The 3DS hasn't been the most successful handheld for Nintendo. Launched with a very sparse line up that lacked any truly compelling software, the handheld quickly fell into such dire straights that the only solution was a price drop. Though Nintendo may not be doing as well financially as they have in the past couple of years (indeed, they have just today posted a substantial loss), 3DS sales have recovered nicely, and the system has now sold more units than the original DS did during its initial launch.
To date the 3DS has sold about 6.68 million units, with 2.36 million of those coming in the past four months. Unfortunately, this news comes as a bittersweet victory. Nintendo attributes their net loss of 70.2 billion yen to the 3DS price cut (among other factors). After all of the money Nintendo made while Wii dominated the competiton, they must have a substantial amount to fall back on, though the situation is still somewhat disheartening.
In total, Nintendo expects to sell 16 million 3DS units by the end of March 2012, or as the more financially savvy may call it, the end of their fiscal year. With a lower price point, as well as Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 releasing in the coming weeks, it's hard to imagine they won't be able to reach that number -- though if this whole situation proves anything, it's that Nintendo may need to refocus it's strategy with the Wii U so as not to repeat the mistakes it made with the 3DS launch.
The 3DS is a a compelling piece of hardware, but the lack of any true must-play launch titles (the Starfox and Legend of Zelda remakes surfaced months later) contributed to Nintendo taking a huge financial hit. If the company is banking solely on the Wii name in order to achieve success with the Wii U, they might not find what they're looking for. Let's hope that, with Wii U, Nintendo gets things right the first time.
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Source: IGN UK