By James Brightman
Nintendo 3DS is grabbing all the attention today after the handheld’s launch over the weekend. Anecdotal reports from various retail chains, however, point to there being plenty of supply in the channel still. So what gives? Did the release of Pokemon Black and White earlier in the month steal 3DS’s thunder (as Modojo suggests), or perhaps the price is too much for some?
IndustryGamers spoke to some analysts, and they actually weren’t surprised by the supply situation. “With an estimated 1.9MM units shipped into the NA/EU channel, I wouldn’t anticipate any stock-outs,” EEDAR’s Jesse Divnich told us. “The 3DS launch in North America and Europe produced sales that Nintendo should be proud of. Given the awareness and hype over the 3DS, I’d expect week 1 3DS sales to surpass week 1 DS sales from 2004.”
David Cole of DFC Intelligence agrees: “It is always interesting to watch supply and demand around launch. Nintendo said last week that they had record pre-orders BUT they expected plenty of stock and no shortages at stores. I think it was really down to just having a full supply where past systems there has always been trouble getting manufacturing up in time for a launch. We think it will be a very successful system.”
He continued, “Nintendo forecast shipping 4 million units of the 3DS through March 31. That is just a huge amount of hardware. It would be an absolute mind blowing record if they sold out of all of them in such a short time. By contrast the Wii shipped 3 million worldwide in its launch period (which was mid-Nov to 12/31/06). In other words, we could see Nintendo announcing some records soon when figures are tallied.”
As for Pokemon having any negative effect on the 3DS launch, the analysts didn’t see it that way.
“Launching Pokemon on the DS [prior to 3DS launch] was not a mistake. Expect Nintendo to be much more methodical with their 3DS release schedule compared to their previous launches. Nintendo realises that the competitive landscape is much more fierce than with previous hardware launches and you can expect Nintendo to leverage their strong portfolio of brands in a strategic manner to drive hardware awareness when it is needed,” Divnich said.
He added, “I don’t believe Nintendo needed a ‘killer app’ for the 3DS launch. The 3DS alone and its unique features will drive initial sales. Launching a large branded Nintendo title at the 3DS launch wouldn’t have delivered any incremental hardware sales. It would be much more efficient for Nintendo to wait for the initial launch buzz to subside before releasing a big first-party title, which of course will raise awareness back to its launch levels.”