Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata has revealed that for the remainder of the company's fiscal year, there will be four million 3DS handhelds available to customers. Worldwide.
Remember, that's for the fiscal year, which ends March 31. So it's basically only covering the 3DS' immediate launch window, not the entirety of 2011.
Of that total, 1.5 million are being kept for the Japanese market (where the unit launches in February), while the remaining 2.5 million are for...everyone else. That latter figure would be difficult to satisfy the needs of American customers, let alone those in Europe (who will also be seeing the handheld in March), so it appears some pre-orders are in, well, order if you want to be playing one on launch day.
Before you cry havoc and let slip the dogs of internet indignation ("WHY AREN'T THERE MORE??"), this isn't the first time Nintendo (or any other manufacturer) has launched a console in low numbers to high demand, and it won't be the last.