Analyst reports suggest that the Nintendo 3DS sold 500,000 units in the U.S. in its debut month, due to strong pre-orders.
Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said in a Monday research note that he also expect sales of the original Nintendo DS to cut in half due to the launch of the 3DS, while the new handheld has the potential to give the U.S. game industry the boost it needs to enter positive territory in April.
Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creutz predicted much higher numbers, stating that he expects the 3DS sold around 750,000 units in March in the U.S. He suggests that Nintendo's latest release will be a "stabilizing factor" for the handheld market.
The Nintendo 3DS launched in the U.S. on March 27, so first-month figures will be limited to the opening few days of the new hardware. NPD Group will release its U.S. video game retail sales figures this Thursday.
Following the device's U.S. launch, Nintendo said the 3DS had the highest day-one U.S. sales
of any handheld Nintendo platform.
The 3DS launched on March 25 in Europe, where Nintendo said the handheld sold 303,000 units in the region during its opening weekend. The platform launched in Japan in late February this year.
Meanwhile, in a separate report from UK-based analyst firm Screen Digest predicts that 11.6 million Nintendo 3DS consoles will have been sold worldwide by the end of the year, with a total global installed base of 70 million by 2015.
The original Nintendo DS and DS Lite combined had sold 91 million at the same point in its sale cycle. Piers Harding Rolls, lead games analyst at IHS, said, "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 3D graphics, camera and video, is key to Nintendo competing with upcoming devices from Sony and also from non-specialist smart phones, entertainment devices and tablets, which offer a legitimate alternative to handheld consoles."