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Nintendo 3DS lifetime sales hit 11.5 million worldwide

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(Read caption) The Nintendo 3DS family, which includes the budget-priced 2DS (pictured here), has sold 11.5 million units in its lifetime, Nintendo said this week.

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It's been a gloomy few months for Nintendo, which struggled to draw attention to its Wii U console. 

But today, the Japanese tech giant announced a rare spot of bright news: Lifetime sales of the 3DS handheld line – here defined as not only the flagship 3DS, but also the 3DS XL and Nintendo 2DS devices – have reached 11.5 million worldwide. Meanwhile, in 2013 alone, Nintendo sold more than 16 million packaged or downloadable games, the company said today in a press release. 

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"We're not slowing down in 2014," said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales and marketing. "With more games featuring fan-favorite franchises on the way, the best days of Nintendo 3DS are still to come."

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The 3DS, which uses stereoscopic effects to render games in 3-D without glasses, was released almost three years ago, in 2011. 

"Without its 3D display, the Nintendo 3DS is a top-notch upgrade to the original Nintendo DS," Will Greenwald of PCMag.com wrote in a review at the time. "With 3D, it's a compelling handheld gaming system with a surprisingly well-implemented and immersive hook built on top of a well-designed device with a massive, rock-solid gaming library." 

Initially, sales of the device were sluggish, a development that seemed to catch Nintendo off-guard. Later, the company dropped the price of the 3DS from $249.99 to $169.99. That price reduction, along with the arrival of the cheaper 2DS and blockbuster titles such as Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, seemed to have helped boost sales. 

The same can't be said for the Wii U, which is still struggling to keep pace with the recently-released PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles.