3DS launches in Japan: handheld sells out, already hacked

Nintendo logoDedicated portable gaming devices may have some stiff competition these days, but that hasn't stopped Nintendo from launching the 3DS in Japan. With less than half a million units for sale and a somewhat paltry launch line-up, how did the handheld fare? Quite well, actually.

Initial reports from Japanese business publication Nikkei (translated by Andriasang), claimed that Nintendo's handheld sold out its entire initial run of 400,000 3DS units in its first two days of availability. But it looks like the real numbers are slightly lower, though still impressive. Gaming magazine Famitsu (translated by Kotaku) is reporting that the device sold 371,326 units over the weekend. So there still may be a few units kicking around for those who didn't camp out over the weekend.

It shouldn't be too long before the 3DS starts flooding shelves once agin, though, as Nintendo is planning to have 1.5 million units ready for Japan by the end of March.

For comparison's sake, Famitsu also previously reported that the Nintendo DSi sold 170,779 units in its first two days, while the DSi XL sold 103,524. The original DS, meanwhile, sold 441,485 units in its first four days in Japan.

The launch line-up consisted of eight games: Winning Eleven 3DS Soccer, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Samurai Warriors: Chronicle, Tobidasu! Puzzle Bobble 3D, Nintendogs + Cats, Ridge Racer 3D, Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D, and Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle. Unsurprisingly, Layton came out on top, selling an estimated 117,589 copies, according to Famitsu.

3DS launches in Japan: handheld sells out, already hacked

The current crop of games may not be all that compelling, but some enterprising folks have found something to do with the device. Namely, hacking the handheld so it can read R4 storage devices and CodeFreak cheat devices, as noted by Joystiq. This allows the 3DS to run homebrew applications, emulators, and even backed-up copies of DS games. The video below shows a GameBoy emulator played on the handheld.

There were long lines for those wanting to get a 3DS at launch, but nothing too crazy. This is most likely due to the relatively small number of units initially available, as well as the fact that the reports are claiming that most of the handhelds sold were already preordered.

Here in North America we won't be able to get our hands on the 3DS until March 27, when it launches for $249.99. You can expect Ars' full review of the hardware close to that date, but in the meantime, check out our previous hands-on time with both the hardware and the games.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: computer games, Nintendo, Nintendo 3DS

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