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Nintendo sells 11% of its first-party 3DS games digitally

by Andrew Yoon, shacknews.com, Apr 17, 2013 10:50AM PDT

Immediately following this morning's Nintendo Direct, Nintendo of America hosted a press conference, where they revealed some surprising stats about Nintendo's digital efforts. According to Nintendo executive VP Scott Moffitt, lifetime 3DS game sales now surpass 20 million in North America--and that figure becomes "significantly larger" if you include digital.

First-party software sales are up 55 percent year-over-year. "Just as sales of smartphones continue to grow, so do our key titles," Moffitt said, saying that the platform's success comes from the quality of Nintendo games. "Nowhere else in portable gaming is high quality found so frequently," he said, pointing to Metacritic.

67 percent of Nintendo 3DS owners "connected," Moffitt revealed adding that "41 million items have been downloaded." (That includes free software, like Netflix.)

While publishers usually shy away from revealing information about their digital sales, Nintendo of America was surprisingly forthcoming. Fifteen first-party retail games are also available to download on the eShop. According to Moffitt, 11 percent of first-party sales came from the eShop this year. Games like Fire Emblem Awakening have been tremendous digital successes, with "more than a third" of that title's sales coming digitally. Additionally, "over half" of people that bought FEA digitally have bought DLC for the game as well.

Legacy titles are doing especially well for Nintendo on the eShop. Star Fox 64 3D and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D have had 20 percent of their sales come from digital in 2013. Casual games are also doing well, with games like Art Academy and Brain Age garnering 15-25 percent digital penetration.

While Nintendo may have been slow to get into the digital arena, Moffitt argues that they are finding increasing success in that front.