According to a press release published today, Nintendo’s 3DS console has, in fact, sold more than 4 million units in 2011, and the company has sold over 12 million hardware units in 2011 total. Nintendo can boast some pretty healthy numbers for the year, having sold over 4.5 million units of the Wii, and more than 3.4 million for the DS systems.
Usually for Nintendo, numbers like that would equal into a nice chunk of change, but we need to keep in mind the fact that the 3DS’s sales didn’t jump to solid levels until after the company cut the system’s price dramatically in August, resulting in their taking a loss on each system sold instead of their usual profit. Indeed, most console-makers post a loss for the first few years of their systems’ lives, making profit from games sold, but Nintendo has been able to sell systems for less than the cost of their manufacture for the last several generations.
Luckily for them, the outlook on the software front is starting to look much better than it did earlier this year. Having released in the last few months, Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 broke records for being the fastest-selling games in their own franchises—which is great, because both of those games are ridiculously good. I’d even argue that they’re bona fide reasons to actually buy the system if you haven’t already—which is probably what those millions of people who did buy it thought this year.
But the company is still not out of the woods. The press release paints an optimistic picture (obviously) because of a strong-seeming software lineup for 2012, including Metal Gear Solid 3D Snake Eater, Resident Evil Revelations, and the hotly anticipated Kid Icarus Rising. But 2012 will also see the release of the Wii U, the successor to the Wii console, which still seems somewhat dubious in the eyes of many critics and gamers. From my own perspective, I think the high-definition system with its touch-screen tablet controller could be extremely interesting and offer some great new ways to interact with games, if my brief time with the uDraw Tablet from THQ is anything to go on. The main issue there, I would imagine, is going to be price. When the Wii first came out, it didn’t offer much in the way of horsepower, but it did so at a low price and in a way that non-hardcore gamers could appreciate. The Wii U might have a harder time doing that because it will, supposedly, be a beefier, more powerful system, and touch-screen tablet technology isn’t too cheap, I would imagine.
What’s the point of that aside? If they have to sell another system at a loss for every unit sold, it will be that much harder to put their books back into the black in 2012, when they’ve had to take their first loss in years in 2011. These great numbers don’t have any dollar signs attached to them, and that’s because in dollars, no matter which way you slice it, Nintendo lost this year.
But all of this? Speculation and supposition, coming from my brain and my brain alone. At the end of the day, the 3DS sold over 4 million units, and that’s good for the company. The system managed to come back from the dead in mid-2011, and if Nintendo can keep its momentum going, their books may be back in black again.
Via Business Wire