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Nintendo dominated holiday sales thanks to an old stalwart

by Danny Zepeda | January 19, 2018January 19, 2018 6:00 am EST

Nintendo had a very good 2017 buoyed by the enormous success of the Switch. And that continued well into the holiday season, where Nintendo again boasted the best sales of the major console makers. That is partly due to the Switch, but also an unlikely source long-thought dead after the Switch made its debut: the Nintendo 3DS.

In December, Nintendo sold 750,000 3DS systems, including the 2DS spinoffs. That is a 26-percent jump over the same timeframe in 2016 and it is the best-selling month for the system since December 2004.

The Nintendo 3DS’ renaissance is highly unlikely, especially when you consider the Nintendo Switch directly cannibalized its market, but it still found a way to succeed. That’s due to a number of reasons. Number one on that list is the release of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon. The Pokémon franchise has always been a driving force for Nintendo, and that is still true today. Second is Nintendo’s willingness to offer steep discounts on the Nintendo 3DS consoles by as much as 15-percent.

There was also the myriad of different special editions of the Nintendo 3DS. The Pokémon 2DS, SNES 3DS XL and Zelda 2DS in particular looked amazing.

For as great of a story as this is, this may be the Nintendo 3DS’ last hoorah. Nintendo is going full steam ahead with the Switch, likely leaving few resources for its other handheld system.

The Nintendo Switch was still the top-selling console for Nintendo, moving 1.5 million units in the month of December. That’s even more impressive considering Nintendo didn’t offer any discounts for it. It’s fantastic list of games that includes Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe surely drove interest in the console.

In total, Nintendo says it sold 2.6 million gaming consoles in December, including the SNES Classic. Doing the math, that means Nintendo sold 350,000 SNES Classics as well. Even Nintendo’s third console option sold like gangbusters.

This past year was definitely as good one for Nintendo. It’s hoping to keep that up in 2018 with the introduction of Nintendo Labo.


Danny Zepeda

Born and raised in Southern California, Danny grew up on a steady diet Pixar, Star Wars and Steven Spielberg movies. Unbeknownst to him, this was...