Nintendo's strategy of promoting 3DS connectivity and networking features "will help drive rapid adoption of the device this year - but won't allow it to match sales of the previous-generation DS platform".
That's according to new IHS Screen Digest research which forecasts that Nintendo's new handheld will build a global installed base of 11.6 million units by the end of 2011.
"While this represents strong performance, growing competition from the iPod, iPhone and Android smart phone and tablets will prevent the 3DS from matching the sales of the previous-generation Nintendo handheld, the DS," said analyst Piers Harding-Rolls.
By 2015, IHS forecasts a global installed base of 70 million 3DS units, compared to total DS/DS Lite sales of 91 million at a comparable point in its lifecycle.
"Nintendo's accent on network services in the key US market represents an attempt to convince users to carry their 3DS systems with them at all times and to engage with the platform everyday and in every place," Harding Rolls said.
"This engagement strategy, alongside 3D graphics, camera and video, is key to Nintendo competing with upcoming devices from Sony and also from non-specialist smart phones, entertainment devices and tablets, which offer a legitimate alternative to handheld consoles."
Nintendo sold 303,000 3DS units across Europe and 113,000 units in the UK during the new portable's first two days on sale.