Even though the 3DS XL was released in the UK this past Saturday, European hardware sales numbers are never made public. Speculation says that Nintendo sold around 10,000 systems in the first day, which is about 2:1 over the original 3DS.
Keeping in mind the 3DS XL launched without a prominent title by its side, Nintendo should expect their sales record in the UK to improve dramatically in the coming weeks. The New Super Mario Bros. 2 comes out August 19, and if history repeats itself, a highly anticipated addition to the Mario franchise should drive up the 3DS XL sales.
Even though the amount of hardware sold in the UK may not be astonishing, software sales did go up significantly, 11% overall in the past week to be exact. Mario Kart 7 sales increased 45% and reached 13th on the all format charts. Mario 3D Land sales went up 37%, and Mario and Sonic London Olympics went up 25%.
It may not come as a surprise, but the 3DS XL was a smash hit in hand-held loving Japan. According to metro.co.uk, the hardware sold 193,000 copies in just its first week. The system launched alongside the New Super Mario Bros. 2, which showed the console selling power of an exclusive first-party Mario title. The game itself sold 430,000 copies, making it the third best selling non-bundled game of all time.
So what can you take away from the impressive Japanese sales figures and the almost non-existent UK ones? The 3DS XL seems to have some mass appeal, but the true success of the system seems to be dependant on the existence of titles from the bedrock franchises Nintendo is known for.
Nintendo UK Marketing Manager Ben Taylor, in an interview with VG247, argued that great third party support will also be a driving factor in the continual success of the 3DS and 3DS XL.
“The 3DS continues to perform really well in Japan, which is great to see. In terms of software we’ve not only had some really strong first party titles such as The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, and Kid Icarus, but we’ve also got really strong third party support party support so can offer something for everyone,” he said. “This is a positive sign and we are confident that as we saw with the original DS, we will see growth in the UK.”