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
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 Pokémon, Monster 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|