updated 08:55 am EST, Fri January 14, 2011
Nintendo claims healthy DS sales despite iPod
Nintendo on Friday posted results showing a significant slump in console sales from year to year that are likely to have been affected by the iPod touch and iPhone. It shipped 2.5 million DS systems in December, according to NPD data, representing a steep 24 percent drop from the 3.31 million last year. The company claimed to have the best portable console sales of 2010 but was counting rivals like the Sony PSP and not multi-role handhelds.
The company didn't directly pin the drop on Apple but has lately been acknowledging Apple as a risk. Although Nintendo has touted the advantage of deeper games, the age of its hardware, the lack of extensive Internet access and simply the necessity of carrying a phone or MP3 player to make up for missing features is believed to have cost Nintendo some of its share. It has admitted that the delay for the 3DS will have cost it valuable ground by giving it no advanced hardware to offer until March in the US.
How much of an effect comes from Apple isn't as evident. Apple has lately sold between nine and 10 million iPods a quarter and now counts the iPod touch as its bestseller. It doesn't break out sales by model, however, and only some of those sold are used for gaming. The company nonetheless has the advantages of the iPhone as well as much more frequent hardware updates, an Internet-first focus and significantly cheaper games.
Nintendo's Wii sales for the holiday month were enough to beat Microsoft's 1.9 million Xbox 360s but were also headed downwards, in the opposite direction to its frequent video game rival. The motion-based TV game system saw its own sales plunge 40 percent to 2.3 million where the Xbox increased by a similar ratio. Microsoft was helped by the Kinect, which itself will have undermined the Wii.