Over the weekend, Nintendo unleashed the 3DS, its all-new handheld which boasts the ability to look at 3D images and video without glasses. It’s the latest in the long line of handheld gaming systems from the makers of Mario and looks to be their most successful one yet.
Official numbers aren’t yet available but Nintendo issued the following statement:
U.S. day-one sales numbers for Nintendo 3DS were the highest of any Nintendo hand-held system in our history. More details about U.S. sales numbers will be made public on April 14, when first-week U.S. sales figures will be tallied by the independent NPD Group. Nintendo worked hard to get as much product as possible to retailers on day one to meet demand, and we will continue with these efforts moving forward.”
The 3D implementation on the 3DS is impressive but finicky. When it works, the top screen of the device adds depth and layering to the graphics presented. But, you need to hold the device very still to make sure that what you see doesn’t break down into the two component images. The 3DS will also be able to pick up Mii avatars and player data from other units even if both are in sleep mode. Most important for 3D movie fans are plans to host Hollywood trailers and video clips created by users via the 3D camera on the unit.
So the thing clearly has money-making potential, right? To underscore that point, recent reports show that it costs around $100 in parts to make the 3DS. So, aside from labor and distribution resources that they already have in place, it stands to reason that Nintendo’s probably making a killing on the handheld. Still, most of the components come from the company’s native Japan and the post-quake manufacturing capabilities of those suppliers may not be able to keep up with demand.