Nintendo 3DS first year sales: 4.5m units in US

Though the first anniversary of the Nintendo 3DS's North American launch is not until March 27, Nintendo is already boasting about its first-year hardware sales. The shiny new handheld shifted 4.5 million units in the US of A alone, according to 'tendo's figures--almost doubling the original DS's first year performance. The Nintendo DS 'only' sold 2.3 million handhelds in the first year following its US launch in November 2004. 5 million DS games were sold in that year, while over 9 million 3DS titles were sold in its first year. First-year 3DS sales of hardware, games and accessories totaled over $1.2 billion, compared to $540 million of the DS. Of course, the dual screens of the DS were an unproven element when it was introduced, so consumers were wary, while the 3DS built upon the well-established DS brand with trendy 3D technology--and already had seven years of DS games available. It's also important to note that Nintendo shouldn't be drawing a direct comparison, as it's mashing two sources together. The 3DS figures are Nintendo of America's own, whose origins are unexplained, while the DS numbers come from NPD, which uses a combination of retail sales tracking and market research. The fact that Nintendo is happy to call March 2012's sales when the month has barely begun suggests it's estimating, at least in part, or considering shipped units sold. Still, huzzah for big numbers. "Nintendo 3DS closes its first year with a lengthy list of accomplishments but we're still just scratching the surface," Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said in today's announcement. "With a massive lineup of first- and third-party games and more on the way, a budding library of entertainment options and an engaged and growing installed base, Nintendo 3DS has an incredibly bright future. We're just getting started but this platform is built for the long haul." To celebrate the anniversary, and perhaps to show off a little, Nintendo has put together this little timeline of the 3DS. You may want a little reminiscing music as you read:

Ah, memories!