Nintendo lowers 3DS forecast

Nintendo is yet again eating 3DS-flavored crow as it lowers internal estimates for how many handheld units will be sold in the next two months.

The company previously projected that 16 million 3DS systems would be sold by the end of March, which is the end of the company’s fiscal year. Now, though, it says the number is likely to be more like 14 million.

Last year, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata admitted, “We were not able to launch Nintendo 3DS at a time when a sufficient number of strong software titles were ready.”

For a company that has incredibly strong devotees, in an environment where people are willing to line up at stores for just about anything, the 3DS debut was incredibly lackluster.

Things didn’t improve until Nintendo decided to radically slash the price – a move that is almost unheard of for a company with a history of rigid pricing – and began releasing games that people actually wanted to buy.

THe holiday season was a success for the 3DS, with titles like Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land leading to significant hardware and software sales.

But it wasn’t enough to bring the 3DS up to the levels that Nintendo wanted. When it comes to handheld gaming systems, it’s almost inconceivable that Nintendo would need to backpeddle at all. But that is the essence of today’s gaming environment. It’s a very different culture today than it was when the Game Boy came out.