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Nintendo counters iPod with DSi LL as profit falls

updated 07:40 am EDT, Thu October 29, 2009

DSi LL has larger screen for Internet use

Nintendo quickly confirmed rumors today by unveiling the DSi LL. Its screens have increased by more than an inch to 4.2 inches each and are seen as better for Internet access as well as for gameplay. It also gets a larger, more comfortable second stylus and a battery life that increases from 2.5 hours to three during active gameplay.

The handheld also now has the DSi's web browser already installed and also comes with a dictionary and two Brain Age games. Nintendo ships the LL to Japan on November 21st for the equivalent of $221 in dark brown, white and wine red colors. Plans haven't been detailed for an international launch, though every Nintendo DS model to date has shipped to the US within at most a few months.

Nintendo's addition of the new model comes with news of a steep 34.5 percent year-over-year drop in the company's revenue to the equivalent of $6.07 billion and a 52 percent drop in its net income to $769.25 million, both of which point to not just economic but also competitive problems. Most of the drop is attributed to a sharp drop-off in Wii sales, which fell from 10.1 million last summer to just 5.75 million and helped prompt Nintendo's recent Wii price cut, the first since the system shipped in November 2006. The firm has been bruised both by a lack of major titles outside of its own as well as by PS3 and Xbox 360 price cuts that negated most of the Wii's price advantage.

Simultaneously, however, it has also seen sales for the DS Lite and DSi drop from 13.7 million systems to 11.7 million despite a lower price and more titles to attract new buyers. Nintendo isn't yet known to have explained the decline outside of economic factors but for its last quarter had admitted worries of being hurt by iPod competition, a factor that is believed to have directly contributed to the DSi LL's existence. Apple's device is more expensive on average than any DSi model but has historically had a stronger Internet experience, fuller media playback and lower-cost games.

by MacNN Staff



  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Multiple screens...

    Mind you I don't have a DS, but the "we have two screens!" thing struck me as less like useful and more like the race to have more blades in a razor or "this one goes to 11". Will we ever see another 2-screen - is it really that big of a deal - or is a plain old larger screen with touch the way to go?

  1. jdonahoe

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Dark brown model?

    Is Nintendo getting advise from Microsoft?

  1. imactheknife

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Isn't a stylus so 80's??? who wants a pen when you can use your finger. This will be a dud for sure....I like nintendo but this a retro Palm or something

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Nintendo is right, iPod Touch and iPhone are killing these devices. DSi LL is not going to change that.

  1. The Vicar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Doubt they're related

    I can't believe that the iPhone is seriously making a dent in the DS's sales, frankly. I suspect it's a case of correlation, rather than causation -- the economy sucks, so gaming device sales are down, while at the same time people who can afford a smartphone are flocking to the iPhone. As a gaming platform, the DS beats the iPhone hands down. The ability to have real buttons -- which are guaranteed to work on the first try -- if you need them is crucial to most games. (Oh, and the motion sensing in the iPhone doesn't work well enough to be used for serious game controls. Same can be said of the Wiimote, but we're not talking about console systems.)

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: stylus

    Actually, I've talked to many people who wanted to know whether you could get a stylus for an iPhone/iPod, as they don't have the dexterity or thin fingers to easily type on those things.

    Not to mention it is so much easier to place a point/cursor on the screen with a pointed item than a large flat surfaced finger.

  1. c4rlob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    be still my heart! (not really)

    Nothing wins over the youth market like a big clunky plastic block and a larger stylus.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Software is the driving force

    behind the Apple mobile platform. It more than offsets any minor hardware enhancements that the competitors are going to throw at Apple. 100,000 apps (useless or not) are giving Apple a huge advantage. And with the money that Apple has in reserve cash, if Apple decides to go heavy on hardware (I'm sure they won't) they could easily top Nintendo on all fronts. Added battery life is nice, but it's not a make or break feature. Without having instant software downloads, Nintendo is at a huge disadvantage. Does the DSi even play music and movies like the PSP does?

  1. bjojade

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You most certainly CAN get a stylus for an iphone. It's not a normal pressure sensitive stylus like you are used to, but they are available.

    I agree that the lack of buttons is a downfall for gameplay on an iPhone/iPod touch. What would be spectacular would be if someone made a slim game control dock that the ipod or iphone would slide into that gave you game control buttons. Make it sleek enough so you can leave it attached.

    Then Nintento would be finished.

  1. romevi

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good, grief.

    This "clunky chunk of brick" is really getting unfair aspersions left and right. I own one of the older DS models and, though I can't find the time to play it as often, I'm really surprised that Nintendo is taking a suffering from Apple.

    The big, two screens isn't really that bad. People judge Nintendo's hand-held merely on its appearance, not utility. The games are what really make the Nintendo shine. I believe that people are heading more towards the iPhone because they can carry less. I.e., they don't have to carry extra game cartridges OR an extra game system. They have their phone, MP3 player, Internet access AND video games all in one device. It's clear why people choose the all-in-one device. Plus, it's less "geeky" to bust out an iPhone over a DS in public; people are more impressed in seeing an Apple device (though I think they've become too saturated today, just as the iPods once have been).
    But Nintendo far outdoes any other system in terms of portable gaming; the games really utilize the DS's control scheme--yes, the stylus and two screens are very enjoyable to use--and it is most likely the economy that's hurting Nintendo's sales.

    But they've gone in and out over the years, and they've always managed to remain on top in the end.

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