Nine Weeks in, 3DS Sales Have Dropped to Wonderswan Levels

by VGChartz Staff, posted on 30 April 2011 / 10,256 Views

The Nintendo 3DS, despite having "the highest [sales] of any Nintendo hand-held system in [Nintendo's] history," has taken a nosedive sales-wise. Analysts have stated that 3DS sales have "slowed considerably" since launch, and they just keep dropping. It can't help either that the last time a new game was released for the system was April 18. Oh, and all those earthquakes haven't been too kind to Nintendo's stock, either.

A poster over at Japanese site Esuteru (via Tiny Cartridge) compiled a sales graph comparing Japanese handheld sales, and notes that, nine weeks into the 3DS's lifespan, it is sitting at the same level as the Japan-only Bandai Wonderswan. That's... not good news. Here's the graph:

With big titles like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D not launching until the summer, it wouldn't be surprising if sales continued to stagnate until the games that people have been waiting for kickstart hardware sales.

What are your thoughts? Are you waiting for a 3DS price drop or the launch of a particular title, or did you pick up a 3DS of your own and can't understand why the sales are so shoddy?


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83 Comments

Conegamer (on 30 April 2011)

I really don't get it, but if you read to post below me that pretty much sums it up...


richardhutnik (on 03 May 2011)

The Wii has fallen below Wonderswan levels to? It sold worse than the 3DS according to VG Chartz sales numbers.


Nintendology (on 03 May 2011)

The 3DS is an impressive piece of hardware, but it lacks compelling software. The DS was such a huge leap up from the Gameboy Advance, not just graphically, but in terms of how games were played. I remember how excited I was for Metroid Prme Hunters. It was the first time a first person shooter would appear on a handheld, with a competent control scheme. Flash forward, and the 3DS is a marginal improvement. While the visual leap is pretty solid (from slightly better than Nintendo 64 to slightly less powerful than the Wii), Nintendo has yet to show any titles that make the inclusion of 3D as dynamic as touch controls and dual screens were at the time that the original DS was unveiled. I mean it is an easy enough problem to remedy. You design a game where the bottom screen involves 2D gameplay. Then lets say there is an obstacle that can't be passed on a 2D plane. That is when you shift gameplay to the 3D screen and allow players to solve problems in 3D. That s the type of game that would make the 3DS a must have. Also, the price point is too much. You can acquire an iPhone 3GS for $50 from AT&T. A Wii is now $169, with a game. Xbox 360 is $200. $250 for a portable is just insane, even if it can do 3D viewing. I expect the system to build up steam as the price comes down. Nintendo has unfortunately put themselves in a Sony situation, with a piece of costly hardware and a lack of games. Much like the PS3, I expect that to change over time.


Allfreedom99 (on 03 May 2011)

The market for these handhelds is getting hurt by the smartphone gaming industry explosion. Plus 3DS does not have many enticing titles yet.


miqdadi (on 03 May 2011)

I already have one, I am a Nintendo fan ever since I started playing V.games , but I agree with U a system with no big releases can't sell, I think they thought that Nintendogs is going to carry the system and sell good like it's DS sister but that didn't happen so might as well learn from this and keep big releases flowing. Just look at the good releases and what's it done for PSP in Japan, every month there are at least two or three good games coming out


Yakuzaice (on 02 May 2011)

@Pavolink The GBA was launched on March 21st in Japan and sold more than double in the same time frame, and almost four times as much weekly at that point.


iplayeverything (on 02 May 2011)

I have been reading about this and I am one who passed on the 3ds, because I don't think 3d and the current so so titles is worth buying a new ds. I am also curious why nintendo is going to push re-releasing old titles as a major selling point of the new handheld. I mean, I really did enjoy ocarina of time just like the next 64 owner, but why would I spend a ton of money to play this or any old game just because it has a little 3d added. I can play most all old titles on my phone and for nothing. There is endless possibilities to play old nintendo games for free. I don't understand the re-release strategy in gaming. Re-imaging of movies is one thing, but how many times are we going to buy the same games, 3d or not. I know there will be a few decent originals that are coming as well, but they still, to me, do not warrant spending all that money for this hand held. besides being 3d, which I am up front about not caring much about, the hand held is, technology wise, not that much more above the current hand helds on the market. Again, why would I spend that much on something when I could get similar items for less. I'm only one person, but I buy just about every electronic device there is and I do not see myself ever picking up this one.


pvrexpress (on 02 May 2011)

@squeakthedragon: you are absolutely correct sir. Fanboys/trolls repeat the same things over and over like an audio casette. They don't try to check back the history of nintendo handhelds, they don't try to check what software has the 3ds at the moment, they just spell doom over and over and over. They have the same arguments of seven years ago.


Pavolink (on 02 May 2011)

Question: Did all those portables were release in the same time of the year?


d21lewis (on 02 May 2011)

Japan only, right? Nothing to see, here.


Squeakthedragon (on 02 May 2011)

It's quite funny how every comment/troll about the 3DS is a rerun of the same comments/trolls about the DS vs PSP seven years ago. The DS was just a st00pid Gameboy with an extra pointless screen, who would use that?! DS obviously failed because its sales were slow for a couple of months before more software came out. It'll never recover from that! PSP is SO COOL it has SUPER GRAFIX and has ALREADY WON! Same as it ever was.


SONYisBP (on 02 May 2011)

lol wonderswan? wtf? looks like the NGP already won this one. which is fine im waiting to see the ngp anyways, i never bought into the ds or dsi, i havent had a hand-held system since the orginal gameboy and gamegear which both work fine even today. i had a psp when it was still relatively new but it had virtually no games and traded it in as soon as i beat god of war which came with it at that time. on a sad note i do still have the virtual boy in storage and the last time i turned it on to see if it still worked was about 6 or so years ago. it still did no problems, red alarm was the game in it if i remember correctly.


gottalovethis (on 02 May 2011)

Its a DS with 3D... 3DS O_o Why did they bother?? I think Nintendo have slipped up badly with the 3DS. Can Mario Cart really sell the 3DS in the numbers people expect from a Nintendo handheld?


Lord_Yggdrassil (on 02 May 2011)

what do you expect? nothing on the system. No feautres nothing to do.


AngelosL (on 01 May 2011)

Consider this: The only way to experience the 3d effect is by holding the console still at a specific distance... and the 3d effect is the console's main attraction.It's like releasing a sound system that sucks unless you sit in a specific position in your room. The Ocarina of Time remake is the only interesting thing about 3DS , and that's a game for hardcore gamers only, which means it will sell but not that much. And by the way, 3D is impressive only if you experience it on a big screen.


riders42 (on 01 May 2011)

Need a price drop. I know it will not be for quite a while but i'm ok with waiting.


ZaP~ (on 01 May 2011)

But DS and 3DS looks really alike if you consider that DS got released on Christmas season. Nothing to worry right now.


dark_gh0st_b0y (on 01 May 2011)

they'll rise back to 3DS levels once the first "must have" game comes out, like Mario Kart


pvrexpress (on 01 May 2011)

@Burning Typhoon: sorry but you are wrong. he said ''It looks a little bit like more of the same and the graphics aren"t better than the old PSP and the batteries are weak.'' he never said that the 3ds was not being used to its potencial, so don't try to fix it. the other part of your post I can agree with you but not with the first part unless you can read people minds. Like I said in my first post I think the perception that the 3ds is expensive is because it is the only "new generation" console in the market. When the people learn the price of the ngp, ps4, 720, and proyect coffe, the 3ds price will be seen as "very affordable". And thats an opinion, not a fact, that way you don't have to read my mind.


tingyu (on 01 May 2011)

I got a 3DS at launch, and enjoy every minute of it playing Shadow Wars (by holding the machine very still in front of my face at the sweet spot). Though I have to say for a machine aim for little children, the 3DS its a failure. The AR Card game that come with it requres gamer to shift the machine in various angles to shoot the target/boss dragon, and the 3D effect keep on going out focus while Im playing the game shifting the machine around. All those double images makes my head ache while playing the virtual reality game, imagine what a mom would look at all those double images and return the thing to gameshop at once. Children would not sit still for long time and likes to move around, thus the selling point becomes the Archiles Heel for 3DS. The machine is simply not built for children, but for poor adults like me who cant afford a 3D TV. Nintendo better think of someting while building their 3DS lite.


kcoward (on 01 May 2011)

I dont care about sales. Only news article I want to read about 3DS at this point is it having good games i never played before. Something to make me want to buy one immediately but until then i dont care about the 3DS and its progress.


atma998 (on 01 May 2011)

@Chibi.V.29 Don't you remember what people were saying about DS sales one year after its launch? Now it has become the best selling video game system ever. So yes there is no doubt in my mind that it will clear 150M LTD, considering it will target both casual and hardcore gamers.


Hephaestos (on 01 May 2011)

i'm sorry, what units is this graph in? 3DS did in 2 months 1/4 of the DS's first full year ^^ (in Japan)


hagelt18 (on 01 May 2011)

Yeah but look at the original DS sales...they are sitting awfully low at that same point in time...and they appear to continue to sit that look for a while then spike a little bit. A LOT of people are going to buy the system when the good games that were promised finally come out. I don't see anything too alarming here.


Burning Typhoon (on 01 May 2011)

@pvrexpress No one said it was more powerful... It was his opinion that the 3DS isn't being used to it's potential. My PSP has broken, and I was hoping it would last longer... I, however, am holding out until the NGP comes out (if I can manage with no music until then.) I think the problem with the 3DS is that it's living in a shadow... It looks like the DS, has the same name as the DS, yet, more expensive... When you make a new product, it has to be a bit different. And, don't bring up PS2 and PS3 because they look nothing alike. I think had they been more original with the name, and design (and launch titles) they would have done much better... There's also all those people that get sick from the 3D display, then, act like they forget that they either have to get used to it, or turn it off... Sure, the DS had the same problem... but, who knows how many times, nintendo can pull this sort of "comeback."


pvrexpress (on 01 May 2011)

@SxyxS: the psp is in no way more powerfull than the 3ds. The psp wont move resident evil revelations or beyond the labyrinth (the new tri-ace game for 3ds) even with a bulldozer.


SxyxS (on 01 May 2011)

I think people are tired a little bit and maybe bored. First there was the DS,than the DSi,than the DS XXL and a few month later the 3DS and the 3DS almost looks like the ohter DS-versions. It looks a little bit like more of the same and the graphics aren"t better than the old PSP and the batteries are weak. Than look at the big titles:Zelda OOT,MGS3,Street Fighter 3D-great games but nothing new and you have to pay the full prize for an old game. I also think they should have changed the design a little bit more.If you wanna sell the new product you have to give the product also a new look.


Adell_Sparda (on 01 May 2011)

And after an AAA game, coming back to the high sales rails. A "new" Nintendogs and a pair of remakes and ports is not enought to be the best selling console.


cody6695 (on 01 May 2011)

I have no plans at all to give Nintendo more money because I'm tired of these upgrades to get our cash fast. But then again there is always one game that will come out (Animal Crossing or Pokemon) that makes me get the system..


pvrexpress (on 01 May 2011)

If I am looking at the same graph, I see the ds not performing so well either in his first weeks, and the psp performing better than the ds, and we know the end of the tale. I think the perception that the 3ds is expensive is because it is the only "new generation" console in the market. When the people learn the price of the ngp, ps4, 720, and proyect coffe, the 3ds price will be seen as "very affordable".


DrPollit0 (on 01 May 2011)

I have N3DS, but now there is not much software. We have to wait to N64 remakes and games like Mario Kart, Kid Ikarus or Super Mario 3DS.


sensebringer (on 01 May 2011)

@xdavidxhoylexx: Why is the 3ds a piece of garbage? and why did you buy/get that piece of garbage in the first place?


ishiki (on 01 May 2011)

how does it compare to the game gear! It's really not all that far off of the gameboy color. Maybe it's spiking a bit later. :P


Sholities (on 01 May 2011)

I want some rpgs on this thing before I buy one. And I might buy OoT when it comes out. Then I'll buy a 3DS.


xdavidxhoylexx (on 01 May 2011)

@anybody who asks, "why do people still buy handhelds." well, why do people still buy home consoles? about the 3ds, i have one, i dont really like it and ive been a nintendo fan my whole life, and if it wasnt for the system transfer, i would sell my 3ds asap becuz of the garbage it is.


Mr.Ashtear (on 01 May 2011)

software, looks and price.


RaptorGTA (on 01 May 2011)

once 3ds gets some better titles...or a pokemon game...then sales will be fine.


megaman79 (on 01 May 2011)

Japan is obviously having some trouble, but no, I wouldn't be worried about 3DS sales long term.


Last_Dream (on 01 May 2011)

Not looking good so far for Nintendo 3DS, but I guess that's because there's so little games to choose even after 9 weeks of release. 'Cause I am now. Buy 3DS on launch but still waiting for a better games. For me, still no killer apps so far.


snakefisher (on 01 May 2011)

imagine how little the ngp is going to sell lol


axt113 (on 30 April 2011)

I tried to warn people, but they refuse to listen


usrevenge (on 30 April 2011)

oh wow so its not really 3d then... i thought they made some break through or something =


VMEfinn (on 30 April 2011)

I played with one today. I was really disappointed that the 3D image is displayed into the screen, instead of projection out towards you. Even then, the 3D screen size is much smaller than when 3D is turned off. I love technology, but this is in my opinion a big let down, especially for the asking price.


Alby_da_Wolf (on 30 April 2011)

Waiting for DSi XL to drop to 99€.


Baer (on 30 April 2011)

Normally I would have waited till now, when OoT comes out, but I just couldn't wait that long :p


Roma (on 30 April 2011)

waiting for OoT here as many others ore so the problem is mostly the games.


moneyman289 (on 30 April 2011)

I honestly don't have an axe to grind here, seeing as I have never invested in the handheld market. That being said, however; aftering taking the 3DS for a brief (albeit enthralling) test drive last week, I can honestly say I am thuroughly impressed with the hardware, and for what it's worth, if I were to invest in a single handheld, it would undoubtedly be the 3DS, and this is coming from a lifelong PS360 stalwart!


piccoro (on 30 April 2011)

I think people are waiting to see what NGP is showing. I am!


primogen18 (on 30 April 2011)

why would people not buy handhelds...? Why do you care who buys what?


Kenryoku_Maxis (on 30 April 2011)

I'd also like to point out how the original DS fell off a ton when it first came out. I think we all know how that ended. The 3DS will rebound 10 fold when big games come out. This article is misleading and should be removed before we have another 100 threads of 'Nintendo doomed!'


Carl2291 (on 30 April 2011)

After 24 Weeks... DS and PSP were also at Wonderswan levels. This means nothing.


Chibi.V.29 (on 30 April 2011)

@atma998 you think 3DS will pass 150 million? lol....


NoirSon (on 30 April 2011)

It is about the games or more accurately the lack of games. When Nintendo or another company drops a AAA franchise title sales will rise. Heck the PSP survived almost two years living where major sales spiked only when big titles dropping like Monster Hunter, Final Fantasy and others dropped. Nintendo semi botched the release window of available games (probably thinking that Nintendogs and Cats would make a comeback) and the earthquake just hurt them worst. Still, it is way too early to count the 3DS out yet. Still, it is sad I am useing the 3DS mainly to play DS games.


dnaman25 (on 30 April 2011)

@ usrevenge exactly what i ws thinkin


usrevenge (on 30 April 2011)

why do people still buy handhelds...


evil_kenshin (on 30 April 2011)

wait to more games are out then the sales will go up


Lyrikalstylez (on 30 April 2011)

As I been saying the economy is in the toilet, people dont have money to spen $250 on a gimick handheld, I personally am gonna get it later but because I never owned a DS or any other handheld, but thats just me, now you have to look at the people who barely bought a DS, Why would they switch now? Mark My Words...this is gonna happen to project cafe


atma998 (on 30 April 2011)

Slow start pretty much like the DS did. However I'm not worried as it will probably sell 150M + when all said and done.


mouse_clicker (on 30 April 2011)

@miz1q2w3e: That's a good point. Nintendo's marketing this at more hardcore gamers right now, and we know there will be at least one, probably two hardware revisions, and we don't want to get burned like we did with the GB and DS.


padib (on 30 April 2011)

If it were an opportunity for NGP to takeover the market, so was the PSP against the DS 6 years ago.


miz1q2w3e (on 30 April 2011)

Wow, I didn't think it was that bad lol Well kinda makes sense, I'm also waiting for either a must have game or a better battery, if no revision is announced at E3 (I know it's a long shot, but still..) then I'll get one along with OoT :)


mouse_clicker (on 30 April 2011)

It's too expensive, I think, and the launch was rather weak. Sales will pick up after OoT 3D comes out and they drop the price. But people don't want to spend that much on a handheld, guaranteed.


Almightyderek (on 30 April 2011)

Well the DS started slow too, and even had a price drop within 8 months of it's launch. Not sure why everyone seems so shocked. There aren't really any games for it yet. I own one and am patiently waiting for the Summer when the games start coming out. With OoT 3D, Star Fox 64 3D, Bit.Trip Saga, Cave Story 3D, Paper Mario, Animal Crossing, Mario Kart 3DS, and Super Mario 3DS all supposedly coming out in this fiscal year people will start buying it. Also I wish people would stop using the word gimmick. Can't you think of anything intelligent and non cliche' to complain about the 3DS? The price point is one of them as it really should be $200.


Aiddon (on 30 April 2011)

wait until Zelda, then we'll talk.


loy310 (on 30 April 2011)

I really want to know what's causing this. Is it the price, the economy what? I do admit that it was hyped to shit and the 3D is a gimmick, but still this is Nintendo and to see them go from DS crazy sales to this is nuts. And I take it that this is only for Japan?


UnknownFact (on 30 April 2011)

It's simple. 3DS was so hyped up, but there are not enough games so far.


Aprisaiden (on 30 April 2011)

Personally i am waiting for some games and a price drop before i buy a 3DS. As far as sales go though i wouldn't be predicting doom and gloom yet - its a slow start but it'll pick up once it gets games (though if SONY is smart and gives NGP a PS2 style hype chain then Nintendo could end up losing alot of Market share this gen).


Sensei (on 30 April 2011)

3DS doesn't seem to have brought much news. 3D isn't that hot, and the games' quality isn't surprising considering the quality of PSP / DS stuff that is already out there. Nintendo will eventually make money out of it, as usual. Let's see if Sony's NGP will manage to capitalize on this.


morenoingrato (on 30 April 2011)

Ewwwww sales. And don't expect anything big until "the" Mario comes out, which won't happen until holiday. 3D is great, works amazingly well and the device has potential, but the games are from Good Ports to Meh. Really Nintendo, couldn't you just delay the 3DS a little bit and launch it with a Zelda or a Mario Kart or something. Wow, 3DS could actually go the way PS3 went.


ThePS3News (on 30 April 2011)

Wow. The 3DS is failing more than the PSP. This is a open door opportunity for Sony to take over the handheld market with the NGP. :)


Acevil (on 30 April 2011)

The funny thing is, a lot of the same people who are calling doom to this console, calling it a gimmick, will most likely not take back anything they said when the device actually starts selling.


Euphoria14 (on 30 April 2011)

@Carpevi You think 3DS sales will just explode in the holidays because it is Nintendo or do you expect a price cut within the consoles first 6-8 months?


Carpevi (on 30 April 2011)

@loves2splooge Come back in November & December and we will talk about this "nonsense handheld".


Euphoria14 (on 30 April 2011)

And before people come in and say "The DS and 3DS touchscreens work without a stylus". Yes, I know this, however it does not work at all similar to that of a capacitive touchscreen, like those found on iPhones and all other major smartphones in the i, Android and/or WM7 lines. The thing has a gimmick as well as ancient touchscreen technology.


Euphoria14 (on 30 April 2011)

The thing is basically a PSP with a 3D gimmick and little to no games, all for the price of $250. No wonder it dropped so hard. Even the in store demo of Pilotwings made little to no use of the touchscreen, which is another problem, ditch the stylus and resistive touchscreen already. I don't know what Nintendo were thinking with this console, especially at it's price. I would wager my money on it having something to do with their current arrogance.


loves2splooge (on 30 April 2011)

A $250 handheld that relies on a stupid 3D gimmick (that gives lots of people headaches and many people can't even see in stereoscopic 3D very well) and little in the way of games is performing poorly. Who would have guessed? I'm happy that the market is rejecting this nonsense. Even 3D movies are on the way down after the Avatar hype bubble.


trestres (on 30 April 2011)

Things aren't going the way Nintendo expected... at all. Let's see if this is a wake up call for them.


Silver-Tiger (on 30 April 2011)

3DS is great, it just doesn't have any games. Kinda like the PS3 when it released. However, it's interesting that this gen Sony might actually win with NGP.


*Sound Of Rain (on 30 April 2011)

I have a 3DS and can say that it has a lot of potential. Its a great Handheld but I understand why the sales are so low. I got a 3DS based off of the 3D and future promised games. I really like the 3D and it works very well and I can't wait to see what Nintendo and others can make using the 3D. Again, I understand why the sales are low though. 3DS doesn't have very good games out right now but a few so...what do you expect?(Especially at $250)


axumblade (on 30 April 2011)

Well....there is no online store and only 3-4 game that I would venture to call decent that are out and the only familiar sights from Nintendo are Nintendogs and Pilotwings (a game that was last "seen" as a mini game on Wii Sports Resorts....Granted, we know Kid Icarus, Star Fox, Mario, and Zelda are coming to the 3DS but until then, the lineup is rather lackluster...


Runa216 (on 30 April 2011)

what a joke...this is what happens when people try too hard to capitalize on cheap gimmicks...


DeniableOps (on 30 April 2011)

lol 3DS


themizarkshow (on 30 April 2011)

Still can't believe they launched without the store online. My biggest concerns were that the 3D was just a stupid gimmick and that the online features would be another blunder. So far, none of the games use 3D well (and it kinda hurts my eyes anyway) and without the online stuff up and running, we have no clue if Nintendo's overpriced piece of plastic is another step in the wrong direction with its online support. Definitely not giving them my money until these things have been fixed.