The 3DS handheld sold under 400,000 units during its US debut, according to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime.
Speaking to USA Today, Fils-Aime said he was pleased with the opening sales for the system which launched on March 27.
However, the new console was outsold by the original DS systems, including the DSi and DSiXL, which shifted 460,000 units during the month, thanks in part to the launch of Pokemon Black and White - titles with combined sales of 2.5 million.
Analyst Cowen & Company had predicted the system would shift around 750,000 units in the US, and the system sold less than the more conservative 500,000 prediction of Wedbush Morgan.
"We staged supply so it would not sell out," said Fils-Aime. "We had product going direct to store and we also had product in retailers (distribution centers), so they could easily replenish when they had stores running low on inventory.
"That strategy is why you didn't see massive sellouts on Nintendo 3DS. Obviously, a sell-through of 400,000 units in one week is exceptional. And the fact that we achieved that without people being worried about massive stockouts and shortages just underscored how we properly executed our supply chain."
European sales of the 3DS came in at 303,000 units in its opening month, including 113,000 in the UK and 50,000 in Germany.