Why is the Nintendo 3DS being outsold by the DS?

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It’s the superior console with tens of millions worth of marketing and advertising being thrown at it, packing this year’s must have feature; glasses free 3D visuals?

So why then is the brand-spanking-new Nintendo 3DS being outsold by its 6 year old predecessor, the Nintendo DS? Over the course of the month of March, only 400,000 3DS consoles were sold compared to 460,000 DS handhelds in the US.

It’s a trend that has worried some analysts, who are already predicting that the latest handheld in a lineage that reaches right back to the first Gameboy may well end up being a bit of a flop. Even worse is news that the console is being returned in its droves to exchange shops in Japan, a traditionally staunchly loyal Nintendo territory.

There are a few reasons for this relatively slow start to the console’s life. We’ll have a quick look at them below.

1) Media Coverage: It’s no revelation to say that tabloid newspapers like The Sun regularly massage facts to suit their inflammatory needs, but there has been worldwide reporting of dizziness and headaches caused by the 3DS. While it’s certainly affected some users, the fact is that only a tiny minority of players have had any grumbles at all.

As Nintendo UK Head of Communications Robert Saunders said:

“As with anything that requires focus, from reading to staring at a computer screen, taking frequent breaks is always recommended. When viewing any kind of 3D images (TV, movies etc.), some people might experience minor discomfort. The effects are short term and have no lasting effect. In fact most players can continue after taking a short break. The Nintendo 3D was designed with a 3D depth slider that lets users adjust the 3D effect to a level that suits them for optimum enjoyment.”

Despite that, it’s still likely that some gamers have been put off by the reports.

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2) Pricing: Despite being available for around a reasonable $250 / £200, the 3DS is still far more expensive than the DSi console, which costs just about $150/ £100. That’s a fair amount of money saved in these penny-pinching times and when paired with the massive catalogue of DS titles readily available, a very appealing prospect. Which leads on to the next point…

3) 3DS launch titles: In a nutshell, there aren’t enough 3DS titles out there grabbing gamer’s attentions, and the ones that are available are, to be quite honest, mostly rubbish. Apart from PilotWings Resort, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and, if you’re into cutesy kiddy stuff, Nintendogs 3DS, there really isn’t much to write home about right now. Which again leads on to the next point…

4)Those bloody Pokemon: The eternally popular Pokemon franchise saw the launch of its latest DS title just before 3DS launch week, in the shape of the actually-rather-good Pokemon Black and Pokemon White games. Why Nintendo chose to a) release such a high profile game on its previous generation platform at the same time as its new toy and b) not fast track it into some sort of 3DS game, is beyond me. A series like Pokemon could shift a good number of consoles by itself anyway, and likely caused a good number of new owners to join the DS fold.

Either way, it’s all money going to line Nintendo’s pockets. And with the E3 games show just around the corner, you can be sure Nintendo will reveal a fair few more reasons why gamers should pick up their latest handheld then.

Gerald Lynch

10 comments

  • Most people dont even know that the 3ds is out yet, and nintendo need to sell 150million DS’s before they stop production.

  • I think more people need to read blogs like this. Its so important to know how to construct a great blog to get people interested and you’ve done just that. The content is great.

  • nin10do, I believe you put the same comment two times, so either you’re trying to get a point across, or you’re a klutz

    • That’s a fair point, but when you consider that Apple were able to shift as many as 1 million iPad 2s during only its first weekend on sale, with both launches comparably high profile, there is still something up.

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