Nintendo‘s NES-led, Wii-powered wonder years may be behind them but the plucky, much-loved publisher isn’t done yet. With the likes of Super Mario 3D World inspiring fresh interest in the Wii U, and a handful of fine titles all racing to join it, things are starting to look up for the sleeping giant of Japanese gaming.

Having gotten off to a rocky start back in 2011, the Nintendo 3DS enjoyed a vintage year in 2013, introducing countless quality titles and earning plenty of critical plaudits along the way. Now the company behind the handheld turnaround is ready to share its record-breaking sales figures – with all signs pointing to an even more profitable 2014.

Starting with software sales, Ninty shifted over 16 million units in the last year alone (combined digital and physical copies) with much of this success owing to the influence of a certain Pokemon X & Y. Other major movers included Luigi’s Mansion 2, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Donkey Kong Country Returns.

Nintendo 2DS

Yearly hardware sales weren’t included in Nintendo’s latest press release, though the company has revealed the system’s overall US sales — a healthy 11-and-a-half million units. Given the summertime introduction of the paired-down 2DS machine, Nintendo would appear to be reaping the rewards of their decision to target a younger demographic. Unfortunately, the company’s recent court loss to Tomito Technologies International means that a small part of these 3DS family earnings must now be surrendered to the glasses-free patent holder.

This embarrassing legal defeat (Phoenix Wright must have taken the day off) is perhaps the only negative spot on an otherwise exceptional year for the portable platform. Game Rant reported back in November how the system had surpassed the lifetime sales of the fondly recalled N64, with the highly regarded SNES next up on the chopping block. With the likes of Super Smash Bros.Yoshi’s New IslandTreasurenauts and even Mario Golf World Tour turning up later this year, the 3DS could very well be on the verge of its best year yet.

Is the 3DS a total success? Where and how can the handheld improve? Can Ninty convince you to pick up the system/ what convinced you to buy in? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest Nintendo news, right here on Game Rant.


Nintendo‘s latest handheld is now available in 3DS, 2DS and 3DSXL varieties.

Follow Sam on Twitter @GamingGoo.