At this point, we all know Nintendo's 3DS has been a hit. Nintendo, however, might be in for a rude awakening if research firm IHS iSuppli's numbers are correct. The firm believes that sales are going to stall out pretty quickly, leaving only 11.6 million units worldwide by the end of the year.
Projecting those numbers out, they are anticipating 70 million units by 2015. While this number sounds big to you and I, it leaves a lot to be desired when compared to the 91 million the classic DS and DS Lite had at the same point in the sales cycle. As of right now, though, the whole family has a total of 136 million units, spread across the original DS, DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL and now the 3DS. The rest of the units have all suffered similar fates.
What does Nintendo think about all of this? Hit the break to find out.
The problem here is that Nintendo doesn't seem to understand how much is a lot of money or units sold. That is evident in that they keep releasing new handhelds all of the time. The DSi, DSi XL and 3DS have all come out very close together. This is preventing a lot of people from buying one for fear of a better one coming out right after. Plus, there are already 136 million units out there. The market is pretty saturated at this point. You really have to wow the users to get them to buy another one, although the 3DS has certainly a good way to do it.
The IHS report says,
Nintendo's accent on network services in the key U.S. market represents an attempt to convince users to carry their 3DS systems with them at all times and to engage with the platform everyday and in every place. This engagement strategy, alongside 3-D graphics, camera and video, is key to Nintendo competing with upcoming devices from Sony and also from non-specialist smartphones, entertainment devices and tablets, which offer a legitimate alternative to handheld consoles.
In turn, the social functionality will be a core aspect in convincing consumers to use the 3DS on a regular basis and take advantage of the platform's ability to compete with other similarly connected devices while consumers are on the move.
Nintendo has seen a lot of competition from the iPhone and Android handsets. While not really offering the same high-quality gaming experience of the DS family, they are already on us all the time. However, with the everywhere Internet access you get on a smartphone, you can get new games while you are waiting for your dentist, whereas the 3DS has to have WiFi access to accomplish the same thing.
There is only one way to know what will actually happen and that is to follow the numbers over the next few years. Will Nintendo succeed or will smartphones end portable gaming handhelds forever? Let us know in the comments.