The Nintendo 3DS' Other Problem Appears To Be The DS

Illustration for article titled The Nintendo 3DS Other Problem Appears To Be The DS

Nintendo says the 3DS' sales in the U.S. are "weaker" than hoped. Experts will blame everything from the popularity of gaming on tablets and phones to a not-yet-overwhelmingly-great software line-up for the 3DS.



But maybe that darn Nintendo DS is to blame.

From the beginning of April 2012 through the end of September, the 3DS sold 2,090,000 units in Japan, 1,390,000 in America. The DS? It sold just 10,000 units in Japan during that same period. Japan was done with the DS. But in America? 790,000 DSes sold in those six months. Arithmetic reveals that the American total is a shade better than the Japanese one. That's nice, but the split is not what Nintendo wants.


What's with America's sustained love for the DS? It could be the price. A new DSi or DSiXL can be bought for $100 or $130 compared to $170 and $200 for the 3DS and 3DS XL. The economy in America still stinks and people like cheaper things. Nintendo also might be subtly pushing the DS a little more in America. Japan's last major DS game, Pokemon Black/White 2 came out in July, but clearly didn't send people rushing to buy a DS. The same game didn't come out in America until October. The game runs on 3DSes, of course.

Nintendo's latest 3DS push came this past summer with the release of New Super Mario Bros. 2 and the 3DS XL. That has resulted in 820,000 3DS XLs sold in Japan and 550,000 in the U.S., plus 730,000 in the rest of the world. Clearly, people do like buying the 3DS, but in America, they sure do still like buying that DS, too.

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It's the fact that the DS is cheaper, sure. It's also because the DS still has a fantastic library of games, across all genres, that appeal to every type of gamer.