New Nintendo 3DS launched in Japan recently, and it’s already breaking sales records. Unfortunately, the only regions that see New Nintendo 3DS in 2014 are Japan and Australia—the rest of the gaming world has to wait until 2015 for the system to be released, and Nintendo hasn’t really explained why—until today, that is.
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata explains that the 3DS is in different points in its life cycle in different regions. In Japan, consoles sell very quickly and don’t show much long-term growth; but in Western territories, he says, high quality software keeps its consoles moving units over a much more sustained period of time. Thus, in Japan, people are ready to move on to a new 3DS system—and with the release of games like Yokai Watch and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, now is a great time to launch new hardware. But America and Europe don’t have those 3DS games, and consoles are still selling at a steady rate.
“When it comes to the overseas markets, we do not plan to launch New Nintendo 3DS/3DS XL for the U.S. or Europe this year. Additionally, there are only a couple of big titles, ‘Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS,’ and ‘Pokémon Omega Ruby’ and ‘Pokémon Alpha Sapphire,’ overseas as no ‘YOKAI WATCH’ franchises or ‘Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate’ will be scheduled this year there. Based on these observations, some might wonder if, apart from the domestic market, the sales of Nintendo 3DS will really be able to gain momentum in the overseas markets.
The overseas markets are different from the Japanese market in both their stages of popularization of Nintendo 3DS and their market characteristics. The stage of popularization of Nintendo 3DS means the degree to which we have turned potential purchasing power into actual sales of the product in a market. In Japan, 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 GameBoy 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 XL to the market this year. To the contrary, neither of the cumulative sales figures of Nintendo 3DS in the U.S. nor Europe is more than that in Japan despite, based on the historical performance, bigger sales potential. In short, Nintendo 3DS is still at an earlier stage of popularization in these two markets.
Also, the difference in market characteristics shows up in the software sales pace. In the Japanese market, both hardware and software tend to sell during a short period along with a quick spread of information on them. In the U.S. and Europe, on the other hand, highly acclaimed games are likely to be longtime sellers.” — Satoru Iwata
It ultimately makes sense why they’ve decided to hold off on releasing it worldwide, but I can’t say I’m not disappointed we have to wait a while longer. What do you think?