If there’s one thing that’s true about the Japanese games market, it’s that the nation is obsessed with handheld consoles – which is why the Switch is doing so well in that particular market, not just in terms of shifting millions of units but also in locking out 9 of the 10 best-selling games for 2020.
However, another fact that is equally true about Japan is that it has never really taken to the Xbox family of systems. This is keenly illustrated by the fact that the Nintendo 3DS – a dead console, essentially – managed to out-sell the entire Xbox family of consoles in Japan last year. That includes Xbox Series X, Series S and the original Xbox One (and its related variants, the One S and One X).
According to Famitsu, all models of the 3DS sold 62,761 units last year, bringing the system’s lifetime Japanese sales to 24,558,908 units.
The newly-released Xbox Series S and X only sold 31,424 units, but it’s worth noting that the console only launched at the close of the year, and stock shortages played a part (you could argue that lack of stock also had an impact on the 3DS’ sales, as production ceased last September). The Xbox One sold 3,585 consoles, which brings its lifetime Japanese sales total to a rather dismal 114,831.
However, despite similar limitations in terms of time on market and stock available, Sony’s PlayStation 5 sold 255,150 units in 2020, comfortably eclipsing the 3DS.
Still, now’s as good a time as any to revisit our list of the best Nintendo 3DS games ever made – a celebration for the console which, even in death, can still out-sell the next-gen in Japan.