updated 01:35 pm EDT, Thu July 29, 2010
Nintendo sees DS sales cut in half during spring
Nintendo on Thursday faced its first loss in two years as its own lineup and competition from Apple hurt its business. The company lost the equivalent of $288.5 million after DS sales were cut in half from 5.97 million a year ago to just 3.15 million this spring. The drop included a 33 percent fall in sales in the US during June alone.
The company blamed the shortfall on a lack of new games for the twin-screen platform: both Nintendo and third-party developers released about 168 games this spring where 278 were new on shelves a year ago. About 23 percent fewer copies, 22.4 million, were sold.
Wii numbers were some of the few positives of the season, as the launch of Super Mario Galaxy 2 and the new MotionPlus bundles helped the TV console jump 36 percent to 3.06 million systems sold worldwide.
The poor results may stem partly from the lack of changes to the DS. Last year, Nintendo had the advantage of the just-released DSi to buoy its results, but the DSi XL isn't considered a replacement. The existing platform itself is old and is still using most of the same basic components that were used in the original DS in 2004. Its upcoming 3DS is expected to change this as it will use both more modern processors, glasses-free 3D and a gyroscopic sensor.
Nintendo's performance is nonetheless believed to be affected directly by iPod touch, iPhone and now iPad gaming. Although the Japanese firm has publicly insisted that it isn't in competition, the growth of iOS as a game platform is known to be taking revenue away. It's unknown how many Apple device buyers are choosing one over a Nintendo system, but Nintendo game revenue has lost share to Apple even though iOS games are often just a fraction of the price of DS titles.
Company president Satoru Iwata is believed to have privately declared Apple its new main enemy as Sony's PSP sales have routinely been too poor to compete with what Nintendo offers.