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When discussing Nintendo’s 2013, it’s tough not to mention the Wii U’s miserable sales. That doesn’t mean the company completely struck out, however. The iconic gaming company had trouble moving its home console, but its 3DS handheld was flying off the shelf. And 2013 was a record-breaking year for Nintendo 3DS software sales; according to Engadget, the company sold 16 million 3DS games last year.

Nintendo 3DS game sales could have been helped by the release of the less-expensive 2DS.
Nintendo 3DS game sales could have been helped by the release of the less-expensive 2DS.

A couple of big titles likely helped Nintendo reach that figure. The latest Pokemon titles, Pokemon X and Y, were released in October 2013. Another major Nintendo franchise made its way to the 3DS in November 2013 with the release of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

The 3DS has much better third party support than the Wii U does at this point, but Nintendo’s own first-party titles are still the games most people want on a Nintendo portable. When Nintendo releases one from a big franchise like ZeldaPokemon or Mario, it can be expected to sell relatively well.

There’s another potential reason for the uptick in 3DS game sales over the past year: the release of the Nintendo 2DS. Priced at $129, the 2DS can play 3DS and DS games without the stereoscopic 3D effect, offering a low-cost way for portable gamers to dive into the 3DS universe. Nintendo sold the 2DS handheld both by itself and in a bundle with one of the two recently released Pokemon games, so sales of those bundles would have also contributed to the 16 million 3DS games Nintendo sold in 2013.

Nintendo’s Executive VP of Sales, Scott Moffitt, stated, “We’re not slowing down in 2014.” As Nintendo adds to its 3DS library with the highly anticipated Bravely Default from Square Enix, as well as a new Super Smash Bros. game later this year, 2014 could wind up being a great year for Nintendo as far as its handhelds are concerned.

Now, about that Wii U…

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