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Iwata: 3DS 'not selling as expected', public confusion to blame

People don't understand 3DS' value, says Nintendo boss

The 3DS hasn't been selling as quickly as Nintendo expected and this, says Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata, is because people don't seem to understand the value of the 3DS or how to use it.

With 3.61 million units sold, the 3DS missed Nintendo's forecasted four million sales last month. Iwata admitted at conference this week: "Nintendo 3DS was launched in late March. The sales were high in the initial week, but sales fell below our expectations after the second week. Nintendo 3DS has not been selling as expected since the second week, and this is not just in the Japanese market but also in the United States and Europe, where no direct impact from the great earthquake has occurred."

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He goes on: "Therefore, we recognize that we are in a situation where we need to step up our efforts to further promote the spread of Nintendo 3DS."

Iwata said the firm expected the quirks of glasses-less 3D to spread on its own once the machine released, but this hasn't happened. Also, demo booths in stores aren't doing the trick. "The value of 3D images without the need for special glasses is hard to be understood through the existing media. However, we have found that people cannot feel it just by trying out a device, rather, some might even misestimate it when experiencing the images in an improper fashion," he said.

People, he added, need to be taught to adjust the slider to suit them. He also admits: "We need to enhance the contents which can be enjoyed passively by non-active users, like a 3D video distribution service. We will promptly work on this after the currently planned hardware update."

Also, people aren't properly clued up on all of the console's features, such as StreetPass, SpotPass, Augmented Reality and Mii Maker. This needs fixing, he adds.

"It is now clear that the combination of these new features is not necessarily easy-to-understand by just saying one word to those without experience," said Iwata. "We have found that not all Nintendo 3DS users enjoy this software. There seems to be more than a few consumers who have Nintendo 3DS hardware but don't know about this software and possibly haven't had a chance to get interested in it."

Admitting that simply pre-installing the software isn't enough, Iwata says Nintendo's marketing will target the penetration of these features.

Iwata has also announced that, in order to get people to update their 3DS units next month, the company will offer a 3D version of the NES classic Excitebike for free for a limited time.

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