During this week’s investors meeting, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima offered us a glimpse of how things are going and what the future holds for the 3DS family of systems. Unlike the Wii U, the 3DS has established a strong worldwide install base, and as such, Nintendo seems keen on keeping the software support coming for the foreseeable future.
The meeting opened with a few slides confirming the health of the 3DS line of systems across all regions. The 3DS family has sold a cumulative 56 million units worldwide, to date, a number that Kimishima called “sufficient to provide profits for the software business.” While this doesn’t exactly sound like a fully confident appraisal, the software sales data that followed helped make his case a bit clearer.
In Japan, the 3DS consistently dominates the software sales charts. Nine of the top ten-selling titles for the fiscal year were Nintendo games, seven of which were 3DS titles. While software profits were down in the region overall from previous years, Kimishima pointed to Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 and Yo-Kai Sangokushi as recent releases that should continue momentum for the system, particularly among younger players.
The North American and European 3DS markets showed similar trends in terms of software profitability. Fire Emblem Fates was cited as one of the system’s best performers in North America, where the title has eclipsed the lifetime sales of its Japanese counterpart in a fraction of the time. Between Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates, the series has proven its status outside of Japan as an evergreen franchise for Nintendo. Fates is also set to launch in Europe this May.
Thanks in part to the discounted “Nintendo Selects” line, some older 3DS titles have also seen their sales boosted in all regions, many breaking the million sales mark for the fiscal year. Nintendo plans to continue using the Selects discounts across all regions to maintain 3DS’ popularity going forward.
Looking to the future, Kimishima outlined Nintendo’s plans to keep the 3DS family of consoles relevant for the next year, and (hopefully) beyond. There are two ways that it hopes to accomplish this: by actively pursuing a broader demographic of customers, and by continuing to support the system with a strong lineup of software.
Citing the popularity of the recently released Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow reissues on 3DS Virtual Console, Kimishima pointed to Pokémon Sun and Moon as top priority titles this holiday season. Having now sold over 200 million units worldwide, Pokèmon is literally the one franchise that can effectively lead this charge. Kimishima also cited over a dozen other announced first and third party titles, like Metroid Prime: Federation Force and Dragon Quest VII and VIII, coming soon to 3DS. He concluded his 3DS discussion by stating that there are “many other unannounced titles, both first-party and third-party, that are proceeding with development.”
Could we see some of these unannounced projects at E3 this June? I certainly hope so, as the release schedule for Nintendo’s next year is currently one of the leanest we’ve seen in a very long time. We should also have a much better idea of what the future looks like for 3DS when Nintendo unveils exactly what the NX is, and whether it is indeed intended to serve– as rumors suggest– as Nintendo’s next generation handheld.
Stay tuned to Nintendo Inquirer for the latest 3DS news!