Nintendo 3DS

This Week In Sales: What Will You Do, Nintendo?


Period: The week of January 13th – January 19th (2014)

Top-seller: Kirby Triple Deluxe – 81,069

Nintendo 3DS sales: 15,045 | Total sales: 9,333,594

Nintendo 3DS XL sales: 32,393 | Total sales: 5,612,473

PlayStation Vita sales: 24,755 | Total sales: 2,403,449

Vita TV sales: 2,208 | 86,287

Wii U sales: 11,443 | Total sales: 1,602,164

<< Last week’s software sales chart


The week of January 13th was a slow one in Japan. Sales dropped across the board, marking the end of the holiday festivities and New Year gifting traditions. But what we’re interested in is sales of the Nintendo 3DS in particular.


Nintendo 3DS sales dropped to around 47,000 units for the week. That figure is about half of what 3DS sold during the same period in 2013. During the third week of 2013, Nintendo 3DS sold 81,855 units, and back then, it didn’t have the benefit of two extremely strong titles in Pokémon X/Y and Monster Hunter 4 backing it.


In fact, at that point in time, the 3DS hadn’t seen any significant new releases in three whole weeks. And yet, here we are, just a week after the release of Kirby Triple Deluxe, and the system is selling half of what it sold last year during this period. Furthermore, 3DS sales in 2013 were less than 3DS sales in 2012, too. And again, 2013 was the year of PokémonMonster Hunter and Puzzle & Dragons.


Now, let me point out that Kirby Triple Deluxe didn’t sell badly. It’s actually one of the highest-selling Kirby games in years. This indicates that the problem isn’t software. Games are selling well on 3DS all around. Companies like Square Enix, Atlus, Level 5 and Namco Bandai have seen a great deal of success debuting or reviving franchises on the platform, while others like Capcom have managed to move their existing portable franchises over seamlessly.


No, the problem is selling hardware. The fact that Kirby Triple Deluxe isn’t selling more Nintendo 3DS systems tells us that most people who want to play a game like Kirby already own the device. In fact, one could argue that, at this point, most people that are interested in Nintendo platformers own the system. As far as other audiences go, Nintendo 3DS also already has a Pokémon RPG. 3DS also already has a Monster Hunter. It also already has an Animal Crossing. And again, one can assume that the vast majority of people that want to play these games have likely already bought a Nintendo 3DS.


So, the question that naturally follows is: How does one grow the 3DS userbase further? When just about everyone that wants to play some of Japan’s biggest and best games already owns a Nintendo 3DS, what’s left?


Well, at some point, you need to start creating new genres to create entirely new audiences, the way Nintendo did with Brain Age. That’s easier said than done, though, so in the meantime, another solution must be found. And that solution is to go after existing audiences that may not have purchased a Nintendo 3DS yet.


My personal opinion for some time now has been that the audience that plays Final Fantasy is ripe for the picking. And when I say Final Fantasy, I mean spiky hair, teen drama and high production values. Maybe with Tetsuya Nomura’s art on it, just to really drive the “Final Fantasyness” home. Bravely Default is undoubtedly a fantastic RPG, and one that many people are looking forward to, but it’s not Final Fantasy and it doesn’t serve the modern Final Fantasy audience. And that audience is currently in need of a game to play.


Getting a Final Fantasy game on 3DS would have other benefits as well. It would create an opportunity for other games that share an audience with Final Fantasy. The people that play Tales of games, the people that play the Persona RPGs. Again, 3DS has Shin Megami Tensei and Persona Q, but those games don’t serve the audience that’s into anime-esque RPGs like Final Fantasy or Tales or the upcoming Persona 5.


To put things in perspective, Final Fantasy Type-0 sold close to 800,000 copies on the PSP. That game was released in 2011, and I’m willing to bet that an audience for a similar game still exists. It may not be as large as it was back in 2011, but it’s certainly there, and it’s a dedicated audience. Additionally, Final Fantasy is a strong brand in the west, too, where 3DS sales are dropping faster than in Japan. Giving Square Enix incentive to put a Final Fantasy RPG on the system would prove beneficial not just in Japan, but also in North America and Europe.


It isn’t a perfect solution, nor is it a permanent one, but it will address the problem of slowing 3DS sales to an extent. Putting just one strategically-developed and marketed Final Fantasy game on 3DS would reach out to an audience that doesn’t yet exist on the device and possibly encourage publishers to put out more software that appeals to that same audience. And right now, that’s what Nintendo needs—more people buying the device, and more people buying games.


Naturally, there’s a lot more to be said on the subject of Nintendo 3DS sales, but I’m going to stop here for now. And now, without further ado, here’s the top-20 software sales chart for last week:


Lw Tw Title Weekly Sales Total Sales Sys. Publisher
01. 01. Kirby: Triple Deluxe 81,069 295,276 3DS Nintendo
02. 02. Puzzle & Dragons Z 48,788 1,265,209 3DS GungHo
03. 03. Pokémon X and Y 23,600 3,893,725 3DS Pokémon Co.
07. 04. Youkai Watch 19,039 327,985 3DS Level 5
04. 05. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds 17,897 341,398 3DS Nintendo
08. 06. Sentouchuu: Survival Battle with the Legendary Ninjas 17,057 241,926 3DS Namco Bandai
06. 07. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster 14,026 255,759 PS3 Square Enix
05. 08. Monster Hunter 4 13,297 3,192,848 3DS Capcom
10. 09. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (Twin Pack) 12,805 207,212 PSV Square Enix
09. 10. Super Mario 3D World 10,500 463,020 WiiU Nintendo
11. 11. Animal Crossing: New Leaf 8,491 3,649,813 3DS Nintendo
13.  12. Grand Theft Auto V 7,381 682,216 PS3 Take 2
19. 13. Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 5,834 296,844 PS3 Konami
14. 14. Shin Dynasty Warriors Gundam 5,507 207,036 PS3 Namco Bandai
17. 15. Mario Kart 7 5,401 2,263,720 3DS Nintendo
18. 16. Shin Dynasty Warriors Gundam 5,352 103,234 PSV Namco Bandai
16. 17. Tomodachi Collection: New Life 5,334 1,651,030 3DS Nintendo
20. 18. Gran Turismo 6 5,081 302,433 PS3 Sony
15. 19. Inazuma Eleven Go Galaxy: Big Bang and Supernova 5,062 222,026 3DS Level 5
21. 20. New Super Mario Bros. 2 4,817 2,236,013 3DS Nintendo


Sales data acquired from 4Gamer, Media Create and

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.