The 3DS might be kicking ass and taking names in Japan, but even Nintendo themselves have admitted that the handheld console is underperforming further West.
"What we should say first is that while the Nintendo 3DS has a certain degree of sales momentum in Japan, the momentum in the U.S. and Europe is currently weak," stated Satoru Iwata in a shareholders meeting at the end of last week.
"To be more specific, sales of the Nintendo 3DS are constant in Japan and in fact we could say the sales volume is exceeding our forecast at the start of this fiscal year. After the beginning of this calendar year, the average unit sales have been 83,000 units on a weekly basis. This means that about 55% of all gaming hardware sales in Japan consist of the Nintendo 3DS. Now, with the level of sales momentum for the Nintendo 3DS created since the last year end, we would say the center of the Japanese video game market has been the Nintendo 3DS. This scenario is the scenario we were drawing at the beginning and in that regard, the growth is steady.
On the other hand, sales momentum in the U.S and Europe is not so good. Considering that the U.S. and European markets are larger than the Japanese market in terms of the size of the population, sales in the U.S. and Europe are supposed to be larger. At the year end of 2011 the sales momentum in those markets increased in the same way as in Japan; however, the sales pace went down after the beginning of 2012. As a result, the sales proportion of the Nintendo 3DS is now about 20% of the total video game sales in those markets. Thus, solid sales momentum has not been created."
Iwata noted that there might be concerns, but he pointed out that the launch of the 3DS XL and key titles would be crucial in creating sales momentum.
"With the Nintendo 3DS XL I just spoke about and our key titles, such as “New Super Mario Bros. 2,” to be released globally this summer, one of our immediate top-priority missions is to create sales momentum which can wipe this type of concern away at an early stage."