The Nintendo DS has sold over 140 million systems worldwide, so it was natural to believe that its big brother — the 3DS — and its "revolutionary" glasses-free 3D screen would also "print money" for Nintendo. Unfortunately, despite strong global launches, Nintendo says people aren't properly understanding the value of glasses-free 3D.
As of the end of March, the 3DS has sold 3.6 million units, but sales from its second week and after are starting to slow down. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata isn't having any of it seeing has how the company he helped restore to glory with the DS and Wii just reported a 66 percent decrease in profits.
According to Iwata, "The value of 3D images without the need for special glasses is hard to be understood through the existing media. However, we have found that people cannot feel it just by trying out a device, rather, some might even misestimate it when experiencing the images in an improper fashion."
That's not the only thing Iwata is attributing the 3DS's lower than expected sales to. He also said that many gamers want a 3DS but have yet to change that status from "wait list" to "buy." Well, duh. Did the 3DS have any must-have first-party games? Nintendogs + Cats doesn't really count. Where was the Super Mario, Zelda and Metroid?
Months ahead of the 3DS launch, I suggested gamers wait for the second-gen 3DS. Why? High price, 3D fatigue and weak battery life. Has Nintendo addressed the battery issue? Nope. Apparently' it's a non-issue. Actual gamers on the go will tell you otherwise. What about the 3D headaches and dizziness? Nintendo response: take breaks.
Over the course of the next few months (still considered the 3DS's "launch window"), high profile games will start trickling out, so it's entirely possible to see a turnaround, but at the moment, Nintendo's 3DS doesn't seem able to give Nintendo a five-peat win after the tremendous success of the first four iterations of the DS (DS, DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL). It must be quite depressing riding a handheld's success high into the sky, only to see its successor underperform. Chin up Nintendo, tomorrow's a new day.