DS

DS Hardware Selling Well; Software Sales Slow

by Steven Rodriguez - January 29, 2005, 9:13 am PST
Total comments: 32 Source: http://nikkeibp.jp/wcs/leaf/CID/onair/jp/biz/35610...

That's what they get for including a free demo, making it multiplayer-friendly, and having GBA backwards compatibility.

Worldwide, more than 2.84 million Nintendo DS systems have been sold, a little less than half of which (1.39 million) are here in the States. Because of the phenomenal demand, Nintendo has raised its hardware sales expectations to 6 million DS units shipped out by the end of their fiscal year, which is March 31. That's a million more than previously expected.

The bad news is, DS games are not selling nearly as well as Nintendo would have liked. Only 5 million games have been bought up by DS owners around the world, which is far less than the 15 million Nintendo was expecting. Their software expectation mark has been lowered to 10 million because of the lack of sales.

The features of the DS are leading to its poor game sales numbers. Players are playing the included PictoChat and Metroid Hunters Demo, taking advantage of the single-card wireless multiplayer feature, and playing GBA games on the DS. With game variety still a little slim, DS owners are happy with what they've got at the moment, apparently.

The Official European DS Announcement

Following on from our news earlier, here is the official Nintendo line.

TOUCH THE FUTURE OF HANDHELD GAMING, AS THE NINTENDO DS LAUNCHES IN UK ON 11 MARCH AT £99.


27 January 2005 – Nintendo DS will change the way people play video games. Through a whole set of new features, such as touch screen, voice input and wireless communication, games can be controlled by touch or voice and it will have two screens, not one. Today at a press conference in Paris, Nintendo announced that this innovative new console will be available to buy in the UK on 11 March at the estimated retail price of around £99 and will be supported by a strong software line up. The Nintendo DS has been received exceptionally well in the US and Japan, having sold 2.8 million units by the end of 2004, and is expected to have the same response when it launches in the UK.


Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo Co., Ltd, comments on the new handheld console:

"Europe is an extremely important market for Nintendo, and we are pleased we can offer such a short period of time between the US and European launch. We believe that the Nintendo DS will change the way people play video games and our mission remains to expand the game play experience. Nintendo DS caters for the needs of all gamers whether for more dedicated gamers who want the real challenge they expect, or the more casual gamers who want quick, pick up and play fun."


At launch in the UK, there will be a total of 15 games available for the Nintendo DS. The strong software launch line-up includes games such as Super Mario 64 DS, Polarium, WarioWare Touched! and Pokémon Dash from Nintendo, plus great titles from the world's top Publishers such as Rayman DS (Ubisoft), Project Rub (SEGA), The URBZ: Sims in the City (EA) and Spider-Man 2 (Activision). And with over 120 games being developed for the system, there will be plenty to keep gamers busy throughout 2005. With a battery life of up to 10-hours, there is ample time between recharges to enjoy these great titles.


Nintendo DS will come with a free software feature called PictoChat. This allows users to write text or even create their very own drawings to send to friends within a radius of up to 100ft. The Nintendo DS, when in sleep mode, will spring to life if it senses another DS transmitting in range, altering users that someone wants to chat or play games with them! The initial shipment of Nintendo DS for launch will also be bundled with a playable demo version of Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt.


Once again Nintendo's innovation will redefine video game play. The Nintendo DS incorporates advanced touch-screen technology, with breathtaking 3D graphics, all in a sleek silver design. The touch screen feature allows players to get closer to the games by giving them a far more direct, faster control. Upon opening the Nintendo DS, gamers are greeted by not one, but two three inch 260,000 colour TFT screens, the bottom of which is touch sensitive. Instead of having to use the buttons and d-pad to control games, players can use the stylus, thumb strap included with the console or finger, to rub and tap their way through games.


Games can easily be played with friends thanks to the revolutionary wireless functionality provided by the Nintendo DS. Up to 16 players can communicate using PictoChat, or play multiplayer games at distances of up to 100ft. Want to play multiplayer Mario but only have one copy? Don't fear! The wireless connection even allows a group of gamers to play Nintendo DS with only one copy of a game by using the DS download play option.


The Nintendo DS comes complete with stereo speakers and an microphone built in, setting the mood and adding to the overall interactive experience. Launch titles such as Sega's Project Rub already use this microphone in a variety of ways, for example with games that require players to blow at the screen in order to proceed.


The Nintendo DS features two separate game slots, one for Nintendo DS games and one for Game Boy Advance games. The Nintendo DS is fully backwards compatible with all Game Boy Advance titles, and with over 550 titles, it means you can play all of your old favourites. The new format for games also means that the Nintendo DS has no moving parts that can be misaligned if the unit is dropped.


The Nintendo DS will launch in the UK on 11 March 2005 at the estimated retail price of around £99. Software will be available at selected retailers at the estimated retail price of around £29 and £19, depending on the specific title.


Click onto www.nintendo-europe-media.com for all of the most up to date official information on Nintendo.


Talkback

KDR_11kJanuary 29, 2005

That's no issue in Japan, the DS comes without the demo there...

Hostile CreationJanuary 29, 2005

I'll try to help them out when Yoshi comes out. Anyway, I expect over time this problem will be a resolved. People will inevitably want more stuff. Pity that it was a problem in the first place, though.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusJanuary 29, 2005

Well on the bright side is that DS software sales are beating PSP software sales. The only problem with the DS software right now is the lackluster selection and that could be another key factor to this so people will stick to their mario 64DS, their GBA games on the DS the demo and pictochat. But I think software sales will pick up soon when the rest of the games will come out.

Avinash_TyagiJanuary 29, 2005

I expected this to happen, as I recall this was the same problem sony faced when it first released the PS2, the fact that only a few of the games so far can be called excellent, coupled with the prescense of bundled apps and BW compatibility garunteed this result.

Ian SaneJanuary 29, 2005

It's obvious why the software sales are weak. The current lineup SUCKS. Most early adopters are likely using their DS mostly to play GBA games. If one wants to get a GBA or update from the original model the DS is the best choice because it's going to continue to be supported for the next few years. I know a lot of people who didn't own a Playstation who felt that the backwards compatibility of the PS2 was worth buying the system for because it let them play the games they missed and new games for the next few years. If I didn't have a GBA I would have considered getting a DS at launch.

WindyManSteven Rodriguez, Staff AlumnusJanuary 29, 2005

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Originally posted by: Lord_die_seis
Well on the bright side is that DS software sales are beating PSP software sales.


In Japan, the PSP has sold over 500,000 hardware units and over 1.3 million software units. Strictly on the hardware-software tie-ratio, the PSP has sold more games for the amount of systems sold. So technically, the PSP is doing better in selling games.

Avinash_TyagiJanuary 29, 2005

Well I would hope it was selling some games, it doesn't have a bundled game and chat application along with BW comp.

If it wasn't selling software then it would beg the question:

Are people paying $200 dollars for a paperweight?

GamefreakJanuary 29, 2005

Well many people just buy things early cause it's new tech. I have these cousin's that are twins... one of them bought a DS just cause it was new, and didn't buy any games for it. The other wanted to wait since there aren't good games out. (that's what i'm doing)

MarioAllStarJanuary 29, 2005

I recieved my DS on launch day, and while I wish there were more games for it, I'm satisfied with my purchase. I'd rather buy it early and get the good new games as they come out than wait for one really big must-have and then catch up later. I think that new, better games will start coming out a lot more soon. We'll have Wario Ware in just a couple weeks! (And the new video of Mario Kart from that convention held in Paris is very good looking)

joshnickersonJanuary 29, 2005

Wow, Mario Kart looks pretty good.

And I think the DS software sales will pick up once the Pokemon DS MMORPG comes along...

foolish03January 29, 2005

Nintendo is oblivious to the outside world. "The features of the DS are leading to its poor game sales numbers. Players are playing the included PictoChat and Metroid Hunters Demo". The reason for this is becasue it has no games. DS owners are forced to play those simply because there arent that many titles out. It seems nintendo still lives in its own little mushroom kingdom I hope they can get a clue come next generation. By the way I do enjoy my DS. Im currently playing minish cap on it(got nothin else).... face-icon-small-smile.gif

CHENJanuary 29, 2005

The age old "Nintendo needs to wake up" argument again, eh? All I have to say is that every hardware launch has its peaks and downs. The number of quality of titles is indeed an issue, mainly because of half-assed developed games, but this should pick up soon when the PSP is getting released in NA. It seems Nintendo is anticipating this and therefore thinking of measures to counter this.

CaillanJanuary 29, 2005

Quote

Nintendo is oblivious to the outside world.


More likely they're putting the same crap in their press releases that every other company does. When faced with a choice of either 'the DS is selling poorly becuase it has few good games' or 'DS owners are happy with what they've got at the moment', which would you expect Nintendo to choose?

I think in a bizarre way poor sales is good news. It shows that Nintendo made the right choices with backwards compatibility and people are interested in the system's features (otherwise they wouldn't have bought it, now, would they?) What's more, most seem satisfied with their purchase, even with the slim game selection. Once Nintendo and 3rd parties pump out new games, this should all go away.

I think we'll see the same pattern with the PSP in the states: many people will wind up buying it primarily for a portable mp3 player.

ootlerJanuary 29, 2005

That hindsight permits us to see naivety, both our own and others is long understood.
Luckily I prepare for everything incorrectly with my misapprehension of misinformation.
It's an old, old story with a predictable outcome taking everyone by surprise as always.
Those who say they saw it coming suffer from a malignant narcissism or two.
Thankfully, no one has ever been right about anything.

CaillanJanuary 29, 2005

Quote

I think in a bizarre way poor sales is good news.


Perhaps, but software sales and tie-in ratios are more important than hardware right now, becasue both companies are trying to convince third parties to develop for their device. The features will be good in the long run, but right now it's more important for Nintendo to ensure the DS will be hobbling long enough for them to be properly used.

SaviorJanuary 29, 2005

Quote

The bad news is, DS games are not selling nearly as well as Nintendo would have liked.


Make better games then... Mario 64 DS and Feel The magic were by far the only two must haves out of the whole launch lineup.... So Nintendo can only blame themselves.


Quote

primarily for a portable mp3 player.


I disagree, you cant fit enough mp3s on a 32 MB Card

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusJanuary 29, 2005

"Make better games then... Mario 64 DS and Feel The magic were by far the only two must haves out of the whole launch lineup.... So Nintendo can only blame themselves. "

YEAH! Damn Nintendo for not developing good third party games!

KDR_11kJanuary 29, 2005

I disagree, you cant fit enough mp3s on a 32 MB Card

But you can buy a larger one. Of course with Memory Sticks that's going to be expensive, if they had bought a Play-Yan they could use the vastly cheaper SD-cards.

ruby_onixJanuary 29, 2005

So the DS's worldwide tie ratio is 1.76 games-per-system. And the PSP's worldwide (meaning Japan-only) tie ratio is about 2.6.

Quote

Perhaps, but software sales and tie-in ratios are more important than hardware right now, becasue both companies are trying to convince third parties to develop for their device.

Nope. The tie ratios don't mean squat to the third parties. All they care about is the DS's 5 million software vs the PSP's 1.3 million. And the DS's 2.84 million hardware vs the PSP's 500k. If anything, I think a low tie ratio shows that there's still untapped potential in the installed base.

The tie ratio is mostly good for figuring out profit. And that's pretty much meaningless here, because Sony's going to take a (deliberate) bath on the PSP no matter how good their tie ratio is, and nobody seems to care that Nintendo seems to make more money than God, even when they fail. The only race anybody seems to care about anymore (including the third parties) is the "installed base" race.

Quote

And I think the DS software sales will pick up once the Pokemon DS MMORPG comes along...

Unless it moves hardware units. In which case, the tie ratio would go down. But, considering that Nintendo probably earns money on the DS hardware, does anyone think that would possibly be a bad thing?


Some random thoughts:
Both of those tie ratios are currently really crappy. A typical home console tends to have a tie ratio of around 6-10, and handhelds get something like 4. If Sony thinks they can "revolutionize" handhelds and afford to lose as much money on them as they do on home consoles, they have a long way to go. (Really though, they don't. They just want to pay people to move from Nintendo's "ghetto" into Sony's shiny new neighborhood, at which point they'll show their true slumlord colors.)

Hardcore people buy lots of games. "Casuals" don't carry an entire entertainment center around with them. They buy one game, slap it in the unit, and just carry that unit around. The two groups balance each other out, more or less.

At 500k $200 units, the PSP is obviously "more hardcore" and "less casual" than the 3 million $150 DS units (of course, Sony's low production capabilities have something to do with that).

The tie rate always grows as people who've had the unit longer get more games (even the casuals eventually replace their single games), but it simultaneously gets brought down by new people buying units. Early hardware spurts turn into higher tie ratios later on.

The casuals can slap two games into the DS. Can we even measure what that's doing for the GBA? I expect to hear a lot of "the GameBoy is a legend and it doesn't count" statements coming from fanboys in the coming years.

The DS needs more triple-A games in assorted genres. But the third parties need to stop treating the DS like a watered down, yet "gimmicky" version of a home console. The touchscreen is sub-par when used as an analog stick. But it's great when used as a touchscreen.

CaillanJanuary 29, 2005

Quote

Nope. The tie ratios don't mean squat to the third parties. All they care about is the DS's 5 million software vs the PSP's 1.3 million.


Remember that the PSP and DS both have unit shortages, and becasue the DS has more units out the current sales figures artificially favour the DS. By the time a game that is starting development now is released, shortages will have been alleviated and the handhelds' sales will be based on true demand.

KDR_11kJanuary 30, 2005

Both of those tie ratios are currently really crappy. A typical home console tends to have a tie ratio of around 6-10, and handhelds get something like 4.

Tie ratios increase over lifetime. This short after launch tie ratios above 2 are probably already awesome. I mean, there are barely more than two good games for both systems available! I'm a really active buyer and I have one game for my DS with only one other on my "buy" list. Well, okay, it's not out here yet but I'd get those games via import if there were any must-haves.

PolemistisJanuary 30, 2005

What? The PSP has been released? Wow I havent heard anything around school or anything about it. I've seen "cool" people at school with the DS though. SO YAY FOR THE BIG N!!

KnowsNothingJanuary 30, 2005

That's to be expected, Polemistis, unless you live in Japan face-icon-small-wink.gif

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusJanuary 30, 2005

The Dreamcast had unit shortages at one time if I remember correctly. Don't take that as an indication of future success. Unlike with the PS2, by the time units come available, Nintendo may have taken all the wind out of Sony's sails. One thing I'm confident of is that Nintendo will have a lot more units to go around a lot faster than Sony will.

ssj4_androidJanuary 30, 2005

Is there still a DS unit shortage? Meijer advertised DSes in their sale. They had 15% off, so I got a DS for less than $130 (w/o tax). Well, it did say something like 30,000 chain wide, and I went in the morning, and I saw 6 or so more.

ruby_onixJanuary 30, 2005

On the subject of "shortages", these (Japanese) numbers were posted in another thread.

Quote

Sold / Shipped
Nintendo DS = 1,657,684 / 1,800,000
Sony PSP = 608,906 / 800,000

This would indicate that there are 142,316 DS units sitting on the shelves in Japan, and that it's had a 92% sellout rate.

While the PSP has 191,094 sitting on the shelves, and a 76% sellout rate.

Of course, Sony has supposedly ramped up their production lately, but still, it looks funny when you see the mainstream media constantly ooohing and ahhhing over the PSP, saying it must be doing amazing, because it's sold out, while at the same time they just dismiss the Nintendo DS.

Infernal MonkeyJanuary 30, 2005

Everyone's buying a DS then picking up copies of Chuck Rock from Game Gear to play on it, I'm sure of it. I have my sauces. BIG RED.

"Why does my Chuck Rock not work? I shall never buy another game for this system now, I am rage"
"Would you like to play Metroid Hunters death match with me?"
"NO I'M GOING TO EAT SOME TILES FROM THE BATHROOM"
"k"

Shift KeyJanuary 30, 2005

INFERNAL, YOUR SAUCES LIE! MUSTARD TOLD ME THAT THEY'RE ALL BUYING COOL SPOT BECAUSE IT WAS COOL TO BE A CANDY WITH LIMBS BACK IN THE 90s. EVERYTHING WAS COOL THEN! tpg.gif

Man I miss that game.

Avinash_TyagiJanuary 31, 2005

Quote

Of course, Sony has supposedly ramped up their production lately, but still, it looks funny when you see the mainstream media constantly ooohing and ahhhing over the PSP, saying it must be doing amazing, because it's sold out, while at the same time they just dismiss the Nintendo DS.


By now you should realize that when it comes to Nintendo the mainstream media is required to say only negative things.

ShyGuyJanuary 31, 2005

Quote

THEY'RE ALL BUYING COOL SPOT BECAUSE IT WAS COOL TO BE A CANDY WITH LIMBS BACK IN THE 90s


Actually, I believe that is the red spot from the 7up cans, not a piece of candy.

vherubJanuary 31, 2005

where's the historical perspective?
where's the software sold when the backwards-compatible gba was initially released?
what's the buying pattern of the typical handheld owner and on what did nintendo initially base their 15 million estimate that they would be so far off the mark?

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