Nintendo admits 3DS faces US problems

Nintendo says that its newest handheld is a success in Japan, but can’t say the same about other regions.

In a call to investors, company president Satoru Iwata admitted, “What we should say first is that while the Nintendo 3DS has a certain degree of sales momentum in Japan, the momentum in the US and Europe is currently weak.”

“Sales of the Nintendo 3DS are constant in Japan and in fact we could say the sales volume is exceeding our forecast at the start of this fiscal year,” he affirmed, but because the European and US regions are much bigger, sales there “are supposed to be larger,” he noted.

Nintendo used to have a very solid track record of being able to keep its console prices solid for a long time after being released, but the 3DS was a very different story. The company had already slashed the system from $250 to $170 after just a couple months.

And in addition to being the most expensive system Nintendo has ever released, it launched without any good games, and heavyweight franchises like Mario took several months to come to the device.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata admitted there were many faults with the release of the 3DS. In addition to the lack of launch titles, the company missed its target of a holiday 2010 release, which could have spurred significantly more sales and given it much more traction out of the gate.

The system has now finally begun to turn around, but not until after it caused massive cuts in stock prices and significant salary reductions for some of the company’s top executives, including Iwata’s.

Even though the momentum has begun to turn around, “Solid sales momentum has not been created,” Iwata said.