Nintendo president Satoru Iwata expressed confidence that recent sales for the Wii and 3DS would see a larger-than-normal upsurge going into the holiday buying season.
In a presentation to investors accompanying the company's recent, worse-than-expected earnings report
, Iwata used recent sales data to show Nintendo hardware has historically shown its sales strength overwhelmingly during the holiday period.
Looking at the Wii's recent performance, for instance, Iwata showed that fourth quarter Wii sales in 2009 and 2010 were roughly 400 percent higher than those for the third quarter -- other systems saw a more modest increase of about 200 percent during the holiday period. Similar trends could be observed in European Wii sales for the last two years, he showed.
Iwata attributed the Wii's stronger-than-normal holiday increase to a specific seasonality in the system's appeal -- the Wii "has many software titles that can be enjoyed when many people gather together during the year-end holidays," he said.
The Nintendo president also used historical Nintendo DS sales data to show that a slow start for the 3DS doesn't mean the system won't start to take off as the holidays approach.
In Europe, for instance, the Nintendo DS launched in March, 2005, and saw relatively flat sales through its first October, much as the March-launched 3DS has this year.
European DS sales shot up sharply in the system's first November and December on shelves, however, doubling the system's European installed base to over 3 million by the end of the year.
In Japan and North America, the original DS used a 2004 holiday launch to build up a more significant initial sales base than that the 3DS. However, Nintendo's data shows the DS' sales trajectory was even slower than the 3DS' in the middle months of 2005, before another holiday surge picked things up again.
Iwata said he hopes the late-year launch of 3DS titles like Super Mario 3D Land
and Mario Kart 7
will create "a far more exciting year-end sales season this year compared to the second Christmas sales for the Nintendo DS."
What's more, he hopes those holiday titles will lead the new system to become "explosively widespread and sweep away some reports that game-dedicated devices are coming to an end."