Since its release in Japan four weeks ago the Nintendo 3DS has reigned supreme on the sales charts, that was until this past week. Sony’s PSP has overtaken the 3DS in the land of the rising sun, outselling the new device by nearly 400 units.
The sales numbers (which reflect the week of March 21-27) show the PSP moving 51,095 units to 50,710 units for the 3DS. Of course, these numbers combine the sales of the PSPgo and the PSP-3000. On the separate SKU chart Nintendo held on to the top spot, but by less than 250 units (The PSP-3000 was in second place).
Sony can thank the release of Final Fantasy IV Complete for its sales bump. The Square Enix offering, released last Thursday in Japan, debuted at the top spot of the game sales chart with over 104,000 copies sold. Final Fantasy nearly tripled the second place title (Dynasty Warriors 7).
While losing the top spot to a system with a ‘new’ Final Fantasy game isn’t something to be ashamed of (especially when the 3DS just broke sales records after its American release), the news comes at a bad time for Nintendo. Amid reports of the system’s poor battery life, ‘Black Screen of Death’ problems and gamers complaining of headaches from gameplay, Nintendo had to be hoping to stay in the top spot for longer than a single month.
The numbers show two things clearly though. First, quality software moves systems better than great hardware. While the PSP doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the 3DS, a quality game will make people buy the handheld. On the other side of the spectrum, the lack of quality launch titles may have hurt Nintendo’s handheld more than first thought. Without a killer first-party launch title, the 3DS sold well initially but may not have staying power until better games are available (Really Nintendo… Steel Diver?).
What do you think is the main reason behind Nintendo losing the top spot on the Japanese charts? Are you holding off on buying the new Nintendo handheld because of the launch titles or are you happily playing your 3DS already? If you're still on the fence you can check out our review of the Nintendo 3DS to help you decide.
The Nintendo 3DS is currently available worldwide. Final Fantasy IV Complete will be available in North America on April 19th.
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