Nintendo 3DS sales soar in Japan after price cut

Nintendo's 3DS handheld game console had a strong week of sales in Japan after its price was slashed 40 percent

Sales of Nintendo's 3DS handheld game console soared in Japan last week when its price was cut 40 percent, according to data released Tuesday.

The gaming device had its best seven-day run of sales since its launch in February, moving 214,821 units, said Japanese publisher Enterbrain, which tracks the gaming market.

That total for the week through Sunday, Aug. 14 marked a significant jump from previous weeks despite including just four days at the newly reduced price. In the week through July 24, the last full week before Nintendo announced the new pricing, only 32,381 were sold in Japan.

On Aug. 11, Nintendo lowered the price of its flagship handheld from ¥25,000 to ¥15,000 (US$325 to $195). The drastic move came less than six months after the 3DS was launched, after a tepid reception from gamers and in an attempt to build market share before the launch of Sony's PlayStation Vita handheld, which is due out late this year in Japan and early next year elsewhere.

Before it launched, Nintendo heralded the 3DS for its use of a three-dimensional screen that doesn't require users to wear special glasses. Sales started strong after the Feb. 26 launch, when gamers formed long lines and snatched up 371,326 of the devices, according to Enterbrain.

But the hype faded fast, and no week of sales came close to that until last week's price cut. Sales of the dual-screen portable have also been weighed down by a lack of popular software.

Nintendo has stuck to its global 3DS sales target through March of 16 million units. It has so far sold about 1.5 million in Japan, Enterbrain said.

The company is also facing fading sales of its iconic Wii console, and last month announced total sales revenue in the April to June quarter was down by half from a year earlier. Nintendo also cut its sales target for the Wii and lowered its annual net profit target by over 80 percent.

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Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
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