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Finding a 3DS isn't nearly as hard as, say, getting a Wii in 2006. This isn't because the 3DS isn't selling - over 400,000 were sold in the first week on shelves in North America. So what's the difference?
"I would characterize it as a launch where we learned significant lessons from the launch of Wii and we made sure to have not only ample supply in the marketplace, but we staged supply so it would not sell out," said Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime in a USA Today interview. "We had product going direct to store and we also had product in retailers (distribution centers), so they could easily replenish when they had stores running low on inventory. That strategy is why you didn't see massive sellouts on Nintendo 3DS."
"Obviously, a sell-through of 400,000 units in one week is exceptional. And the fact that we achieved that without people being worried about massive stockouts and shortages just underscored how we properly executed our supply chain."
It also doesn't hurt that the 3DS is a new model of an existing game system rather than a new system entirely. The former results in more patience than the latter. I'd imagine there are a lot of players who own an older model DS and are simply waiting for a 3DS game to come along that will justify the upgrade, such as Ocarina of Time 3D or the next Super Mario. Our own Rich Knight found the launch offerings for 3DS to be lackluster.