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After years of missed opportunities, Nintendo says its 'digital sales are soaring'

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nintendo mario kart
nintendo mario kart

After being slow to embrace online sales, Nintendo claims it's gaining traction with its 3DS console. The company took baby steps towards the web with the Wii's online multiplayer options and Virtual Console / WiiWare stores, and launched its 3DS and Wii U consoles with more of a focus on online purchases. According to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, that decision is paying off. Speaking with GamesIndustry International, Fils-Aime revealed that of the 15 Nintendo-published 3DS titles available both physically and digitally, 11 percent of sales have been digital.

In some cases, Nintendo has been far more successful in its online endeavors: one third of US sales of Fire Emblem: Awakening have been digital. All-told, 67 percent of 3DS owners have connected their console to the internet to date, downloading more than 41 million items. Fils-Aime also said that 3DS game sales in general are up considerably, with a 55 percent rise year-over-year to date.

Although Fils-Aime declined to comment on precisely how well the Wii U is doing, he echoed Nintendo President Saturo Iwata's recent statements, saying that "the pace of launches has been slower than we hoped. But as we prepare for E3, the pace of launches for Wii U is going to dramatically increase." Earlier this week, Nintendo unveiled three big titles for its consoles: all-new Zelda and Yoshi's Island games for the 3DS, and the digital release of Earthbound for the Wii U Virtual Console.