Nintendo Explains New 3DS Absence in the West

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New Nintendo 3DS | Nintendo Explains New 3DS Absence in The West

With the announcement of the New 3DS last August for the Japanese market, most expected a Western release announcement to be forthcoming. We have yet to receive one, and it is looking unlikely to be released before the end of the year. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata explained their strategy in the company’s recent financial briefing. In short, Japan needed the sales bump.

“In Japan,” Iwata said in his presentation (translated), “the total number of sales of Nintendo 3DS has reached nearly 17 million in the three and a half years since its launch. It is almost the same as the lifetime sales of Game Boy Advance released in 2001, which implies that it is reasonable that the sales of Nintendo 3DS have been temporarily slow moving in the Japanese market. This is one of the reasons we needed to bring New Nintendo 3DS/3DS LL to the market this year.”

Outside of Japan, the “cumulative sales” have not reached the same numbers. Nintendo concludes that the 3DS has yet to reach the same “stage of popularization” in the foreign markets. Meaning, the old 3DS still has room for more growth and presenting an alternative would stymie that growth. Once Nintendo feels like the Western markets have reached that magic stage of popularization, they’ll most likely release it then to spur more growth.

The New 3DS is an improved and more powerful version of the current 3DS with more shoulder buttons and an additional analog stick on the right side. It is backwards compatible with the entire 3DS library, but future titles that tap into the improved processing power of the New 3DS will not be playable on the old 3DS. The recently announced port of Xenoblade Chronicles for the New 3DS is one such title.


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Karli Winata is an avid gamer with a taste for a little bit of everything. Except for sports games. And racing sims. And definitely not hidden object games! I guess everything is too broad a term. Suffice it to say that he has been known to play hours of Call of Duty multiplayer in between bouts of Persona fusing and Star Coin collecting while saving the world/galaxy through sensibly bald space marines or plucky teenagers with impossible hairstyles. Where does he find the time to write about them?