo-kai Watch 2, Dragon Quest Monsters 2, Kirby Triple Deluxe, Story of Seasons, Persona Q and more.


And that’s really the problem here—that, while the 3DS continues to see a rich line-up of software in Japan, the console’s sales aren’t really holding up as well as Nintendo would like for them to. During the week of Yo-kai Watch 2’s release, the 3DS sold 62,000 units. The week after that, it dropped back down to 37,000 units—not terrible, but certainly not as much as one might have hoped for.


So, what do you do when you’ve already got some of the best, most popular games on your device and hardware sales won’t increase? I’m not quite certain, frankly. There’s always the possibility of finding a new, untapped market to tap into, but naturally, this is far easier said than done, and at this point, it has become quite obvious that most “traditional games” aren’t up to the task. And again, this isn’t a matter of selling software—it’s a matter of selling more consoles, which is far harder.


Nintendo announced this week that it has sold 820,000 Nintendo 3DS consoles worldwide between April and June 2014, down from sales of 1.4 million during the same period in 2013. The company has also said that it plans to sell 12 million Nintendo 3DS consoles between March 2014 and April 2015, so it should be interesting to see if they can manage that figure.


Nintendo also noted in their earnings report that they expect “robust profits” from the Nintendo 3DS in the months to come, owing to the release of games like Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire. There’s no doubt that these games will sell well. However, to just what extent those games will affect 3DS hardware sales remains to be seen—especially in Japan, where the system’s sales are so far below last year’s and the industry in general looks quite unhealthy.


Games to keep an eye on in Japan during the latter part of the year include: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, Super Smash Bros. and Final Fantasy Explorers (which is scheduled for “Winter”). That’s a pretty good line-up, but we’ll have to wait until this Fall to see if it’s good enough.


That having been said, one move that is a distinct possibility in Japan is the release of the Nintendo 2DS, which hasn’t been made available in that region yet.


If the 2DS can be made available at an attractive price, it should theoretically help the system’s sales to some extent, by making it more accessible to consumers that tend to spend conservatively. Unfortunately, we’re seven months into 2014 already, so even if the 2DS were to be released in the near future, it would have its work cut out for it.


The other possibility, of course, is the introduction of a new Nintendo 3DS model. A “3DS Lite” or “3DSi” that is perhaps marketed to an audience Nintendo feel they haven’t yet captured. Marketing can play a big part in selling the same kind of device to different demographics. For instance, the Nintendo DSi XL was aimed largely at a senior audience, while the 3DS XL skews younger, despite the similarities in their design.


Either way, it’s time to make something happen. Nintendo 3DS software sales—both first and third-party—are doing great, but Nintendo is as much a hardware company as it is a software one.

Read more stories about & on Siliconera.

  • Land of Green Pasture

    well, nobody’s going to buy the same console twice, right? oh wait, it’s Japan..

    • Namuro

      Hey, I’m not in Japan, and I have 2 3DS.

      I’m also considering getting a third (US)…

      • otakumike

        Why are you guys buying so many 3DS’ s? >_>

        • Serge

          The question is not why… The question is why not?

    • klkAlexar

      I have bought 4 3DS…

      • Namuro

        You need to state that you’re not in Japan, too! :D

      • Land of Green Pasture

        good, now buy me one

    • AkuLord3

      Its not a Japan thing…wth

    • SakuStar Light

      <.< i bought 2 3ds and plan on buy one more wii u i seriously don't think that's a japan thing considering people buy allot of collectors edition consoles just saying.

    • I’ve got a Japanese 3DS and NA 3DS so….yeah.

  • Namuro

    Hey! Kumamon! He’s everywhere…that lil’ rascal.

    Well, that’s quite a challenge, 12 million… Let’s see if good ol’ Nintendo can achieve that.

    Also, I didn’t realized that 2DS is still isn’t available in Japan. I wonder if it will sell there. As for me, though, I might just get a third 3DS, if Nintendo were to release an i, or a lite model or something…

  • idrawrobots

    There are SO MANY parents still having their kids rock DSs in the US. There is so much untapped potential. I wonder if Japan is the same or not.

  • Grape Monet

    Nintendo isn’t going to put much effort into the 3DS anymore. Most of their first-party studios and partners have shifted to Wii U development – EAD’s teams have abandoned it completely. Codename: S.T.E.A.M. is the only confirmed first-party title in development, not counting localizations of games already available in Japan (like Fossil Fighters: Frontier), and that’s a 2015 game.

    Generally, when the software lineup looks barren after a few years, it usually means Nintendo has a new system coming relatively soon. Unless Nintendo has a secret surge of new titles for 3DS that they’re keeping under wraps, their current software lineup is a pretty good indicator that the 3DS’s successor will be available within the next couple of years.

    • $18114340

      While I can’t disagree given the DS’ history, I’m really hoping that it isn’t the case that Nintendo has a 3DS successor on the way. Frankly I’m not sure where they can even go from here, the handheld market is becoming increasingly niche and while I’m loathe to blame it entirely on mobile gaming you can’t deny that a large portion of the DS’ audience did move to those devices. Casual gaming isn’t sustainable and anybody expecting the 3DS to sell nearly as well as its predecessor was probably barking up the wrong tree. The question is, what happens now? The mobile market isn’t about to flock back to dedicated handheld devices and the subset of gamers that would consider buying a portable console isn’t being satisfied with a proper diversity of titles, I feel. Even though the 3DS and Vita have a great lineup of games, they’re mostly meant for specific audiences.

      I really feel like if Nintendo reveals their next portable system within the next two years it’ll be all too soon.

      • idrawrobots

        And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I think the 3DS is doing well. Look at those Yokai Watch 2 numbers! Smash and Pokémon will do well too, and other games in the future.
        The DS and Wii both happened to be “right place, right time” phenomena, and that will be hard to accomplish again.

        • HarakiriKami

          No, nintendo had a clear vision and executed on those vision’s brilliantly

          • idrawrobots

            If you believe that is the case, then why do you think Nintendo has failed to garner so many people that have moved on to smartphones and tablets, both on the consumer side and on the development side?

          • HarakiriKami

            Ah, I see, you dont understand why mobiles and tablets blew up did you?

            You can blame two companies for that actually.

            Apple and Nintendo.

            Why you ask? Cause Nintendo showed Apple the way.

            Lets go back to the gameboy, it was widely successful by following the idea of using aging technology in new, interesting and novel ways. This same business model was applied to the Wii, which is a modified gamecube with more stuff in it, the DS, which was basically an N64 missing one or two features with modern shaders and a range of other new features.

            Apple used this model and its why MP3’s and the Ipod blew up and left Sony in the dust. Since then Sony’s been trying to force their own proprietary models on people. The only one that worked is blu-ray. Its done quite a bit of damage to the Vita however.

            The advancements in screen and processor tech, driven by the winners in the current market, lead to the Iphone. The iPhone’s UI is rather similar to the Wii dont you think?

            And by that same estimation, the Iphone’s and the Wii’s advancements have lead to Occulus Rift and Project Morpheus.

            The 3DS’s and Wii u’s current issues are the fact that they’re too expensive and their are clear alternatives to them. Their clear strength is on the backs of software and typical handheld vs console values.

            The 3DS was conceived right when the iPhone was getting ready to release ( The 3DS uses modified Iphone processors mixed with Nintendo’s custom order devices. iOS didnt exist yet. The App Store has been rather intrinsic to the success of these machines, expanding their capabilities for amusement and utility.

            Handhelds used to be able to do both. Now handhelds are left to focus on doing “amusement” better than everything else on the market or they will not survive as phones are everywhere.

            They need hardware that can change and adapt as fast as phones can. The 3DS does not have that.

            The 3DS’s gimmick is also not that compelling to the mass market no matter how good it is. 3D TV’s failed. People really dont care about graphics.

            its not a device designed to exist in a post mobile world. And yet its sold nearly 45 million units worldwide in little under 3 years Japan’s been carrying most of the weight for the 3DS. That shows the attraction of the 3DS’s software to the Japanese market.

            Not so much elsewhere ( which is something Nintendo needs to address if they want to outsell the GBA, but again developers are focusing on mobile and that doesnt exactly help the 3DS. The Wii U is also not getting western AAA support in tangible amounts beyond Call of Duty from Activision and Xbox 360 up ports from Ubsioft ) (cause they’re cheap as hell)

          • idrawrobots

            There is a Nintendo thing happening at a local mall right now with a bunch of 3DS games and Mario Kart 8. I thought it was interesting that only 2DSs were being used. Even if it made sense it was still interesting.

      • darkflame

        Your correct that the insane numbers of DS owners didnt return for the 3DS, but that doesn’t mean they need to return – Nintendo handhelds can substain quite fine back at GBA/GBC/GB levels.

        And yes, far too soon for anything new.
        I just *really* hope Nintendos paying attention to the vaste range of HMD devices coming out. If theres a future in dedicated gaming, its in AR systems.
        The tech might take a few more years to be really suitable, but Metaglasses + Project Tango shows you could do real world pokemon in principle.

      • darke

        I don’t.

        The 3DS’s hardware is anemic in comparison to even cheap, throw-away smartphones. To get people to ‘downgrade’ you have to offer them something special which they can’t already get.

        If they want to buy a 3DS they can get one already, and surely with, what, 15 million of them in Japan they wouldn’t know someone with one they can try out and be evangelised to by?

        Nintendo’s coming out with a new ‘unified’ architecture between platforms, which seriously they should have had with their current generation given how hard they were trying to get 3rd parties onto the WiiU, so they’ll need to start rolling that out in a year or two since they’re getting curb stomped by even sony’s less-then-good online network and apparent easy of releasing on both home and portable consoles.

        Anyway, what’s wrong with them releasing new hardware? They seem to be the kings of backwards compatibility; just make the carts the same size/pinout as the 3DS, the hardware a bit more gruntier, and leave the price point the same and people will start upgrading because they can play all the old games and the new ones.

        Smartphones can somehow manage to do an annual hardware refresh to better hardware without increasing the price points; why can’t a huge company like nintendo not even be able to do that on a slightly regular basis, are 7-10 year release cycles really acceptable when there’s huge competition nipping at your heels?

    • Spirit Macardi

      “Codename: S.T.E.A.M. is the only confirmed first-party title in development”

      You mean aside from Smash Bros. and Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire?

      • Grape Monet

        Aside from that, yes; I should have specified. But after that, there’s nothing else besides Codename: S.T.E.A.M. Even if they have other games in development, it’s unusual for there to be only ONE announced 2015 game for 3DS. The fact that there aren’t that many 3DS games this year as the last few years isn’t helping any.

        • HarakiriKami

          Do you pay attention to when they announce their titles? It seems you dont or you’d have realized this was par for the course.

          People asked the same thing in 2012 and 2013 lol.

          There’s this thing called Nintendo directs.

          Nintendo’s been busy localizing software and third parties have been keeping their cadence of releases up

      • The only NEW title confirmed. You know we’ve known about Smash Bros. for years, and Pokemon remakes for a long time as well.

        They’re not announcing new stuff, is the point. And that’s bad.

      • darke

        Pokemon’s a remake which will sell to people who already like pokemon, 99% of which already own a 3DS. This isn’t going to really increase the market sales of the hardware which is what this article is about.

    • You’re saying the exact opposite of what Nintendo has been saying for the past six months–that 3DS is their primary profit driver, and now that they have 45 million of them in homes, they can continue to roll out software and profit off of the software side.

      It makes no sense whatsoever for them to relinquish their 3DS market and shift focus to the Wii U. The games on Wii U are going to be more expensive to develop and will sell less. Why would they do that?

      Now, that isn’t to say they won’t develop Wii U games at all. Obviously, they will–but you will see far more 3DS games from them than Wii U.

      The fact that Codename Steam is the only announced first-party game for 2015 has more to do with the PR cycle. Right now, Nintendo’s job is to focus on Smash and Pokémon and everything else coming out this year. Once that rush of games is over, then they’ll talk about 2015. But for now, it’s all hands on deck for the Fall line-up.

      • Grape Monet

        Their actions aren’t matching up with what they’ve been saying. They said that this year would be a “harvest year” for the 3DS but they have fewer games this year than last, even though they have Smash Bros. and Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (and those might be enough) and the 3DS’ sales continue to shrink. Looking at their software lineup for 2014 and 2015, it appears that the vast majority of their development teams are working on Wii U now, not 3DS. It would be incredibly strange to have that many more 3DS games in development yet only have one brand-new game announced for 2015.

        • I think all consoles operate that way. One year has a large number of games, and the year after focuses on a smaller handful of major titles. Then the year after that goes back to spraying wider again, and so on. That’s just how development cycles work.

          Without turning this into a giant list, off the top of my head, the 3DS’ potential line-up for 2015 already looks pretty massive, between first and third-party support.

          I agree, 2014 may not exactly have lived up to the “harvest year” talk, but I don’t think it’s owing to a lack of games being developed internally. More just that they’re choosing to space certain titles out and focus on Pokémon and Smash.

          • Grape Monet

            It’s true that consoles can have a relatively light year, then a crowded release schedule next year; the Wii certainly had this. But again, having only ONE new 3DS game announced for 2015 is not a good sign. Obviously, it won’t be the only game Nintendo puts on 3DS next year, but it doesn’t look good. They have no reason to hide other 3DS titles they plan on releasing next year, because it would give a terrible impression on the future of the system. What else is there for 2015? That Pikachu detective game? There’s some good third party games coming like Bravely Second (I hope) but it doesn’t look like there’s a lot left.

          • HarakiriKami

            Nintendo doesnt announce games till they’re like, in the year they’re ready to release, we didnt know the 3DS’s lineup for 2013 that year till E3. Fire Emblem was the only thing we knew of previously.

            Most 3DS games have had a 6 month turn around from announcement to release

            Besides that theres a lot of third party games. Lots of niche stuff too. So a really wide diverse range of software

          • LightZero

            Exactly. I don’t get what this person is talking about. Nintendo always focus on the games that are closer to being release. We will learn what they got in store for the 3DS next year towards the end of the year.

          • HarakiriKami

            Heck there’s a ton of titles that are coming out in the later half of the year.

            Nintendo’s pretty much published like 2 or 3 games a month themselves for the 3DS throughout the entire year

  • KotaroInugami

    Smash Brothers… Need more be said?

    • Eder García

      smash is not that big in Japan

      • HarakiriKami

        In what lala land do you live in ?

  • otakumike

    I think smash will sell well on 3DS but it’ll wind up eating into the WiiU’s profits. Smash used to make me go buy Nintendo consoles, now I can just pick it up on 3DS. It’s a double-edged sword…help 3DS, hurt WiiU.

    • SakuStar Light

      not true it will help both let me ask you If your on the go do you think smash bros will be fun as well while riding in a car or waiting 2-3 days to go home an play?

      • NintendoPSXTheSecond

        Nah, I’m pretty much with the other guy. Smash should’ve stayed on Console. I’m still super pissed that stages are exclusive and the best stages from the best games are restricted to the 3DS when I would’ve loved to see them in HD.

        • SakuStar Light

          honestly that a good thing i mean its like this. Xbox has a fighting game that has master chief on it and the same exact game has kratos on it as exclusive and they both share one similar guest star you know.

          • Kris

            Master Chief isn’t in any fighters… There’s a female Spartan in Dead or Alive 4, but that’s about as close as he’s gotten. Kratos has shown up in Soul Calibur Broken Destiny, Mortal Kombat, and Playstation All Stars Battle Royale, but there wasn’t any equivalent in 360 MK.

            That said, I think there are good things about having exclusive stages in Smash 3DS. The New Super Mario Bros. 2 stage has players collect a hundred coins for a bit of invincibility. Each player has their coin readout on their screen, so part of the strategy was getting that last coin at the right time, unbeknownst to your opponent. You can’t really do that on consoles without cluttering the UI. I’m more excited for the Wii U Smash, but the 3DS one has its place.

          • SakuStar Light

            noooo ur reading into this wrong listen and stop assuming jesus can you read. Im using it as an example a fighting game comes out with chief same fighting games has kratos both are console exclusive and the game has the same content as both with a guest star. Its like smash it has exclusive stages for 3ds/wii and shares same stages for something

            Stop tying to twist stuff. Its really annoying and its a form of trolling so please stop.

          • Zero_Destiny

            Yeah no, let’s tone that down. Mistakes happen, and Kris is raising some honest points. Tl;DR Don’t harass Kris, ‘kay.

          • SakuStar Light

            -.- im not im stating a point and its getting twisted around which is annoying.

          • Zero_Destiny

            No. You are. If you can’t control yourself and talk to the other members of the community with respect then there’s the door.

            Just like with Kris and and few others here you have been disrespectful, dismissive, and childish. Be mindful of the others when you talk, we’re here to have actual discussions, not get caught up in “he said, she said” or “defending our honor,” or anything else silly, and childish like that.

            Look dude, just chill. (*^ワ^*) We don’t need people jumping all over each other.

          • SakuStar Light

            -.- um yeah i tend to be not my problem people lash out cause they dont like others views just as you have done.

          • Zero_Destiny

            “jesus can you read”

            “Stop tying to twist stuff. Its really annoying and its a form of trolling so please stop.”

            Do I even really need to explain, any more? Look, you’re warned.

            Don’t attack other people and accuse them of things. If you really felt you were misunderstood then explain rationally and not act like a child. You didn’t need to accuse someone of trolling and insult their intelligence. I’m not carrying this any farther. Be mindful of the community.


    • xPhoenixMoon

      All I know is they need to start showing off what is exclusive to the Wii U version to entice more new customers. Sakurai said they have something special for the Wii U, yet every time we hear something about Smash it is always for the 3DS instead.

      So why wouldn’t most people buy it on 3DS, one: more people have 3DS’s than Wii U’s, two: it is cheaper and three: as it stands sadly the 3DS version has more content.

      • ronin4life

        They want to pimp the version coming out first, not over-shadow it with the WiiU versions’ exclusive content.

        We will hear more about the WiiU version the closer we get to the 3DS versions launch, and then even more the farther away from that and towards the WiiU versions’ release.

  • James Enk

    i find the state of the video game market in Japan sad

    • SakuStar Light

      just wondering but why is that?

      • James Enk

        now? xD

        • SakuStar Light

          o-o well yeah im curious about it lol

          • James Enk

            ive edited my previous comment(sry it’s late here) . the market is shrinking and moves to smartphones. i like Japanese console games if there is no market for them devs will stop making them and i will get depressed xD

          • SakuStar Light

            i can understand that.

          • Because all sales for hardware and software are piss poor in the country, across the board, consistently.

            They used to be the second most important market for video games in the world. No.1 back in the 80’s during the Atari Crash here in the West. Now? They’re pathetic. And tons of games are failing, while a lot of hardware is barely moving off of shelves.

            Watch the Media Create Sales no. every week when Siliconera posts them. They’re AWFUL. Most games struggle to move above 5 thousand copies per week. 70% of lifetime sales are achieved in Week 1, while 10% are sold on Week 2. Siliconera found that out while looking at Toukiden earlier this week:


            There are tons of games who can’t even make it to 100k units sold, let alone a million. It’s taken until July this year for any game to do it in Japan (Yokai Watch 2) – that’s BAD.

          • David García Abril

            Actually, that’s something that’s pretty much going on all over the world. :(

            We’re in the middle of the second console crash. It’s just that people seem to be too polite to point it out.

          • xPhoenixMoon

            PS4 says hello, at least it is one system that shows we aren’t there yet. Yea in Japan but every where else it is selling exceptionally.

            Sony couldn’t have made a smarter move releasing it in America first, could you imagine the position they would be in if they did in Japan?

          • David García Abril

            PS4 had a very strong launch, but it’s loosing steam by the minute. Not to mention that it barely sells games.

            Worse, XBox One sells LESS than the Wii U world wide now (It only sells more in the US and the UK)

            And even without taking all those things into acount, console sales combined are nowhere near the levels of the same point in the previous generation (roughly, 2007).

          • xPhoenixMoon

            I don’t see why people compare the Wii U and Xbox One sales, one has been out for months the other for two years.

            Not really an Xbox One fan but I have a Wii U and even I will say that is a pretty ridiculous comparison to make.

            I could understand if they had both been out as long as one another but there is a big difference between two years and a couple months.

            I also don’t see how it isn’t selling games when the PS4 has some of the best selling titles this year along with Nintendo.

          • David García Abril

            By your logic, then we shouldn’t be comparing Wii U and PS4 either.

            Or we are only to compare them when it’s convenient?

          • xPhoenixMoon

            Yea and as I’ve pointed out numerous times, markets change and people have to adapt to those changes, the fact that people thought these systems would always sell as much as they did before is absurd and these people need to learn a thing or two about business if that’s the case.

            As usual you people are using time periods when consoles and handhelds had no real competition. Let me ask you, what came out shortly after that? Exactly.

            That is as if Ford were to complain about how they sold more cars in the 50’s than they do now. Yea well no shit, look at all the car makers we have now.

          • David García Abril

            “Markets change”? Well, whoopie doo!

            That doesn’t really counter my point, you know?

            We’re still going in a direction that could potentially send to a REAL dark age. In many ways, we’re already there.

          • PreyMantis

            I hate to admit it, but the PS4 may be selling; however, it’s far from well. The hype might have built the high sales, but it is now loosing that steam. It’s not making even in Japan, now.

          • xPhoenixMoon

            It is very good for the competition that exists in the electronics market now. You really can’t expect things to sell like they did before anymore, there is too much competition. The fact it is even selling as much as it is with the smartphone and tablet craze at an all time high is very good.

            The PS4 has never been selling in Japan. That is nothing new.

          • Domii

            It’s actually doing phenomenal. Look up Sony’s latest financial reports and you’ll see. The industry is fine. PS4s success keeps proving it.

          • HarakiriKami

            Have you see its software sales?

          • SakuStar Light

            ah ok thank you

          • HarakiriKami

            Japan’s still like, the second biggest individual territory for game sales.

            The fact is gaming as a whole has gone into the shitter and it gets supported by western tentpole franchises that if they didnt exist, the industry would be fucked

    • xPhoenixMoon

      For consoles it is very sad but yea it sure isn’t like the golden age of gaming but with all the smartphone madness going around which never seems to be stopping, I don’t see it getting any better from here on out.

      They are going to have to do something amazing to show people that they need to stop burying their heads in their phones all day. Me personally, I will never understand why people are so obsessed with their phones now, by far the dumbest trend I have ever seen.

      So sick of going out and all you see is people looking at their phones constantly. Even more disgusting seeing parents buying these super young kids $600-$700 phones and tablets to play with.

  • Spirit Macardi

    I’m guessing a big part of this is that pretty much everyone who wants a 3DS has one at this point. Plus there hasn’t been any serious revision of the product since the XL version (not counting the 2DS, since it doesn’t add anything new).

    I still have my original blue 3DS and haven’t felt any need to upgrade, plus it still works just as well now as the day I bought it. The only reason I’d get a new one is if they came out with a new model that had a second analog pad built-in, or some other unique feature like TV-out for the top screen.

    • Link

      2DS hasnt even been released in Japan yet.

  • NeptuniasBeard

    Well, did you really expect it to sell MORE at this point? Anyway, it doesn’t seem that bad. They are still selling, they just seem to have reach their apex, there is not many reasonable things they can do about that aside from releasing a new system. And considering the fact that the Vita is their main competition (in the handheld department ), they don’t have to worry so much about 3rd party deserting them

  • The Vita is more of a contender this year in Japan , could have something to do with it

    • ronin4life

      It may be just the opposite too; 3ds has cooled down, allowing Vita to gain traction in the first place.

    • HarakiriKami

      The Vita doesnt have the momentum for that

  • Afternoon Intergalactic

    Being a poor student with little income I was still able to fork over the $90 for a 2DS and then some for Fire Emblem. It may be small, but there is a demographic that the 2DS appeals to, and it may just help those over in Japan as well.

  • Shippoyasha

    I just want devs to make games that sounds interesting and pursue that.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about sales of hardware personally. Capitalism’s major fault is that it expects constant growth no matter how unfeasible it may be. Besides, most titles still are aiming for higher sales. It’s not like there is a deadlock of all games selling like Pokemon and there being a problem of the hardware not selling less than it should.

    • darkflame

      “. Capitalism’s major fault is that it expects constant growth no matter how unfeasible it may be.”

      Or, in a world of finite lifespans and finite sources, utterly impossible in the long term.

    • ronin4life

      That fault is not inherent only in Capitalism at all- just more visible perhaps.

      That is wholly a matter of basic human arrogance that super-cedes economic organization.

  • darkflame

    How about release a 3DS with a vastly better camera?
    Thats the main flaw with the system imho. The size is fine, the games good, the specs still hold up.
    But the picture quality is terrible, and the low-light performance makes playing any AR games a real pain.

    Release one with a better camera, and at the same time a bunch of camera related software. Market it as the 3DSi (“eye” get it? get it?)

    • xPhoenixMoon

      Yea that will sell more gaming systems, a better camera and camera related software….. Cause you know, that is what people buy gaming systems for.

      • darkflame

        How many people bought the Wii for Wii Fit and Wii Sports?
        How many the DS for Brain Training?

        The market isnt that simple.
        Especially not when theres plenty of overlap and shades of grey between what is software and whats a game.
        I quite enjoyed playing with Mario Paint, back in the day.

    • Alter

      1) better sensor cost more
      2) without strong CPU playing AR games with higher resolution camera = Disaster

      • darkflame

        1) Not really. Every year better sensors get cheaper, as well as all the other chips getting cheaper too.

        2) You dont process the full resolution. This really isnt a issue (trust me I have developed AR software on phones myself). The 3DS had a decent enough processing power for this – its ahead of many phones that have done it for years. (not as good as the most recent phones, but certainly comparable to older smartphones).
        The problem as it stands is the 3DS’s camera on a hardware level returns horrible amounts of noise, making it very sensitive to light levels and theres nothing software developers can do to fix it.
        I tried playing the Chibi-Robo! Photo demo other day. Cute, fun idea…rendered nearly unplayable due to dodgy image recognition of the camera feed.

  • Domii

    Can the answer to expanding 3DS profitability be in the Eshop? For some reason I feel like Nintendo has a huge on tap potential there. I don’t have a 3DS so I could be wrong about the value they offer in the Eshop with services and indie games. Am I wrong here?

    • British_Otaku

      They are definitely making a profit on the 3DS in all forms. Probably selling systems for a profit by now, the games are cheap to develop but reach a massive install base and there is even a bigger library of Japanese 3DS eShop games and software than the other regions from what I can tell (despite tons of games being missing from WayForward and others). The value on offer is pretty good too.

      Slower system sales isn’t promising, but they are definitely still safe though a new model could help out maybe.

      • Domii

        Do they have a premium version of the Eshop like PSN or just a standard free service? Because as unpopular as it may be for us hardcore gamers, they can look at a premium service in order to offset the stagnation of 3DS sales. If done right it can be very profitable for Nintendo just like PSN plus has been for Sony.

        • Nagi

          if it was eshop problems i would say that adding credit via credit card requires a zip for either canadian or us residence for tax which makes it inconvenient if they made it global and not limit it i bet they would sell more :X

          • HarakiriKami

            That’s hardly an issue

          • Nagi

            depends on where you are :X

        • British_Otaku

          They have or had an a Nintendo Network Premium thing for the Wii U, but it seemed to be a free subscription done early in the system’s life which means you get better points returns for your games, nothing really like PS+ which asks you to pay for services including vanilla ones like online but gives you free games.

          At best, they have like three sales running for the Japanese 3DS right now. >_>

      • David García Abril

        The problem is that handheld games are approaching rapidly to the same point home console games were during the early-to-mid 2000s (end of Console Generation 6, beginning of Console Generation 7), which was when they started to become really expensive to develop.

        Sure, they’re way cheaper than a PS4, or even a late-PS3 game, but that doesn’t mean they are really “cheap” on their own right.

        That’s why it’s so worrying that sales aren’t growing, since the installed base may be too small to sustain these systems.

        We’re not there yet, but we might soon…

  • xPhoenixMoon

    Honestly I don’t see the problem, I think the 3DS has about sold as much as it can in Japan during this time period, so the only way it can go now is down from here. I mean seriously just about every person in Japan probably has one and if they don’t there are probably so many in circulation there isn’t much need to purchase them brand spanking new anymore.

    Makes sense to me

    • David García Abril

      It is a HUGE problem because making games nowadays is crazy expensive and it’s more and more difficult to make a profit, or even to break even. Handhelds are on the exact same track as home consoles, just with 5 years or so behind.

      And if the potential market is shrinking, that’s a recipe for disaster.

      BTW, the smartphone and tablet market also has a huge profitability problem, albeit for different reasons.

  • Eder García

    there’s one reason: PS Vita
    both Vita and 3DS has amazing library in Japan, but the Vita library is more attractive for the japanese hardcore gamer because they are sure that a biggest franchise like Final Fantasy, a better Persona, God Eater, a better Musou, and better Anime games are not going to be on the 3DS which is causing ninty’s portable to sell less. the 3DS is not a good system (yes, i said that), but, putting aside 1st party games, Nintendo is playing this game so well, for example securing Monster Hunter exclusivity helped a lot by attracting PS only gamers and Level 5’s jackpot called Youkai Watch, what would happened if Nintendo decided to say no to this franchise?
    is not like the 3DS is not selling, is just a strong competitor is in town

    • Serge

      “there’s one reason: PS Vita”

      I don’t know, If that were the reason Vita’s sales would be higher than the 3DS, and in the whole year that only happened in two weeks.

      For example, a lot of people take the Vita as a console to play Niche games or HD remakes and not “biggest franchises” like you’re saying.
      ¿Kingdom Hearts? 3DS
      ¿Final Fantasy? 3DS
      ¿Monster Hunter? 3DS
      ¿Shin Megami Tensei? 3DS
      ¿Metal Gear? 3DS

    • Monterossa

      True. 3DS is not a good system. very poor graphics and online network. It’s a success because of Nintendo paid for third party publishers to make good games for them. I have a 3DS but still want to play many 3DS games on the Vita for better graphics. like Senran Kagura, a fanservice game that pixelated and look like crap. It’s a waste to have these games on the 3DS but the publishers decide to hug this system because it can be guaranteed to make more money. now the Vita is doing better in Japan and more good games keep coming. I hope the Vita will beat the 3DS someday and force Nintendo to create a more powerful handheld already, their 3DS is printing money but it’s outdated.

      • Eder García

        nothing will change if the Vita defeats the 3DS in Japan and nothing will happen if franchises like Senran Kagura leaves Nintendo consoles… it happened before (Final Fantasy) Nintendo is just going to be Nintendo.

      • HarakiriKami

        Not a good system? Lol.

        Is it not the only Glasses free 3D screen on the market? ( I assume they’ve been added to phones since the 3DS’s release at some point

        The Vita is at 3 million units sold. The 3DS is at 15 million. Stop living in a pipe fantasy as the mobile market is eating up a lot of the handheld marketshare.

        Less devs are making games for handhelds and consoles due to mobile.

    • Chris Chan

      pretty much agreed

      the vita blows the shit out of the 3DS graphics. (Disclaimer: I have both systems so I’m not just talking out of my ass).
      Sure, the 3DS might have some good series, such as monster hunter, smash bros and metal gear, but honestly, I’d rather play that on my vita due to the nicer graphics. Nintendo really should stop relying on franchises to make sales and up their hardware so the franchises can create better looking games. Graphics don’t break a game, but it sure as hell makes it

      • Eder García

        graphics means nothing… we talking about Japan and the Playstation brand, if the Vita has the same 3DS hardware specifics it would be the same situation right now

      • HarakiriKami

        3D= having to render an image twice = 800 x 240 p display

        Vita games lack some depth in their image, but the quality is higher due to the HD screen

    • There are a couple of things wrong with this theory. First, you’re assuming that the people buying a Vita don’t already own a 3DS. I would actually imagine that a large portion of the Vita audience owns 3DSes already. Those added Vita sales aren’t coming at the expense of the 3DS.

      The second issue is that this “hardcore gamer” audience you’re talking about is negligible. Furthermore, the Vita isn’t selling to hardcore gamers, it’s selling to anime enthusiasts and people that want to try hunting games in addition to Monster Hunter. In fact, that latter genre is the only thing that has proven capable of selling Vitas.

      what would happened if Nintendo decided to say no to this [Yo-kai Watch]?

      Absolutely nothing would happen. The whole point of the article was that Yo-kai Watch isn’t making a difference to 3DS hardware sales to a great extent. 3DS would still have Dragon Quest, Monster Hunter, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Ace Attorney, Bravely Default, SMT, Persona Q and long list of other popular franchises. And that isn’t even counting first-party support.

      • Eder García

        for me hardcore gamer and anime enthusiasts in Japan are the same, looks like we have different point of view.
        about gamers in Japan owning both handhelds, you have a point, but lets consider that Monster Hunter is the main reason why this is happening and not because they want to complete the gaming experience by owning both 3DS and Vita

        • I’m going to have to disagree on both points. The anime enthusiast market cannot be the hardcore gamer market because the anime enthusiast market is far more casual and far smaller. This is plainly visible just by looking at the kind of games that are made for that audience.

          Anime games tend to be focused more on visual presentation rather than gameplay, and there’s very little challenge or experimentation within that market. The kinds of games that get made are fairly straightforward, often feature a healthy helping of fanservice, and sell to roughly the same people over and over. In fact, most anime games don’t even break the 150,000 barrier on Vita, unless they’re things like J-Stars or One Piece or SAO. That audience is tiny and if it played a significant role in hardware sales, Vita would already be outselling 3DS.

          The “hardcore gamer” market is the kind of people that Bravely Default and Shin Megami Tensei are trying to go after. People that are interested in a wide variety of genres, don’t mind a bit of challenge, and tend to be more attracted to games focused on gameplay rather than because they look visually appealing or contain elements of fanservice. They don’t need anime-style visuals (they’ll buy things like Dark Souls or Grand Theft Auto V).

          lets consider that Monster Hunter is the main reason why this is happening

          I’ve said this before, but hardcore Monster Hunter fans are just that—Monster Hunter fans. They’ll go where the game is and hold no loyalties to any platform in particular.

          Meanwhile, the rest of Monster Hunter’s audience is the mainstream market, and those people were never going to buy a Vita anyway. The closest thing Vita has to a “mainstream” game is God Eater, and even that overlaps significantly with the anime market because that’s just Namco’s area of expertise.

          Other reasons I can think of for Vita owners also owning 3DSes: Persona Q, One Piece Unlimited World: Red, Kingdom Hearts 3D, Senran Kagura. And those are just off the top of my head.

          • Eder García

            thanks for telling me the difference between Anime gamers and hardcore gamers in Japan.

    • michel

      Vita can surely be seen as “superior”, but it’s selling too poorly to think that it’s truly damaging 3DS sales. I suspect that the real damage to 3DS sales volumes is being done by the smartphones with those Gree and Mobage free games.

      • Eder García

        i am ignoring the fact that mobile games are killing traditional gaming in Japan

    • Jadfish

      after saying no to Final Fantasy VII back in the day, Nintendo is determined not to do the same mistake again.

    • HarakiriKami

      The Vita has nothing on the 3DS lol.

  • ronin4life

    At this point, an upgraded 3ds to attract CURRENT 3ds owners would probably be at least a part of any plan to attract more customers if not the main factor itself.

    2DS and 3DSXL are already the alternates that can attract new audiences, and I am willing to bet many have bought OG 3ds and are just waiting for a better upgrade than the current ‘revisions’ provide. Hell, the XL has been around a while now too; many of those owners may be wanting an upgrade.

    That said, even if I was right this would be a quick patch that would wear off in a few months/years… and THAT said, by then a brand new handheld may be warranted.

  • Happy Gamer

    I think this is true for ALL systems. I don’t think it makes sense if sales are increasing steadily for years on end. If everyone has the system, shouldn’t it start to decrease in sales? I don’t know much about sales but just guessing.

    And upgraded 3ds would definitely be viable but I don’t think Nintendo is that kind of company. They keep it minimalist, and if they feel it will benefit the small crowd, then I have a feeling they won’t make a dual analogue, high res system for example…….unless they bundled it with a MH game haha.

  • Andrés González

    People already got a 3DS, of course sales gonna go down.

    • Logic isn’t allowed here.

    • Eric

      I thought the EXACT same thing.

    • HarakiriKami

      Yeah the 3DS is already outpacing the GBA in Japan. Nintendo needs to increase the 3DS’s sales in the west and get Japan another 3DS revision.

  • HarakiriKami

    It’s been 2 years since Japan’s had a 3DS revision.

    Its time they get one. 3DSi launched aside Pokemon ORAS please.

    Upgrade to that and drop the price of the other 3DS’s as its time to get the late adopters on board for the systems last two or three years before it gets replaced

    • triablos

      the DSi was a DS lite but with a camera, ishop and browser.

      The 3ds doesn’t have any of these so they could make an i revision..


      • HarakiriKami

        Okay lets call it

        3DS: Creme De Le Croix

        • triablos

          You know, now that I think about it there’s not really a lot of things they could do for a 3ds revision without somewhat damaging the base (I.e second circle pad) other than the size of the screens

          • HarakiriKami

            They could make a longer and slimmer 3DS, add another circle pad if they think it can fit, change the speakers/screen. Maybe make one with modular control slots

          • triablos

            So basically just changing the size being anything noteworthy

            I mean no ones gonna a say “I gotta get me that new 3ds, it has new speakers!”

            As for second circle pad, I think its too late, and would probably piss a lot of people off if a game requires it. (Yeah, I know, get a CPP, but people will be people)

          • HarakiriKami

            No game on the 3DS is gonna require it.

  • Daniel Jeanbaptiste

    PS Vita took some potential sales by becoming a real competitor in Japan for 3DS with the must have games on Vita.

    but then again it could be the same people.

    • HarakiriKami

      In lala land sure.

  • jon

    I think 3ds popularity is decreasing and people want to play or try another kind of games.Nintendo will always has its public, it’s so big,and there is also the children one.The same that they are buying Yo-kai Watch because of its anime.And that reflects those 44 million of units sold.But even with that big numbers,3ds has not the support of big companies.At least those ones you should expect for a handheld with 44 million of users.
    Market is changing and Nintendo 3ds had its great years,but they are finishing.I wish 3ds had more variety of games,but if you look at them they’re pretty similar in art concept,gameplay,design,etc Nintendo is too conservative.

    • HarakiriKami

      In what land does the 3DS not have a wide variety of games?

      • jon

        In this one ;) 3ds has sold many units,but its catalogue is not the reflect of those sales.You can be happy with sales,you can say it has great games,but 3ds has not variety.3ds even has not the support of West companies.People think 3ds is a mega handheld,but it’s not true if you see Ds or psp.The 3ds fame is more high than its catalogue.Popularity.

        • HarakiriKami


          I’ve Rpgs from Atlus and Nintendo, I’ve got fighters from capcom namco,tecmo and arcsys, Capcom has churned out all manners of action games on the thing from EX Troopers to Monster Hunter , namco is shovelling out all their anime games on the thing, nintendo’s shovelling out all their games on this thing besides what they’ve got exclusively on Wii U, I’ve got a shit load of games from a variety of niche developers that are only on the Eshop. Visual Novels and Black Jack games galore.

          And that’s just in the west. The 3DS has nearly twice as much software available in Japan than as the west. The Japanese eshop is full of budget software, visual novels and all interesting varieties of software.

          The 3DS has a ton of games that arent even localized

          Hell I imported like 50 or 60 games of Ami ami already. And downloaded another 30 apps of the Japanese eshop.

          If all you like is western AAA franchises, I dont know why you have a handheld.Nobody’s putting that on the 3DS Vita or Mobile. Those resources benefit consoles way more to get to their bottom line.

          If you like games, the 3DS suits you just fine. There’s literally something for everybody on that system.

          Hell do y’all remember what came out on that system in its first year? I bet you dont. Nope. People can only remember the 12 titles from 2013 with heavy marketing lol.

          • jon

            But you forget 3ds is a locked system.I can’t buy all those Japanese games you are talking about ,because they can’t be used in a western 3ds.American or European eshops are pretty bad.And if I talk about prices it’s insane,both:digital and retail.
            3ds has great games that’s true of course.But if you see its games,almost everything is the same art.The same design.Even a Persona game uses that style.I’m tired of that.I want different games,I don’t want to play Animal crossing and then play Bravely default (both great games)and look the same artistic concept.And if you see 3ds catalogue is always like that.
            3ds catalogue is:jrpg,Nintendo games,action rpg.And this is not variety.Look at Pokemon’s remake this fall.God!Why Nintendo don’t try something new.I know they want to sell games but man…
            3ds had a lot of luck,it’s a handheld where make games are cheaper because of its hardware.Japanese developers don’t want to spend a lot of money making games and 3ds is perfect for that.Capcom knew that and MH made a “easier life” to 3ds.And now Yo-kai watch(after its anime) fits perfectly in 3ds too.
            3ds is far from be the “mega handheld” people is talking about.It’s a good one but things could be much better.Look at this year,it’s really poor about games,and I’d wish more people talk about it.And I talk about west because that’s a problem of a handheld with region lock.

          • KaiYamato

            *Shrugs* I don’t think I’ll be complaining about the massive amount of JRPG especially after their absence for several years. I’ll take that over FPS from consoles. Plus they’re very popular in handheld formats compared to consoles which is why most companies put RPGs on it.

            And Hoenn remake was high on demand for several years. At least they’re putting new content this time.

            To each and their own I guess.

          • Göran Isacson

            Just to clarify, when you say “same artistic concept”, do you mean the whole “super-deformed characters with stubby arms and big heads”-thing?

          • Shippoyasha

            Funny thing is, SD does fit the 3DS system quite well considering its low resolution (I think the screen resolution is actually lower than the PSP’s) and the 3D effect can utilize the SD proportions better.

          • Göran Isacson

            Quite true, I guess I’m mostly just curious if they’re not a fan of SD proportions to begin with… but I kinda feel like the only platform that really has a healthy mix of graphic looks right now is the PC. PS4 and One has a glut of realistic games, 3DS mostly SD proportions and cartoony styles…

            NOw of course there ARE other kinds of games for those formats, but those examples are kinda rare unless you’re talking PC. That’s just about the only platform I can think of where you have cubism, realism, cartoony, SD, expressionism etc, in multiple titles, not just “the one title besides the popular style”-syndrome the othe platforms sort of suffer from.

          • Shippoyasha

            Well, the Vita is pretty vibrant all around and it’s great that a lot of anime characters look largely like their proportions they had in the manga/anime. Not to mention really dour stuff like Soul Sacrifice as well.

            Handhelds really need to go high def, 1080p minimum. There’s a ton of mobile/phone games that have some pretty amazing styles utilized as a result. I’m pretty sure some visuals on my Note 2 looks better than some major console games. At least it’s far sharper.

          • jon

            Yes.Your description is perfect.90% of 3ds games use this kind of art.I’m tired of that.

          • Göran Isacson

            Mmm, pretty much what I thought. I do agree that there’s been a lot of that on the 3DS. Only problem is that it seems to be a problem in most consoles, that they are “ruled” by one type of art-style. Realism for the big consoles, superdeformed for 3DS. The only format right now that has a really good and broad mixture of looks, so that one look doesn’t completely overtake the other, is the PC.

        • HarakiriKami


          I’ve Rpgs from Atlus and Nintendo, I’ve got fighters from capcom namco,tecmo and arcsys, Capcom has churned out all manners of action games on the thing from EX Troopers to Monster Hunter , namco is shovelling out all their anime games on the thing, nintendo’s shovelling out all their games on this thing besides what they’ve got exclusively on Wii U, I’ve got a shit load of games from a variety of niche developers that are only on the Eshop. Visual Novels and Black Jack games galore.

          And that’s just in the west. The 3DS has nearly twice as much software available in Japan than as the west. The Japanese eshop is full of budget software, visual novels and all interesting varieties of software.

          The 3DS has a ton of games that arent even localized

          Hell I imported like 50 or 60 games of Ami ami already. And downloaded another 30 apps of the Japanese eshop.

          If all you like is western AAA franchises, I dont know why you have a handheld.Nobody’s putting that on the 3DS Vita or Mobile. Those resources benefit consoles way more to get to their bottom line.

          If you like games, the 3DS suits you just fine. There’s literally something for everybody on that system.

          Hell do y’all remember what came out on that system in its first year? I bet you dont. Nope. People can only remember the 12 titles from 2013 with heavy marketing lol.

  • Jadfish

    Smartphones and tablets are blowing the 3DS out of the casual battleground, where Mario and Pokemon were once THE go to franchises for kids and young adults. People in Japan used to play on handheld systems on public transportation, but now they play on smartphones.

    Hell, I had to explain how to use a controller the other day to my 10 year old cousin! He lacked a lot of hand to eye coordination since he was used to touching the screen directly, causing him to look down on the controller all the friggin time.

    Just…. god damn it.

    • TheBlackRabbit

      It is the natural progression over there. I believe it will be the same over here soon enough. I don’t believe it is inherently bad. I mean smart phones are so much more over there than here. It is the perfect environment for it too.

  • Tincho D

    Mobile fucking gaming

    • HarakiriKami

      Well yah, the 3DS is not the DS,but hey its gonna outsell the PSP’s 20 million in japan when all is said and done

  • the best solution
    >create new limited colors
    >create a Pokemon crossing/tomodachi

  • The Snail Arcana

    This could be due to the sales tax increase over there. Japan was buying stuff like crazy before the tax hikes.

  • SaiyanJedi_Trunks

    It sounds like oversaturation and the turn of many Japanese gamers to mobile gaming.

  • mckun

    Japan loves those iphones.

  • Duc PC-QB

    How about 4DS next year Nintendo ?

    • HarakiriKami

      Would they have software for it? Otherwise its gonna be the 3DS all over again and that leads to diminishing returns(sales)

      • Duc PC-QB

        Of course they must to, first release next FE, new Mario Pokemon Mentroid FZero StarFox Zelda,… after that force the 3rd party to make KH4 FFXVI MH5 and Youkai Watch 3 !

        • HarakiriKami

          XD. Yeah not gonna happen.

          And what’s the hardware level going to be? Stronger than the Vita?

          New handheld in 2016 imo. New Console in 2017/2018

  • Quizler

    I would totally buy a 3DSi, I’ve had the launch model with the screen bumping and worse button material. the A and B buttons are dying on me, I want an upgrade, but the 3DSXL is too big for my pockets.

    • shuyai

      really i think 3DSXL is much better and should fit just about any pocket. after using 3DSXL the normal 3DS feel way too small and primitive to me. its like after using a big android phone and going back to iphone

    • Tylor Boreas Makimoto

      Girl pockets? I personally don’t have a ton of trouble getting my XL into a pocket when I need to, but I also alternate between my back, front, and messenger bag’s front pocket.

  • Black Heaven

    I guess sales has to slow down sooner or later.
    They already sold 44.1 Million! >_<

    Everyone who wants a 3DS already has one. Unless it breaks down or something, I don't think people have a reason to buy another, unless they want to buy 2 for Pokemon and trade Charizards for Diglets.

    • Haganeren

      Well, they didn’t even reached the GBA sales which was considered “not that good” at the time so it’s a little too soon for sales to slow down, i think.


    I think its time for an HDS model. Crisp, sharp screen, smoother functioning UI, overclocked with anti aliasing and beats audio equalizer. F it, they should make a “Build your own!” website! From button color to speakers, Nintendo would be genious to capitalize on this one. Thank me later, Iwata San

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