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DS Claims EU Dominance 172

Posted by Zonk
from the winning-the-war dept.
Gamasutra reports that, at least in the EU, the Nintendo DS has the portable war pretty much locked up for the time being. 200,000 units of the DS Lite were sold in the ten days after its launch. From the article: "According to Nintendo of Europe, the Nintendo DS has now secured the lead in the handheld market in Europe, with sales of the format exceeding 5 million. No sales figures from Sony are available to compare directly, with only a "shipped" figure of almost 6 million for all territories bar North America and Japan." Interestingly, 136,500 units were sold in the United States in just the first two days after the handheld console's launch.
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DS Claims EU Dominance

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  • Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by another_fanboy (987962) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @11:00AM (#15698106)
    Didn't Sony claimed the PSP would destroy the DS? I wonder if this is a sign of their upcoming ill fate...
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yvan256 (722131)
      Nintendo is to the gaming world what Apple is to the computer world. Always seen as the "underdog" even though they're profitable, have excellent products, and really innovate.
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by chrismcdirty (677039)
        I used to agree with this analogy. But then I realized Nintendo doesn't (usually) rape their customers with a high entry-price.
        • You ever got raped by Apple? Poor bastard. Nobody forces you to buy Apple's products, so "rape" is hardly the correct term.

          Second, while Apple's computers and MP3 players aren't cheap, they simply do not cost more than comparable products.

        • Rape? I prefer to think of it as "surprise sex".
      • Not really :P Remember NES? It ruled the market.
        • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by drinkypoo (153816)
          Right, but that was a special time. Retailers didn't want to sell anything with "video game" in the title because there were so many flops (coleco, intellivision, and several others) and no one was buying them. Nintendo actually invented R.O.B. as a gimmick so that they could sell it to retailers as a "robot game system" - although there's what, two games that work with him? And only one of them is remotely worth playing? Nintendo controlled the market because they sold just about the only thing you could b
          • Re:Hmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

            by ScaryFroMan (901163)
            But the NES isn't the only successful console. They came out with a slight majority vs. the genesis, and barely under a majority with the N64. And the gamecube did manage to beat the Xbox worldwide.

            That's a big difference from Apple's tiny minority.
            • Uh Nintendo 64 only had 35 million units sold. PS1 had 102 million. I think that's no where near a majority. Additionaly, the Gamecube is below Xbox worldwide by over 3 million units. I think you, and the person who marked you "+1 Insightful" need to check the manual [wikipedia.org].
        • Yeah, and the Apple II ruled the market for a while as well. Both were on top at one time, and both are regaining market share through quality products. I say the OP made quite an insightful comment, and should be modded up.
          • Except there's no "PC" of the console world.
            If you want a console you always consider options and always consider nintendo as one of many. There's always competition, and the market in in such a flux that it's really hard to keep any "brand loyalty". Not like in PCs where no matter what you choose in means of hardware, it's still a PC. PCs aren't going to go anytime soon and there's no crisis in the PC world. Apple is not going to grab most of the market in the near future and PC is not going to leave anyti
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oahazmatt (868057) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @11:19AM (#15698257) Journal
      I wouldn't say it's so much of a sign of an ill fate for Sony so much as it appears to be poor planning.

      Firstly, there is a difference in the two portable units, which is emphasized in the advertising campaigns. The Nintendo DS is a portable gaming system, whereas Sony has been marketing the PSP as a portable multi-media system in hopes of capturing a wider demographic.

      Secondly, there is the content available for either device. Nintendo has many titles available for the DS, most of them exclusive to the device if not just the brand. Sony has a number of titles available for the PSP, but not so many original concepts or exclusive to the PSP alone. For instance, "Liberty City Stories" has just been released for the PS2. For those who may have been contemplating purchasing a PSP simply to play the exclusive PSP version of Grand Theft Auto now have more options, including to having to purchase a PSP to play the game.

      Thirdly, there is a certain out-of-the-box quality that should be expected from a portable device. Every PSP owner I have encountered has taken the time to show me the capabilities of the device. Not once was the focus of the PSP it's own line of games, but other games it could play. PSP owners would show me the vast library of NES and MAME titles they had installed. However, when I asked if that was available out of the box, I was informed that it took some work to get the resulted library.
      Not that I would think it would not take work, but if the existing game library (import titles or no) is not the focus for the device owner, there is a good chance that the device will not succeed.

      I see the PSP hanging around for a bit, yet. There is still a chance for a comeback. It is an interesting machine, I have no doubt about that. It simply needs a steady line of original titles that are something more than what has already been seen on the device.
      • Fourth??? The GameBoy the most popular handheld of earlier years. That not only means a chance to build up their user base, but also means there's a huge crop of older games that "upgraders" can still play. Sony has an uphill battle all the way. They had a console user base, not a handheld user base.
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MemoryDragon (544441) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @01:09PM (#15699191)
        You bring it to the point, the only really interesting thing on the PSP is homebrew stuff and Sony tries to prevent these things to happen by enforcing firmware updates for newer games. So every psp owner has to face the fact, either homebrew or commercial games, now many of those buyers simply stick with homebrew, which means a sure loss for sony, because it cannot sell newer games to this demographic. Only two things have prevented those people to switch to the DS which is way friendlier with homebrew (as of now only a plugin module on the top and an sd adapter on the bottom is needed), those two missing things are a snes emulator which works well and a mame port. Once this is done, you can say goodbye to the PSP as preferred homebrew choice. Sony with its own stupidity of shooting itself into the foot will take care of the rest.
        • Though it should be pointed out that the DS, with it's 33 Mhz and 66 Mhz processors, has far less raw computing power than the PSP, and thus it will be much more difficult to get a port of something like MAME running at reasonable speeds.

          Not that I care too much... I'm far more interested in writing new (though not terribly original :) games for the device, given it's unique capabilities.
        • Well actually the latest version of devhook [qj.net], a homebrew game launcher, supports all current commercial games on UMD, right out of the box. So I can have my cake and eat it too. :D
      • Of course the focus from Sonys point is to have native games (and movies...), it's not like they are the ones makeing the emulators and stuff.

        If I want something like the PSP I guess I would wait for Gameboy 2 or whatever it might be called ;)
  • DS Rul3z (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pablo El Vagabundo (775863) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @11:00AM (#15698109)

    I have to say I'm impressed with the DS. It is the first portable console I have ever gotten and I am playing metroid constantly.

    I've always had a bit of a nintendo bias, but these days I'm nearly becoming a fanboy. Something has really changed at the company. They seem to be making all the right moves.

    They must all be playing brain training all the time. Their brains are way younger than those Sony execs...

    Pablo
  • by Orange Goblin (945041) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @11:01AM (#15698123)
    PSP looks nice and all, but they missed out the "gaming" part...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Ultimately, what keeps the games away from the PSP is that Sony didn't really understand what developers wanted when it came to handheld systems. Most existing handheld developers had been working on the GBA as their main platform and did not have the technological nor the financial resources needed to produce a PSP game; consider that you can make a GBA game for $250K-$500k whereas most PSP games require $2 Million or more to create the game. Constrast the PSP situation with the DS where Nintendo told deve
  • UK (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BenjyD (316700) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @11:06AM (#15698163)
    The DS even seems to be winning in the UK (source [kikizo.com]), where Nintendo has never done as well as on mainland Europe. It's been interesting watching the size of the DS section in shops grow, mostly at the expense of UMDs.
    • Re:UK (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dasaan (644170)
      I noticed this myself just this weekend when I went to buy Brain Training for my DS. I've also noticed that a few shops are starting to move their DS section towards the front of the shop where originally they were trying to pimp the PSP.
  • Bo knows gaming (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spyrochaete (707033) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @11:10AM (#15698199) Homepage Journal
    I have to say that I'm impressed in general with video game consumers. The most successful products are the consoles that treat their customers right. PS2 creamed the other consoles of its generation due to great games, an outstanding gamepad, an out-of-the-box DVD movie player, a low price, and backward compatibility. Even though the PS2 has the crappiest hardware of the 3 consoles it's still far and away the best seller.

    It's especially fascinating to see Nintendo out-Sony Sony! The DS has great games with tiny load times, innovative display and control schemes, a low price, and backward compatibility. It's the big seller by an enormous margin even though the graphics pale in comparison to the very pretty PSP, which has loads of (severely locked-down) additional features, but I think people are much more comfortable carrying a clamshell portable game system than a scratch-prone beauty queen.

    There are so many markets where the biggest names get the biggest sales, regardless of quality (fear not, I won't start my iPod rant). However, in the gaming world I feel fairly safe going with the crowd.

    Big kudos to Nintendo for the DS. They've earned all the fanfare.
    • The most successful products are the consoles that treat their customers right.

      As much as I like the sentiment, that just ain't always the case. Ask Sega about it.

    • Re:Bo knows gaming (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vga_init (589198) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @12:36PM (#15698947) Journal

      I would like to add to your comment that I have noticed the gaming industry is one of the most heavily-scrutinized industries by its consumers. This is a good thing.

      To give you an idea of what I'm talk about, think about the automotive industry for a moment. It's a huge industry, and it's got a wide group of consumers, each of whom have their own understandings about the machine and those who make and sell them. Most people know very little about the real functionality and merit of the vehicles themselves, but usually make their purchasing decisions based on price (some people want shiny, expensive, things) and product loyalty. Honestly, how many people do you know are familiar not only with autos themselves, but understand the dynamics of the industry as a whole (including politics, alignment, strategies, past products, current products, future products) and can speculate the significance of each morsel? It amazes me to sit and watch a bunch of people my age (youngsters--20 and under) sit and analyze the video game industry. Some people are on a first name basis with numerous individuals in the industry, from business men to engineers!

      I've seen people do this to sports and music, and I guess it's natural with video games because it is also a great form of entertainment and treasured pastime. It's too bad people can't be this concerned about politics. :)

      • Honestly, how many people do you know are familiar not only with autos themselves, but understand the dynamics of the industry as a whole (including politics, alignment, strategies, past products, current products, future products) and can speculate the significance of each morsel?

        Actually, there are lots and LOTS of people like this. There is an enormous "car culture" in the United States replete with otherwise un-tech-savvy folks who probably can't set their VCR clock but can nonetheless tell you the pu

    • Even though the PS2 has the crappiest hardware of the 3 consoles it's still far and away the best seller.
      What do you mean the crappiest of the 3? Sure, Xbox had faster hardware, but the PS2 still had better hardware than the gamecube. Please elaborate on how the PS2 had the crappiest hardware of the three.
      • I'm not entirely sure but I'm PRETTY sure that GC is far more powerful than PS2. At least that's what I heard about cross-platform titles like Resident Evil 4. The PS2 is an old clunker, man!
      • Don't tell me there are still people around who believe the Playstation 2 is a powerful console? It's significantly slower than the Gamecube and XBox. It came out a year earlier, after all. (look at Anandtech [anandtech.com], or just go and play RE4 on PS2 and GCN - there's a reason why the PS2 has to resort to FMV for the cutscenes, while the GCN renders them in-engine)
      • by LKM (227954)

        Have you ever seen a Gamecube in action? If so, are you insane?

        Compare Resident Evil 4 on the Cube and the PS2. Nuff said.

    • "The most successful products are the consoles that treat their customers right. PS2 creamed the other consoles of its generation due to great games, an outstanding gamepad, an out-of-the-box DVD movie player, a low price, and backward compatibility. Even though the PS2 has the crappiest hardware of the 3 consoles it's still far and away the best seller"

      But the Xbox where cheaper than a PS2 in the later part wasn't it? And it had a better DVD-player, xbox live, a harddrive, better hardware.

      The gamecube also
  • by Daysaway (916732)
    Another parallel can be drawn from this. Proof that (Speed & Power) != (Fun). Developers love programming for the DS, over the PSP. The games are simpler, and the focus is drawn more towards fun.

    Perhaps the future of the console wars does not rely on power as much as everybody thinks. I wouldn't be suprised in the least to see the Wii take the #1 slot in the next gen market (Even if it is a Gamecube++).
  • Still no WPA support (Score:2, Interesting)

    by also-rr (980579)
    According to Nintendo anyway. This means that if I got one I'd have to run multiple WiFi networks [revis.co.uk] in my house which seems a bit too much like a pain in the neck for a games console.

    Of course the GP2x has no built in WiFi at all, but it does seem like a missed opportunity for a product revision this late in the WEP-is-broken world.
    • This isn't much of a workaround, but the Nintendo Wi-fi Connect USB stick you can buy can only be accessed by DS consoles (though they will most likely update the firmware to support the Wii when that is released) as you actually have to set each console up manually on your PC the first time you connect with it. It supports up to (IIRC) 5 DS consoles. At work we actually point this out to people who have a wireless router at home, since otherwise they'll have to practically disable their security to use the
      • I was looking at that today and would like one... I don't know if you know the answer to this but it being /. I figured I might as well ask... does it work with linux (I'm on fedora core 5) and would it be able to access the net on my setup anyway because it is bound to one MAC address (I worked around this by changing my other pc's MAC address but don't know how to do it on a DS)... I don't suppose anyone has seen/solved either of these issues
        • I'm fairly sure the software that comes bundled with the stick is only for Windows XP. I had a quick Google and could only find forum posts of people asking the same question as you and getting the answer of "no, you should get a wireless router" which isn't very helpful. So I guess the answer is to dual boot or something but I don't know enough about networks to know anything about your MAC address problem. Good luck though!
  • Region-free=good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @11:30AM (#15698362) Homepage Journal
    In other regionally-divided platforms, the European gamers often seem to get a raw deal, waiting ridiculous amounts of time for their version of things to be released. I think the fact that DS is region-free really helped cement them a top position in a market that's tired of waiting for stuff to find its way over there.
    • Re:Region-free=good (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nutshell42 (557890) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @11:59AM (#15698645) Journal
      I think the fact that DS is region-free really helped cement them a top position in a market that's tired of waiting for stuff to find its way over there.

      The only real competitor of the DS is the PSP which is region-free, too (well, for games, but the DS is no movie player). So I really don't see how that would make a difference; I doubt many people replace their PS2/GCN/Xbox with a handheld because it's region-free.

      The first real test to your theory will be the next-gen consoles because the PS3 is region-free (well, for games...) while the 360 isn't; iirc the Wii will be region-free, too, but I'm not sure.

      • Xbox 360, like the PS3, is 'region-free'. What this actually means when it comes to consoles is that the manufacturer doesn't force developers to lock the game to a certain region. It's up to the publisher - if they want to region lock it, the capability is there. Blu-Ray is 'region free' too. They just use other parts of the spec to lock the disc to certain regions instead.

        The original Xbox had this as well. I had a friend bring some games he purchased in Canada when he was living there back to Australia,
    • PSP is region free to, and I suppose the GBA are aswell?
  • Region Free is undoubtedly a big win (I almost, ALMOST picked up a black DS Lite when I was in europe).

    The form factor is amazing: it really is pocket-comfortable.

    The gameplay is innovative: The touchscreen is producing some very cool results, including a lot of non-gamer games

    The price is good: About 150 euro after VAT

    Battery life is better: no moving parts.

    And the number of games is impressive: backwards compatibility is a big win.

    No wonder the DS is kicking the PSP's butt.
    • Region free means the price is even better in the US for UK people like me: £30/game here, or $30 in the US. I'm waiting until my next trip to the US to stock up on games...
    • PSP is region free for games. I have a japanese import and buy all my games in the US.

      The DS Lite is about an inch shorter than the PSP, and pretty much the same on other dimensions. The clam shell design certainly makes it more pocket friendly though. On the other hand, I find the PSP more comfortable to actually use.

      A number of the PSP games are pretty good, and I like the touchscreen too. MarioKart is cool, Brain Age is surprisingly addictive and my GF loves the new Mario game. However, I can't say I hav
      • The price difference in Europe is roughly 100 dollars, so go figure where the sales difference comes from :-)
      • That's pretty much my experience as well. (I have two PSPs and one DS Lite.)

        I don't have as many DS games yet, but I have have to say that the games for the PSP are way more impressive. But the DS games are kind of fun too, so it works out. Here in Sweden the DS games aren't that much cheaper though, and they are not really worth as much as the PSP games IMHO.
  • comparison (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spykemail (983593)
    As far as the Nintendo / Apple comparisons go, I think it's safe to say that they are kindred spirits. While it's true that Apple lives off high-end high priced products, it's their quality, image, innovation, loyal customer base, appeal to the average user, and reputation for being worth it just for Apple's software alone that really make them successful. There are plenty of high-end computer makers out there, but none of them enjoy Apple's reputation.

    Nintendo simply takes a different lane on the same road
    • Apple and Nintendo rely heavily on first-party software to sell their systems. As long as they both create desirable, exclusive software, they will remain relevant, but probably not market leaders.
  • No real suprises here, after Nintendo's dominance with the Game Boy for so long they had basic plans on what to do and they knew that if they kept their product cheap and innovative they would grab a large share of the market. Sony jumped into the portable market with a high-end machine in comparison and have experienced a few problems straight off the bat (not being able to compete on price, benchmark games like GT4 mobile being delayed, UMD becoming unpopular). I think Nintendo will continue to have the m
  • How does this "pretty much lock up" the handheld 'war' in Europe. I know the Lite sold well, but most new system sell well (excluding N-Gage). The lead there has been fluctuating for a few months and by all means could just as easily go back the other way, of course unless Sony does something stupid like not lower the price of the PSP.
  • I was just in my local game store today (a GameStop, to be specific) to pick up a WiFi USB Connector for the DS, and a copy of Metroid Prime: Hunters (the DS doesn't like my college's WiFi, especially the WPA authentication). I noticed that the DS stuff was off in a corner of the store, took up maybe 4 racks (all about 2 feet wide and vertical to each other), nowhere near the front. However, the PSP games were all right in the front, with signifcantly larger racks. They even had the audacity to fill out

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