News: Nintendo 3DS Overtakes Lifetime Gamecube Sales in Japan, and Announces Paid Download Content.

Nintendo 3DS Logo
Nintendo 3DS Logo

Upon it’s launch, many people had already counted the Nintendo 3DS as a failure, claiming a slow start and a big price tag were to be it’s downfall. The latest numbers would seem to put these claims to rest, in Japan at least. Lifetime 3DS sales have hit 4,135,739 units, surpassing the lifetime sales of the Nintendo Gamecube (as of this year counted at 4,040,000 units), a feat made more impressive by the
fact that the system has only been out for about ten months. It is also worth noting that this number was reached far faster than even the popular Nintendo Wii, a system on the shelves for 54 weeks before surpassing the lifetime sales numbers of the Gamecube.

Software sales have been keeping up as well, with Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario Land 3D passing the one million copy sold mark, coming in at 1,082,391 and 1,042,511 respectively. Monster Hunter 3G is also quickly closing the gap to one million.

With just under three months to go, Nintendo is still a ways off from their predicted fifteen million sales by March 31, 2012. They do seem to be closing the gap now, however, with the help of a massive price cut and some decent first party titles. With big titles on the way like Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance and Resident Evil Revelations early this year, the number does not seem as unattainable as it had seemed mere months ago.

Within the same month as their fifteen million sale mark, Nintendo has planned to launch the start of paid download content sales on the 3DS. The first game to be receiving downloadable content will be the first Fire Emblem game released on the console. Fire Emblem was announced back in September, and there has been very little information released about it since. Players will be able to use either prepaid cards or credit card to make purchases. The 3DS firmware was already updated for billing functionality earlier this month. Third party publishers are also making preparations for paid download content to begin rolling out starting summer 2012.


  1. Those ARE impressive sales figures, but saying you beat the gamcube’s sales is like saying you beat starving one legged man in game of DDR.

  2. I think the part that is supposed to be impressive is the amount of time in which they close in on the number, and how much faster they did so than with the Wii. Still, it makes sense that they would sell this many more nearer to the holidays, so I don’t see them keeping up with this speed of selling now that the holiday season is passing. Also I’m sure there is a one legged man somewhere who kicks ass at DDR

  3. but is he *starving*?

    Yeah, the 3DS is sure to lose steam now that the holidays are over. But then again, proprietary handheld gaming is likely on a general decline anyway.

  4. Is it really a surprise that a portable sells faster than a console in Japan?

  5. @SN It’s almost like Japanese people don’t have a whole lot of time to devote to gaming, so they’d need a console they could take with them so that they could play a casual game during a short break!

  6. ^Almost as if 90% of their recreational time is spent in transit on bullet trains!

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