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Nintendo Investor Briefing: Nintendo 3DS, seeking the female audience in Japan, evergreen titles

During the Financial Results Briefing with investors, Satoru Iwata explained that the New Nintendo 3DS had a good launch in North America and Europe. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, which were launched on the same day, also enjoyed great success.

Next, Satoru Iwata showed a graph comparing Year on Year sell-through data for the Nintendo 3DS (Hardware and Software). In the West, Hardware sales fell below last year’s, because the New Nintendo 3DS wasn’t launched until February 2015.

07lThen, in the fourth quarter, the New Nintendo 3DS was launched in the West, which brought momentum to the platform once again. But in Japan, the situation was quite different: while Hardware sales were quite stable, Software sales are down Year on Year.

Here’s a graph showing sell-through ratio for Q4 (January 1st – March 31st):

08lIn Japan, Satoru Iwata reminds us that Hardware sales are nearing 19 million units since launch. As for Software, Nintendo finds the situation promising because of:

– the numerous hits that came out during the second half of 2014;
– high hopes for upcoming titles (both first and third party).

On the Hardware front, the launch of the New Nintendo 3DS led to positive results. That being said, Nintendo still hasn’t been able to break free from the “period beyond the popularization of the Nintendo 3DS in which the performance leveled off”. In other words, sales of the Nintendo 3DS peaked a while ago, and the launch of the New Nintendo 3DS has only been able to “neutralize” the “natural” drop in sales that usually follows (instead of leading to a new period of growth).

In order to revitalise the Nintendo 3DS business in Japan, Nintendo is going to appeal to even more generations of female players. To do so, the company will release various games popular among female players, such as Girls Mode 3: KiraKira Code (already available), Rhythm Heaven: The Best+ (out in June) or Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (to be released in September).

As for the West, Satoru Iwata reiterated that the Nintendo 3DS still hasn’t reached its full market potential, and that there’s definitely room from growth. That being said, the launch of the New Nintendo 3DS gave the platform some momentum, as seen when stores ran out of stock at launch.

Nintendo will also rely on the famous “evergreen titles”: those games that just keep on selling during long periods of times. For Satoru Iwata, people focus too much on the huge spike in sales right after launch. With Nintendo handhelds, Hardware always sell well when new titles are launched, but also when coupled with big evergreen titles.


During the past fiscal year, the following games ended up selling over 1 million units worldwide:

– Mario Kart 7 (launched in 2011)
– New Super Mario Bros. 2 (launched in 2012)
– Animal Crossing: New Leaf (launched in 2012-13)
– Pokémon X and Y (launched in 2013)

Those games are all what Nintendo calls “evergreen titles”, and they enjoyed great sales (especially in the West) during the past Fiscal Year. Those games, coupled with great new releases (such as Pokémon Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire, Tomodachi Life in the West, or Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS) are quite beneficial to the platform.

Therefore, Nintendo’s strategy is the following: keep sales of evergreen titles strong, but also release brand new popular software to further broaden the userbase (and increase the number of evergreen titles). In the West, the company will also promote local multiplayers with games such as Mario Kart, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS,  Pokémon, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and Yo-Kai Watch.

Source: Nintendo


Founder and main writer for Perfectly Nintendo. Tried really hard to find something funny and witty to put here, but had to admit defeat.

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