back to article Nintendo blames puzzled public for 3DS sales shortfall

Nintendo has cited public confusion as the reason why 3DS sales fell short of its expectations. The company forecasted sales of 4m 3DS units before the end of March 2011. In the end, just 3.61m consoles were shipped. Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata this week blamed the public for a lack of understanding the console's value, …


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  1. Gulfie

    Not getting it, or not wanting it?

    Are Nintendo in denial? New portable gaming platform launches in very tough economic situation, wonders why people don't rush out to buy it... personally if I didn't have a smartphone already it would be cheaper to buy a good Android hanset and get some of those very cheap games on offer. Oh, and the device does everything a 3DS does and more except... well it isn't 3D is it, but then...


    Good luck with that then!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Not wanting it.

      The 3D is the 3DS is a lame gimmick. Perhaps consumers are waking up to the fact that not everything that bears the Nintendo name is pure retail awesomeness...

      I had a go an a 3DS and it was really crap. Perhaps that's the reason.... My next purchase is likely to be a Sony NGP

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Er, what's the problem again?

      "New portable gaming platform launches in very tough economic situation, wonders why people don't rush out to buy it"

      The real puzzle here is that they did! 3.6m is 90% of the pre-launch target and any marketroid who expects their estimates to be more accurate than that is a complete numpty. Nintendo could easily have presented these figures as a success. Instead, they chose to spin it as a failure.

  2. JasonW

    I have a DSLite...

    .... better half has a DSi, son has a DSiXL. We've tried the 3DS in hand and the buttons aren't in the right place for any of us.

    3D is not compelling in any shape or form and especially not at nearly 100% premium in price...

    Mine's the one with the well-played DSLite in the pocket.

    1. sorry, what?
      Thumb Up

      Um, 3D. What else?

      I have a DSi and my kids (had) DS Lites. Looking at replacing a broken DS Lite we had a go on the 3DS. I was impressed by the 3D but far more than that I was really impressed by the improved resolution.

      The 3DS games just look so much crisper and have so much more detail. The screen is really fantastic, and that's the case *even when you turn off the 3D*.

      The 3D is very good _when you look at it from exactly the right angle_ - and this latter is a bit of a pain. But turn it off and you have a really nice sized screen with excellent resolution.

      And despite various complaints I have read on the web, there really is no smearing and degradation when you play a standard DS game in this console (at least I've not found a game where this happens).

  3. Mima

    Oh look it's that attitude again

    When in doubt, blame the consumer for your problems.

  4. Doug Glass

    True, So True

    When the consumer doesn't "get" something by not purchasing what they feel they don't need, the seller makes less money. I wonder how many consumers reading this cretin's assessment realize they've just been called stoopid on a global scale?

  5. Dave 62

    tried it, unimpressed

    I had the chance to try the 3DS when Nintendo set up a trailer in the middle of town, to give it a bit of an exciting atmosphere they put in disco lights.. which obviously mixed well with trying to focus on a small screen, combine that with the novelty of focusing on the screen while what you're looking at appears to be behind it but isn't and I just ended up straining. That said there'll never be any serious games on it. It's kinda neat but I think it's not so much a puzzled public as an apathetic public.

  6. nattrill

    It's the price, stupid

    I love the look of the 3DS, and I understand the features. But I refuse to buy one until it comes down to a reasonable price. £150 with a free game. Then I'll buy it.

  7. Llyander

    Ah yes...

    When in doubt, call your customers stupid. A tried and true marketing ploy. "No, really, it's awesome. You're just too dumb to understand that! Wait here while we get some more flipcharts and adverts to prove how awesome it is!"

    Alternatively it could be that those of us with perfectly serviceable DS Lites simply have no interest in this overpriced gimmick they're now trying to flog us.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    depth slider

    I tried a 3DS in Dixon's, was very interested in the depth slider, what it purported to do and particularly, how it worked. Truth is I could see no difference in any position other than "zero" where it switched off the 3D. Sales assistant had fetched it and unpacked it for me to see, but similarly had no idea what the slider was supposed to do - "that seems to switch the 3D on and off."

  9. Chris Sanderson

    I like it

    I bought one, but then I didn't already have a DS in other variety so it made sense to get the latest model.

    Problem I think is that the 3D alone is not a compelling reason to upgrade especially since the 3d is purely visual... all the games I have play just as well in 2D.

    So basically the problem is that the previous DS models are lasting too long. I have friends with units that have been dropped smashed and scratched all over the place but still they plod on. So either make em break, or make a new model with more than just 3D.

    1. cosymart

      Seriously you expect....

      Seriously you expect a PFY in Dixon's to understand and explain a 3DS.... Get real!

    2. Anonymous Coward


      You went to Dixons' and yet were expecting competent sales people? I cannot help but laugh

    3. turnip handler

      Politics versus 3DS

      Turns out the No2AV campaign in the UK are also taking this tactic. Although they seem to be saying it before the vote has even taken place, "vote no to AV as you are too stupid to understand the AV system."

      They have other arguements too, this is just one of the strange ones.

  10. E Haines

    Enough with this fake 3D stuff already

    Same for movies/TV as well. Seriously, just quit it. It's merely a gimmick and you know it.

  11. jonners

    silly Nintendo

    I understand the 3d and enjoyed it when I played with it so that is not why I haven't bought one. the reasons are fairly straightforward:

    * too expensive

    * terrible battery life

    * a launch lineup that rivals the DS for poor games

    1. Chris Sanderson


      Agreed with everything though I still went out and bought one.

      Battery life is terrible, though I found if you think on and turn the wifi off it does vastly improve.

      I bought Pilot Wings and Lego Star Wars but the other problem they have is no Mario of any kind.

      On the plus side, I actually like Lego Star Wars, but I am a casual gamer that likes things kept nice and simple, if its too complicated I get bored when I can't do it and never pick it up again.

      Definitely looking forward to zelda, mario and mario kart though and might treat myself to street fighter, as I've not played that in years

  12. Muckminded

    Here's hoping

    they can genetically engineer a target audience in time to not go all Microsoft Kin on us.

  13. The Infamous Grouse

    It's the economy, stupid

    Jeez, when are Nintendo going to get it? We're in a global recession. For a family with three kids looking to buy three portable gaming devices it's a choice between three 3DSs at £575 or three 8GB iPods, which can do a dozen things the 3DS can't, at £500.

    That hardware price discrepancy alone would be bad enough for Nintendo, but when you factor in the cost of three cartridges (£70) against one App Store download synced to all three iPods (59p on average, a couple of quid at most, FREE for many games) it's a complete no-brainer.

    Unless they bring forward plans for the eShop and develop an infrastructure that allows developers to sell cheaply and in bulk, like Apple does, Nintendo will find the market gets a lot worse before it gets better. And 3D gimmickry isn't going to change that.

    Nintendo will always have a core following of Mario and Zelda fans for whom only the licensed stuff will do, so there will always be some sales.

    But the rest of us aren't confused, Nintendo. We just can't afford your toys any more.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's 3D, you twat

    The public doesn't see, and has never seen, 3D as anything other than a gimmick. Because it's a gimmick. No-one cares. Fire your customer research department (or more, likely whichever board level idiot 'evangelised' this).

  15. andy gibson

    DSi users here

    Like other posters, we have DS'es and DSI's in our family. They do the job and are in good nick so I'm hardly likely to start buying anything new until they fail.

  16. davidbshepherd

    …or puzzled brain and nausea?

    I know a few who got their 3DS who cannot play it for more than a short while before they start to suffer from the nauseating effects that a confused brain suffers.

    The 3D works by tricking the eyes and brain, it uses the natural way depth is processed to create the appearance of 3 dimensions in a 2D screen. On a small screen however, or In extended viewing this can cause many people to feel nausea or get a headache associated with eye strain. Not conducive to happy gaming. All made worse if you have any existing eye problems or motion sickness.

    Add the 3d effects to the small screen and…barf!

    Nice thought (3d) but not for me! Sorry Nintendo, love the DS and DSi but not the 3DS

  17. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    "Satoru Iwata this week blamed the public for a lack of understanding the console's value, claiming many people don't know how to use it,"

    Well don't have a go at us you plank, have a go at your marketing bods! They're the ones who try to sell the bloody things to us perhaps they need to make it much clearer what we're supposed to do with it!!

  18. DrXym Silver badge

    Instant eyestrain

    I played with a few demo units and the eyestrain was virtually immediate. I had to dial the 3D right down which begs the question why it slides as far as it does. It's like a toaster which has settings all the way up to 10 when most people don't ever need more than a 3.

    Anyway the lower than expected sales for the 3DS probably boils down to a combination of factors - the price, the lacklustre launch games, the 3D effect being a strain, competition from tablets / smart phones, the depressed economy and perhaps even a bit of Nintendo fatigue from people sick of paying for gimmicks.

  19. Chad H.

    Speaking as someone on the fence about buying one...

    I don't believe that phones offer the same deep gaming experience as a DS/PSP/3DS, so that's not the issue.

    When it comes to the 3DS I see lots of marketing where people are talking about the 3D effects; but that's all they do, talk about it.

    I want to see the effects before I buy, and I'm yet to find a retailer with a demonstration unit. 2D photos and video obviously won't do it justice. As such I find myself unable to buy one.

  20. Jon Double Nice

    I understand the consoles value

    And it's too expensive with no games that I'm that fussed about playing.

  21. Scott 53

    Not my fault, guv

    This sounds just like Andrew Lansley saying that nurses didn't like the NHS cuts because they hadn't been explained properly. We're all too stupid to go out and buy new 3D TVs, too.

  22. jake Silver badge

    The "3D" marketing fad exists to sell unnecessary hardware to idiots.

    Need I say more?

  23. dogged

    or possibly

    the fact that it gives most consumers headaches and simply fails to work at all for colourblind folk - yep, that sound is my personal axe grinding away - could have something to do with it?

  24. Anonymous Coward

    may be...

    it's because no one actually wants 3D?

    May be they realise it's just a fad pushed by tech corps as 'the next big thing'

    May be

    just saying like

  25. David Austin


    From a Core gamers perspective, the biggest problem with the 3DS is the launch line up - mostly remakes or 3D editions of existing games, or stuff aimed at casual gamers Like Nintendogs & Cats.

    Gamers were expecting some games like kid Icirus at launch to really show off what the device can give to them, but it's been pushed back like some of the other big hitters (Zelda, Starfox)

    Add to that half the options in the system software (3DS Shop, Web browser, Data Management) Pop up a message saying they will be enabled in a future update, and you can't help feeling holding back on the launch so the software and services side can catch up would have helped with the sluggish sales.

    Guess they wanted to boost FY 2010 with that launch to help ease shareholders over Wii and DS Sales slumps.

  26. Captain Underpants


    Oh dear.

    It couldn't be anything to do with the launch game lineup, could it? (Hint:

    Why do I get the feeling this is Nintendo going back to the operating model that gave us those unparalleled gaming success stories known to the history books as the Virtual Boy and the N64?

  27. There's a bee in my bot net

    You're using it wrong!

    That's the sort of thing I expect from Steve Jobs.

    I'm loving this 'blame the customer' thing that is going on with big companies. It's a lot of fun to watch, I mean this Sony thing is particularly entertaining.

    But yeah, an over priced gadget in touch economic times with a 3d feature that provides value for all of 5 mins before getting boring... why bother?

  28. Annihilator


    The strange thing is, I've never even seen a 3DS in operation yet. Every store I've seen that sells them either doesn't have a demo model running, or has a cardboard cut-out of one that has a hologram to mimic the 3D effect.

    I'd possibly be interested in one, but shops don't seem keen to demonstrate them and I'm certainly not buying one without trying first.

  29. JBH

    I would have been tempted to get one...

    ...except the lack of decent launch titles is putting me right off!

    1. Dave Lawton
      Thumb Up


      OK, this will only be of use if you are fairly close to Doncaster in South Yorkshire.

      However it might be true of other branches.

      Several of the assistants in HMV were more than happy to demonstrate, had a demonstrator unit already set-up, were knowledgeable about it, allowed the end user to try it out (for around 15 minutes), and were not pushy when it became obvious that the purchase wouldn't happen that day.

      Excellent customer service.

      I didn't suffer from any eye-strain, or nausea from the 15 minutes I used it for, but I did find the 3D effect very position sensitive.


    2. sorry, what?

      Colour blind?

      @dogged's "or possibly" - no, it works fine for colour blind people. This doesn't use colour filters - no glasses see; that's one of the main marketing points they have managed to make.

      As to headaches, hmmm, not sure about that. I've not suffered nor has my son. So we could be in the minority, but I haven't seen any poll results so couldn't say.

  30. Kevin 6

    In a way he's right

    Poorly worded but right

    Seen on game forums where people were like I CAN'T PLAY IT WITH 3D TO TEH MAXXX

    They think the slider farther up = more 3d where its just to adjust it to the eyes.

    The gamers then went to blame nintendo for producing horrible 3d cause they refused to read the systems power on message on how to set the 3D

    Personally I find the system to work very well, and I find the 3D is helpful in pilot wings when trying to land.

    I will agree that it was kinda lame to not have all the features enabled out of the box like the web browser, kinda does show it was rushed, along with the bland 1st party launch titles.

    I do hope they remake the virtual boy games on it though (in color no red and black) as I found those to be quite good, and showcased the virtual boys 3d extremely well.

  31. Albert

    I tried, but not a fan

    I'm not in the market for a hand held, but I tried a friends 3DS at the weekend.

    The 3D when it worked was good.

    I was playing a driving game, but when I went around a corner in the game it messed up and I lost all 3D and the image was not clear.

    So, for still images it worked well.

    For moving images it failed.

    It might just be me and my eyes, but not something I want to experience again.

    Note: your experience and enjoyment may be different.

  32. Senjak

    Cute, but not all that exciting.

    Cute, but I wasn't really thinking about picking one up till my GF's 10 year old made it clear that she *really* wanted on.

    Marketing for the win.


  33. Anonymous Coward

    Holding it off...

    Hint: Launch Animal Crossing 3D sooner.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought it worked well...

    Gave it a go in John Lewis. I have red/green colour "blindness". It worked well, I could see the 3d without any trouble and was quite impressed (I can also see "magic" picture 3d stuff quite easily)

    No "eyestrain" (you can't strain your eyes, only tire the muscles), no sickness. Too expensive though and the battery life would annoy me.

  35. PaulR79

    Puzzled public on 3D? No..

    Perhaps it's that some are finally seeing that Nintendo are trying to release a new handheld which is essentially a DSi, which was essentially a DS Lite which in itself was a better looking DS. There are no major new advantages or reasons to replace a DS Lite or a DSi especially when you consider the serious loss of battery life you get with the 3DS.

    Nintendo - stop releasing the same thing with slightly revised spec. and cashing in on the puzzled public.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No he didn't

    He said that:

    - it's tough to market because the public can't see the difference without hands-on experience

    - when they do get their hands on it they're often not aware that you need to adjust it to your vision so they may just think it's crap.

    That's blaming marketing.

  37. Anonymous Coward


    another nail in the coffin of "3D"...

    When you have proper laser holographic projectors that can beam images into the middle of my room, come knocking, Till that time, stop flogging the horse...

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