Nintendo has offered an explanation for its decision to withhold the New 3DS and New 3DS XL from Western markets this year.
The reason, boss Satoru Iwata says, is that the company does not yet believe that the current 3DS has achieved its full sales potential outside of Japan and there are concerns that releasing the redesigned handheld will prevent it ever doing so.
The overseas markets are different from the Japanese market in both their stages of popularization of Nintendo 3DS and their market characteristics,” boss Satoru Iwata told investors.
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 17m 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 US 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 popularisation 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 US and Europe, on the other hand, highly acclaimed games are likely to be longtime sellers.”