Nintendo 3DS: The Best-Selling System of 2011?

Nintendo 3DS: The Best-Selling System of 2011?

Have you picked up a Nintendo 3DS handheld portable 3D video games system yet? According to the major Japanese video game media publisher, Enterbrain, it’s only a matter of time before you cave in and grab a 3DS, if you haven’t already. Enterbrain says that the Nintendo 3DS is on track to become 2011’s best-selling piece of game hardware–at least in Japan.

In its annual industry report, Enterbrain predicted that the Nintendo 3DS would sell 2,868,000 units by the year’s end. Nintendo’s new handheld sold 996,019 units during its first 12 weeks of availability in Japan, and 742,244 of those sales happened in the first four weeks of the system’s life. If we do a little number-crunching (thanks to Gamasutra for doing our homework), the Nintendo 3DS would have to sell an average of 58,499 units a week in order to meet Enterbrain’s end-of-year projection. That’s an 84% bump from where the sales numbers sit now.

Can the Nintendo 3DS step up its game by the end of the year and become the Little Handheld that Could?

It’s a bit of a stretch to suggest that the 3DS will become the bestselling game system of 2011, either in Japan or worldwide. That’s not to say that the handheld’s relatively sluggish sales won’t perk up soon, but coming within the neighborhood of three million units within the next six months seems unlikely given the system’s slow start.

On the other hand, the Christmas season needs at least one toy, game, or gadget to become that year’s “Big Thing.” Depending on how Nintendo markets its new charge, the 3DS has the potential to become that Thing. We’ll know more about the 3DS’s holiday game lineup come E3, and that should help move units. In the meantime, Nintendo might consider a more aggressive marketing campaign that educates curious audiences about the 3DS as much as it compels them to buy the system: The name “3DS” may have backfired on Nintendo, as it insinuates that the 3DS, like the DS Lite, DSi and DSi XL before it, is just an upgrade of the original DS and not on a separate tier altogether.

The Nintendo 3DS has a great deal of potential, and gamers should warm up to the system as the eShop and a broader game library becomes available. It’s certainly capable of selling in the millions, though expecting it to do so within the next six months might be a bit beyond its means. Besides, what’s the rush? Expect the 3DS to pal around with portable gaming enthusiasts for years to come.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

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