In 2006, the DS lit Japan on fire. The console sold over 8.4 million hardware units in that region alone, led by beyond-blockbuster releases New Super Mario Bros. and Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, with some help from regular-blockbusters including Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker, Kirby Squeak Squad, and a remake of Final Fantasy III.
In 2012, the 3DS sold a respectable 5.5 million consoles in Japan. Top-sellers included New Super Mario Bros. 2, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland 3D.
The 3DS's 2013 line-up has been slowly building into an absolute Japanese powerhouse. Coming off the heels of major releases Animal Crossing and Paper Mario: Sticker Star, the console should be selling decently from the get-go. Games scheduled to release this year in Japan include Monster Hunter 4, Dragon Quest VII 3D, and the newly-revealed Pokémon X and Y, the first ever fully-3D main series Pokémon titles. Other major upcoming releases including Luigi's Mansion and Castlevania suggest that the 3DS will have a banner year in Japan.
Could the 3DS pull it off? Is it even possible, or will it ever again be possible to achieve such enormous success for a dedicated video game console? Could the 3DS even come close?
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The tally as of week 17:
DS 06 -- 2,096,408
3DS 13 -- 1,531,249
Adv DS +565,159
The main comparison is between 3DS 2013 and DS 2006, but DS 2007 got thrown around a couple of times, so it's in there very lightly as a reference point. The blue numbers represent major releases or events that significantly affected DS sales in 2006, while gold letters represent major releases or events that significantly affected 3DS sales in 2013.
1: English Training: Have Fun Improving Your Skills! released, selling 253k its opening week and 1.65 million by year's end.
2: DS Lite Japanese launch.
3: Pokemon Ranger released, selling 197k its opening week and 711k by year's end.
4: Tetris DS released, selling 218k its opening week and 1.00 million by year's end.
5: New Super Mario Bros. released, selling 910k its opening week and 3.96 million by year's end.
6: Personal Trainer: Cooking released, selling 134k its opening week and 707k by year's end.
7: Tomagotchi Connection: Corner Shop 2 released, selling 197k its opening week and 730k by year's end.
8: Final Fantasy III released, selling 513k its opening week and 958k by year's end.
9: Pokémon Diamond and Pearl released, selling 1.65 million its first two weeks and 4.47 million by year's end.
10: Kanshuu Nippon [...] Training DS released, selling 204k its opening week and 964k by year's end.
11: Kirby Squeak Squad released, selling 163k its opening week and 743k by year's end.
12: Oshare Majo Love and Berry: DS Collection released, selling 433k its opening week and 792k by year's end.
13: Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker released, selling 627k its opening week, the final week of the year.
A: Dragon Quest VII 3D released, selling 836k its opening week, and 1.21 million YTD.
B: Professor Layton and the Legacy of Super Civilization A released, selling 133k its opening week and 211k YTD.
C: Luigi's Mansion 2 released, selling 297k its opening week and 609k YTD.
D: Tomodachi Collection: New Life released, selling 406k its opening week and 554k YTD.