Price behind slow 3DS sales, claims survey

New Japanese report suggests health worries and launch titles also to blame

A new survey by Goo Research has found that concerns over price is the primary reason for low sales of the 3DS in Japan, followed by current satisfaction with the DS/DSi.

Although the 3DS initially broke records in Japan, weekly sales quickly began to drop and the hardware currently sells approximately half that of the best-selling PSP format. Sales in the West appear to show a similar drop-off.

According to a translation by website Andriasang, the new survey polled 1,110 people - with a 60.5 per cent split towards females - and asked them why they had not yet bought a 3DS.

The number one reason given was that the price is too high or that they are waiting for a price drop. The second most common reason was "satisfied by DS/DSi", followed by "worried about eye strain", "worried about getting sick from the screen", and "few launch titles".

The sixth most common reason was "will buy once a game I want is released", followed by "satisfied by cell phone and smartphone games", "satisfied by PSP", "the battery is weak", and "it's heavy and I don't feel like carrying it with me".

All of the most popular reasons are commonplace complaints for the system, but Nintendo has given no indication of any possible price drop. A number of new titles are expected to be announced at E3 next week though, at which point the online features, including the eShop, will also be activated.

A previous survey by Goo Research in March, just after the 3DS's release, asked the question "What game system will you buy next?", with the 3DS beating the NGP by 14,668 votes to 5,200.

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Latest comments (8)

Nick Burcombe CEO & Co Founder, Playrise Digital Ltd.9 years ago
I got one at launch to see what the screen was like, but after that initial "Oh, thats neat" moment, the undeniable truth is that the user-experience is identical to the DS/DSi. Nintendo (of all companies) should have known that the price would have to be similar as the experience wasn't different enough. The Wii genuinely innovated and changed the way you interacted with the console and clearly Nintendo have been well rewarded - considering the cheap tech inside it. Sadly, 3DS simply doesn't do enough new to warrant the price and it looks horribly dated in design terms.
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James Martin Editor, The Gamer Scene9 years ago
If I'm honest, I would have considered buying one at launch more than I did if the price was lower. The Vita is a system that I would really like to get at launch because I know that there will be good games at launch at a lot of good games to come shortly after, if you get what I mean. Sony's consoles are more likely to give me the games I want sooner like Uncharted and other PlayStation exclusives whereas Nintendo exclusives such as Zelda are just rehashes that I'm not interested in.

It all comes down to opinion at the end of the day, but I think the general consensus is that the 3DS is no where near as strong as it could have been which is a disappointment. I may have to buy one though when Metal Gear Solid comes out, remake or not, it's one of my favourite franchises!
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David Spender Lead Programmer 9 years ago
I hear you James, 3D seems like another gimmick that Nintendo can use to sell you its old game catalog all over again. I'm getting a little tired of it. How many times have I bought certain zelda games? Too many times!!!
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 9 years ago
Honestly, for me it was the price and the second reason the games. Most of em were ports that ran the full price of a premium game. Also aside from the 3D, my expirience with 3DS was very similar to my DS. The 3D added nothing. Its not like I can look in around and behind an objects. So its still a game projected on a 2D screen. I also found yself playing most games with the 3D off, Simply because the image was sharper to me.

Im looking foward to metal gear 3DS and Ocarina of time. But even those games dont warrent a 3DS purchase. Im hoping brand new games, made specifically for 3DS.
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John Kauderer Associate Creative Director, Atari9 years ago
I haven't bought one yet because none of the games available are "must haves" in my opinion. Give me something like a new Advance Wars, or Fire Emblem and I'm starting to get interested. A new Metroid or other high profile first party title would also help.

That being said, I didn't buy a DS until the lite came out so I have some time.
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James Verity9 years ago
at its current price range 200-250 you can buy other better gadgets than the 3ds... screen also seems to small IMO...
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Jason Sartor Copy editor/Videographer, Florida Today9 years ago
The encouraging side of this survey is that smart phones as a game device is only the seventh most popular reason for not buying the 3DS. I think that may well show that dedicated portable gaming devices still offer a lot to the consumer provided the games and experiences are top quality and unique.
The price factor also has a lot to do with the economy, and I believe the earthquake and tsunami in Japan continue to take their toll.
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Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer 9 years ago
I still think it is overpriced and with the lack of good games on offer, I don't think I will get one till the price drops off a bit. Also there might be a better model coming out in a year or two so why rush? Unless there is really a compelling game coming out, why would I want to spend money on a handheld that costs more than a home console? Nintendo is getting a bit arrogant about their brand name - they should know that even Sony couldn't pull it off with PSP and PS3, why could they?
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