Nintendo sells fewer 3DS units than expected, though it's still some 10x the number of Vitas sold

Nintendo hasn't sold quite as many 3DS units as it expected over the past financial year, contributing to a cut in forecast profits being announced to investors. Losses are still being made (after last year's first ever recorded loss for the company), but at least the losses are declining.

For the six months ending on September 30, 2012, Nintendo recorded global sales of 201 billion yen (£1.58bn/$2.52bn), down 6.8 per cent on the same period for the year previous. But the loss of 28 billion yen (£220m/$350.7m) was down from the 70 billion yen ($877m/£551m) lost during the same period the year before, so at least progress is being made.

Nintendo said that overseas sales of the 3DS (that just means 'outside of Japan') were lower than expected and the yen itself was blamed for a lot of the loss, which was enough for Nintendo to cut its profits forecast for 2012 from 20 billion yen ($250m/£157m) to six billion yen ($75m/£47m).

But even when things are clearly far from perfect, there's still an undeniable figure, right there in black-and-white, that Nintendo 3DS has sold 22.19 million units as of September 30 this year. That's about where the original DS was at this point in its lifecycle, so they're following the same sales arc so far.

By comparison, the latest figure we have for Sony's PlayStation Vita (which launched in February) was this report in June, touting 2.2 million worldwide sales. Forgiving the few months of missing data (Sony's gone quiet on Vita sales since then), that's somewhere around 10 3DS units for every PS Vita.

Nintendo's got a pretty secure hold on the handheld console market, especially considering worldwide DS sales currently stand at 152 million. But with all the healthy sales not translating into company-wide profit, a lot is riding on Wii U. Nintendo is aiming to sell 5.5 million of those by April. Is that going to happen? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Sources: Nintendo, Eurogamer, CVG




  • JarkayColt - October 24, 2012 12:06 p.m.

    Despite the losses, those numbers do look pretty good, and obviously the losses themselves were accrued for various reasons...I mean, you'd expect at least SOME sort of substantial outlay before launching something like the WiiU. I still think the pace of 3DS sales should have been proportionately higher to DS ones though, since the DS was untested and took a while to boom. You'd have thought the 3DS would've rode high on that wave of expectation, but I think it kind of dropped off. I wish Nintendo would get their digital pricing right because at least there they might be able to make a fast and consistent turnover if they could entice more, but cheaper, sales, rather than making everything uninvitingly expensive. Seriously, if VC games were like a quid each they'd be flying. Also the Vita really deserves to sell more, if only to cement any confidence that handheld gaming isn't at any threat.
  • wingsdjy - October 24, 2012 9:22 a.m.

    That's a mind boggling amount of money for a company to lose over the past 2 years. I wonder where it all went. Manufacturing and R&D costs in developing 2 new systems?
  • ultimatepunchrod - October 24, 2012 7:49 a.m.

    2.2 million in less than a full year isn't too bad, but Sony has to do a lot to catch up. Cross buy and Plus support are a good start, but they need to do more. I think the Vita is an exceptional device with more than a few good games. I wish more people were buying. I have a 3DS and Vita, and I really enjoy both. I hope more people do the same.
  • sweetchiliheat - October 24, 2012 11:36 a.m.

    I'm in the same pond as you, but I have far more motivation to play my 3DS over my Vita. Vita's really only got Gravity Rush and a few PSP ports. Mind you Battle Royale should give me more reason to play it

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