Satoru Iwata Comments on Disappointing Nintendo 3DS Sales

Satoru Iwata Keynoting GDC 2011

With the huge amount of excitement surrounding news of Nintendo's next console, it's almost easy to forget that the company launched a new hardware platform just one month ago. As the successor to one of the most successful game systems of all time, great things are expected of the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo, for instance, expected that the system would sell four million units in its first month of availability. Unfortunately, that has not turned out to be the case.

So far, the 3DS has sold through 3.61 million units, meaning that Nintendo's projections were off by just under four hundred-thousand systems. This is obviously not good news for Nintendo, whose stock price has plummeted recently.

Regardless, the question remains: why isn't the 3DS selling better? The world economic crysis? The tragedy in Japan? The lackluster launch lineup? Not according to Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. For Iwata, the issue seems to be that people just don't understand the system.

"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 can not feel it just by trying out a device, rather, some might even misestimate it when experiencing the images in an improper fashion."

It's an interesting postition to take, but it seems to dodge the sales issue. If people can't "feel" what is compelling about the 3DS "just by trying out a device," then how exactly are they supposed to "feel" it?

Absent from Iwata's appraisal of the situation is any mention of the bad press that surrounded the launch of the 3DS, from black screens of death to headaches. While we're at it, what about the eShop that is still not available? What about the system's battery life?

The fact is that there are any number of reasons that the 3DS's sales are poor, but none more likely its lineup of games. The 3DS remains without a single must-have title, and the brightest spot on its release calender is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D which is, of course, a port of a thirteen year old game. It's reassuring to know that Super Mario 3DS will be unveiled at E3 2011, but that fact isn't selling any systems right now. Had Super Mario 3DS been available at the 3DS's launch, things may well have been different.

Ranters, what do you think about the 3DS's comparatively slow sales? Do you believe, as Iwata does, that people just don't understand what they're missing? Or do you think that consumers understand just fine, but have chosen to pass?


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Source: CVG

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