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Nintendo DS sales slump in December as iPod effect mounts

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.

By Electronista Staff


  1. devospice

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2000


    I'm sure Apple is a factor

    but I think a bigger factor is the delay of the 3DS. I don't think anyone is going to buy a DS now knowing that the 3DS will be coming out in a few months. I know I certainly won't.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    I doubt if it was the iPod Touch that hurt DS sale

    The Nintendo fanbois claim that the DS is far superior to the iPod Touch and no consumer with any common sense would purchase some crappy Apple product instead of the finely built Nintendo DS. I'd think the sales slump had more to do with the economy than any product Apple was selling. Maybe consumers went out and bought XBox 360/Kinect bundles instead of a hand-held device. Pundits are certain slumping sales had nothing to do with iPod Touches or iPads because hardly hardly anyone bought those devices since it's fairly well-known that Apple had a very poor holiday quarter. Besides with everyone waiting for the battery-eating Nintendo 3DS that causes eye problems if played for more than ten minutes, Nintendo sales should rise at least 200% in the next quarter.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999


    It is market saturation.

    The iPod has poor battery life compared to a Nintendo DS. It was market saturation that is accounting for sales drops, as well as the anticipation for the 3DS. When your mother-in-law, great aunt, etc. already has a DS, you know the market is saturated.

  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008


    A clear sign

    iPod Touch, iPhones and iPads are eating away their market fast!

  1. DeezNutts

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008


    Yes it was all Apple!

    It would have NOTHING to do with the 3DS being right around the corner or the fact that over 100 million of the devices already exist!

    Nothing at all! Everyone is switching to an iPod or iPhone instead *chuckles*

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Dec 2007


    *Rolls eyes*

    Yes... it was Apple, MacNN.

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