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NPD: DS outsells 3DS in US debut month

New portable sells "just fewer" than 400k.

The 3DS was outsold in its debut month on US shelves by its predecessor, the DS, according to new sales data released by the NPD Group.

The DS was the biggest-selling system in the US during March, off the back of a strong launch for Pokémon Black/White which, combined, sold 2.5 million copies.

The RPG duo topped the software charts, with Pokémon White racking up the best debut month of any single SKU in the franchise to date. Pokémon Black is third in the all-time list.

Speaking in an interview with USA Today, Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime revealed that the 3DS sold just under 400,000 units in the week following its 27th March launch.

"We are very satisfied with this start and we look forward to the momentum that we will build on Nintendo 3DS with the launch of the E-Shop, the launch of the 3-D trailers for Hollywood movies and the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in mid-June, as well as the launch of Netflix later on in the summer," he commented.

NPD analyst Anita Frazier noted that though sales did not match the DS's launch month tally in November 2004, it was still a very profitable start for Nintendo's new device.

"The 3DS launched in the US on 3/27, so seven days of retail sales are included in this month's results. The 3DS launch compares quite favorably to that of the best-selling dedicated handheld gaming platform of all time, the Nintendo DS," she commented.

"While the 3DS sold about 100K units less than the DS did in its launch month, we must consider that the DS launched in November and had holiday seasonality and a price differential of about $100.

"Because of the price differential, the 3DS generated greater revenues than did the DS in its launch month in November 2004. In addition, the 3DS was launched in an environment where there are more devices that can support the portable gaming experience such as tablets and smartphones."

As a comparison, the 3DS sold 303,000 units in Europe during its first two days on sale.

Frazier also noted that sales of the PSP, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were all up month-on-month.

Over on the software side, sales were well down on March 2010, which saw the release of Final Fantasy XIII, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and God of War 3.

As mentioned above, Pokémon ruled the roost, with strong showings from newcomers Homefront, Dragon Age II and Crysis 2.

No 3DS titles made the top 10, though Super Street Fighter IV 3D was the most popular choice for early adopters.

"Despite selling fewer hardware units in its debut month as compared to the DS, more units of 3DS software sold through retail this month than did DS software in November 2004," noted Frazier.

Here's the full top 10:

  1. Pokemon White Version (NDS) Nintendo
  2. Pokemon Black Version (NDS) Nintendo
  3. Homefront (360, PS3, PC) THQ
  4. Dragon Age II (360, PS3, PC) Electronic Arts
  5. Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, NDS, Wii, PC) Activision Blizzard
  6. LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Wii, 360, NDS, PS3, 3DS, PSP, PC) LucasArts
  7. Crysis 2 (360, PS3, PC) Electronic Arts
  8. NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP, PC) Take 2 Interactive
  9. MLB 11: The Show (PS3, PSP, PS2) Sony
  10. Fight Night Champion (360, PS3) Electronic Arts

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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