After slashing the price of the recently launched Nintendo 3DS from $250 to $170 on August 12, Nintendo’s gamble to move the handheld console out the door (even if at a loss) ahead of new game releases seems to be working. Not only did the 3DS become the second best-selling console in America last month with 235,000 units sold; 185,000 of those devices were sold after the price cut kicked in, which is 260-percent more than the same time period in July, says the NPD Group. Combined with the 830,000 sold prior to the price cut, that means the U.S. has moved just over 1.06 million 3DSes since launch.
Of course, these numbers are no match for the popularity of the device in Japan post-price cut, with 196,077 units sold in just the first week according to Gamasutra. The 3DS is now the best-selling console in Japan for the fourth consecutive week, beating the more established and powerful Sony PlayStation 3 — with over 1.7 million 3DSes sold, compared to just 852,514 PS3s so far this year — per NeoGAF.
With the launch of Star Fox 64 3D and the “Flame Red” 3DS going on sale today, sales figures for the 3D handheld console could go up still. (Because the system is backwards compatible, it can even play the upcoming DS title, Kirby Mass Attack.) It’s great to see more people are giving the glasses-free device a chance so that Nintendo and its partners won’t be abandoning the system before the most anticipated titles like Super Mario 3DS and Mario Kart 7 have even launched. Frankly, this holiday season is Nintendo’s to lose (on the handheld console front) now that the Sony PlayStation Vita has been delayed till next year. If Nintendo can’t get the dedicated gaming console into more hands this year, then I’m afraid the 3DS may not survive the battle with Vita in 2012. What do you think?
[Source: NeoGAF via Gamasutra, Gamasutra, Nintendo press release]
Gloria Sin is a freelance journalist based in New York City.