Nintendo's 3DS is treading on thin ice. It's lost a lot of momentum since it was launched in February in Japan and March in North America and Europe. As a result, a drastic price cut from $250 to $170 was necessary in order keep the 3DS from becoming the next Virtual Boy. Looks like the price cut is working, at least in Japan.
It's all in the numbers. After a strong launch selling 371,326 3DS handhelds in Japan, Nintendo's been unable to sustain the excitement for glasses-free 3D gaming due to its high price and lack of must-have Mario-infested games.
The release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D helped boost 3DS sales in June, but not to the success levels the DS received.
Things are looking up for the company that gave birth to the DS and Wii. According to Japanese publisher Enterbrain that tracks the gaming market, 214,821 3DS handhelds managed to fly off shelves post price cut — the highest week of sales since launch.
We've argued before that the high price on the 3DS would ultimately break the handheld's chances of seeing widespread success and we're inclined to believe we were right. We expect similar spikes in sales in other regions as well now that the 3DS is only $170.
Now, Nintendo just needs to release the games. Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3DLand are both due out this fall. The little plumber should be able to help push 3DS sales up further.
Nintendo's not in the clear yet, though. The PS Vita launches in Japan (delayed everywhere else) this fall, too, so it'll be a battle of handhelds again, for sure.