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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nintendo 3DS hardware sales top 4 million in U.S., but does the media care?

While lackluster launch sales of Sony's PS Vita in Japan have brought out the doom and gloom talk of dedicated gaming handhelds being killed by smartphone gaming, Nintendo's 3DS continues to prove critics wrong.

On Jan. 3, Nintendo stated that the successor to the DS has sold more than 4 million units in the United States, which is more than the Wii did during its first nine months. Of course, the Wii went through severe shortages that seemed like forever when it first launched, so it probably would have sold more in the same time frame. But more importantly, first-year 3DS hardware sales continue to outpace first-year sales of the DS - the same DS that's sold around 150 million units worldwide. And the 3DS released right smack in the smartphone wildfire taking over the planet.

The 3DS surge is helped by Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7, which have sold 1 million each in the U.S. Expect these two games to easily be multimillion sellers. Mario Kart Wii has topped 11 million and New Super Mario Bros. for the DS is over 10 million in the U.S.

I don't expect the doom and gloom talk to end. If the PS Vita stumbles out of the gate in the U.S., much of the media will pounce all over it like Nintendo's early 3DS struggles. And they'll have good arguments. The $250 price tag, the $40-$50 games, etc.

But regarding the 3DS, they seem to be stuck in the past, not really caring that Nintendo has righted the 3DS ship in a big way. It's still all about the smartphones for them. The media loves them oh so much, and they think dedicated gaming handhelds can't co-exist in a world of iPhones.

Newsflash: They can. Nintendo is proving that.

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