US 3DS sold nearly 440,000 in first week

While it may not have been the most amazing product launch ever, Nintendo’s new 3DS held its own.

Nearly 440,000 units were sold in its first week after going on sale March 27, Nintendo said. That is a bit less than some analysts had predicted, and it’s a far cry from being the most successful video game system launch, but it is a solid start. The 3DS is Nintendo’s most expensive handheld system ever, and it launched without a headlining Nintendo franchise (Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Kirby, etc).

So in the scheme of things, it’s not too bad. Nintendo added its own PR spin, tallying up 3DS and regular DS sales for all of March, allowing it to say it sold more handheld systems than any other March in the company’s history.

Nintendo said in March, it sold 860,000 handhelds, though it’s unclear exactly how many of those were 3DS units, since the first-week figure of 440,000 was split between March and April.

The fate of the 3DS is still to be determined, though many consumers feel Nintendo rushed it to the market. It isn’t even a fully finished product, since one of the main features – a digital download platform that will allow users to buy classic Game Boy titles as well as brand new 3DS games directly from the device – won’t be available until this summer. Nintendo will be updating systems that are already on the market.

The DS library is still holding strong for Nintendo, though the company is facing a serious maturity issue right now. It’s expected the company will unveil a successor to the Wii at E3 in June.