Pokémon and 3DS Lead Handheld Conquest of March
March proved to be another successful month for Nintendo, with the one-two punch of a new system and new Pokémon titles making it the best in the company’s history for the handheld market.
Pokémon Black and White combined to sell a total of 2.4 million units and helped drive sales of the old DS family of handhelds to a total of 460,000. Meanwhile, 3DS sold nearly 400,000 units in its first week. On the home console front, 290,000 Wiis were sold in March, bringing total Nintendo hardware sales to over 1.1 million.
Nintendo also took a moment out of their gloating to remind the world of the June 13 release of Wii Play: Motion for Wii and the June 19 release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for 3DS.
Digital Sales Picking Up Retail Slack
NPD’s monthly tracking of game sales painted a a rather bleak picture for the industry in 2010 with overall sales dropping 5% from 2009. However, totals for digital content have now been added into the equation and that drop has been slashed to only .5%.
Of last year’s $15.9 billion in gaming sales, a whopping 5.8 billion of that came from digital distribution. This is a 23% growth over last year’s digital sales, which now account for over a third of the US gaming market.
In order to better track month-to-month digital sales, NDP has bought out In-Stat, another tracking firm that specializes in digital content.
Rumors Galore on Wii Successor
Various gaming sites with an army of “industry insider” sources have unleashed a torrent of claims about an imminent reveal of Nintendo’s next generation of home consoles. Remember, nothing you are about to read has been confirmed.
First of all, the new system may or may not continue the Wii name as Nintendo may or may not try to create a more “hardcore” centric brand. The system will, at the very least, match 360 and PS3 in terms of processing power and HD visuals and could even potentially far exceed them. A new controller is allegedly in the works that will feature a HD screen built into it that might even be touch sensitive. The system will also be backwards compatible with Wii software.
Perhaps the most important bit of speculation is that Nintendo has already been showing off the new system to third developers and is creating a great deal of buzz well ahead of launch.
Finally, Nintendo will fully unveil the system at E3 in June, though it might officially be announced in the coming weeks. As for release date, Nintendo is allegedly aiming for a late 2012 launch at the latest.