Goo identifies why 3DS is not selling in Japan

A study by a Japanese research organization has revealed why consumers have not rushed out to buy the Nintendo 3DS, with its findings relevant to other businesses looking to develop 3D video technology for use in the home.

Goo Ranking asked 1,100 people who have not purchased a 3DS their reasons, with the top three reasons given being that it is too expensive, that the standard DS or DSi handheld systems that have been around for a few years are already good enough and fears that the 3D technology might cause eye strain.

The system had a fairly impressive launch in February in Japan and the following month in the rest of the world.

Domestic sales of the units, which at $250 make it the most expensive handheld system on the market, were running at 50,500 a week in late March, but that had dropped to just 18,300 units in early May. The response has been the same in the United States, with 400,000 units sold in the first week after its launch, compared to 194,000 during the whole of April.

The Goo Ranking survey identified 17 reasons why people are shying away from the 3DS, with 39.5 percent of the people responding male and the remaining 60.5 percent female.

The fourth most frequently cited reason was concern that the 3D screen would make the user ill, followed by the limited number of launch titles. Other people said they were already satisfied with the games that are available on their cell phones or smartphones, or that they have a Sony Corp. PlayStation Portable.

Other criticisms of the Nintendo system were to do with its perceived heaviness and short battery life, and that it cannot load legacy Game Boy cartridges as the previous Nintendo DS does. Respondents also said it is not available in a color that they want, the design of the machine makes it hard to use - the 3DS adds a circle pad to the DS layout - or that they are waiting for the launch of an upgraded version with a larger screen, as with DSi XL.

Goo Ranking's conclusion is that Nintendo needs to release some big-name games for the 3D system or reduce its price, particularly given the upcoming release of Sony's new handheld device, which has the rumored title PlayStation Vita.