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Nintendo DS Sales Driving Games Industry Growth 67

VonSnouty writes "After watching Sony and to a lesser extent Microsoft stealing market share over the past few years, the DS is seeing Nintendo producing its most bullish numbers for years. Indeed, it's just used the latest NPD figures to claim that the Nintendo DS is largely responsible for US games industry growth in 2006 so far. From the article: 'Up until the end of September, the U.S. industry overall shows revenue growth of 11 per cent when compared with the same period in 2005. Nearly all of the growth comes from the portable DS — without it, the industry would report a mere 1.6 per cent growth over the past nine months.'"
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Nintendo DS Sales Driving Games Industry Growth

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  • by tont0r ( 868535 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @01:55PM (#16456613)
    Nintendo is finally doing what everyone has been trying to do for a really long time now. And that is tap into the 'casual market'. Just last night, I saw a DS commercial of a mom hanging out in the minivan waiting for her kids to get out of class and she was play a DS. And it was a game that looked similar to Brain Age. Just a small little game that people will pick up and play with for alittle bit and then drop it until they are bored again.

    The hardcore market is a static market for the most part. Of course it will grow, but when you tap into a new market, the growth is a lot more noticable.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TFer_Atvar ( 857303 )
      I'd argue that it's not untapped so much in regards to new gamers, but gamers who want a cheap portable gaming system. You have to remember that the best-selling game system in history isn't the PS2 or NES, but the orginal Gameboy. The PSP was great, but it served the high-end market and didn't sell many units because of that. It's a great system, but was hampered by cost. The DS is cheaper, and by marketing at the lowest common denominator, you sell a lot more. Because the price is lower, you open it up t
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by docdude316 ( 836485 )
        The difference between Brain Age and the DS and the Xbox and Halo is the fact that the DS doesn't seem to "need" a system selling game. It's been selling quite well on it's own without one defined "system seller". The Xbox on the other hand needed Halo. Without Halo it would've suffered the same fate as the NEO-GEO, Jaguar, and more recently the PSP and N-Gage. I would argue that Nintendo is the one that first tapped into the "Casual Gamer" market when they released Tetris on the Gameboy 10 years ago. Nint
        • I would argue that Nintendo is the one that first tapped into the "Casual Gamer" market when they released Tetris on the Gameboy 10 years ago.

          Except ... it was 20 years ago.

          Yes, we're that old. Sigh.

          --Jeremy
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by senatorpjt ( 709879 )
          Brain Age is horrible for the casual gamer. It makes me feel guilty if I don't play it every day.

          • Nintendo's "casual" games aren't really for a casual player. They're more for a non-gamer to get addicted to. My fiance used to play Animal Crossing (both versions) religiously after work. She always quits in the summer, since it's easier to get out when it's warm. She feels guilty when she starts up Nintendogs and her dog has to take a wicked dump and needs a bath and food (but not guilty enough to actually play it more often).
            • I meant to mod you 'insightful' (since my wife behaves the same way with those two games) but my finger slipped and it hit 'redundant' instead. There is no way to undo a moderation directly, but by posting in this discussion, my moderation will be undone and all will be set right. Please disregard this comment, everybody!
      • by swcrissman ( 264085 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:39PM (#16457277)
        Gamers don't want a cheap portable system, they want a cheap portable system that has games that they will find interesting and/or fun. The parent was right in that the games on the DS appeal to a large chunk of consumers who don't fit the standard mold.

        Brain Age has done really well, and people point to it alot, but the entire Touch Generation line of games appeals to non-gamers. Even outside of that series, however, the games are purposefully aimed at the perception of being easy to pick up and have fun with. I agree no one game has been the single driver, but the general selection of games together has an affect.

        I bought the DS Lite because I liked the ability to tote it around while I have downtime, and New Super Mario Bros. was irresistable to me. I probably fall into the market you describe, where the platform was the most important aspect.

        The unintended consequence of me getting the DS Lite, though, is that my wife has been using the DS as well. She likes brain age, loved NSMB, and recently picked up SM vs. DK 2 because she likes puzzle games. She is someone who stopped playing games a while back because they just got too complicated/not fun enough. She is exactly the market that the original poster was referring to: someone who has not been a gamer for a long time, but has been brought into it because of the DS game selection.

        The original post was correct in saying that a large chunk of the growth is the untapped market of people who either never have been gamers, or haven't been for a while.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rabbot ( 740825 )
        Brain Age is a great game and we've heard a lot about it, but so far, the numbers don't indicate that it's doing what HALO did for the Xbox.

        Nintendo doesn't need a HALO to do what HALO did for the Xbox. There is a whole library of HALOs on the DS. It was easy for one above average game to start moving Xbox's...but when you have such a great library like the DS has, you'll rarely see one game pull those kinds of numbers. It's spread out a bit more.
    • by brkello ( 642429 )
      I'd be more impressed if you saw droves of mom's in the real world using it rather than marketing. I got my girl friend in to Nintendogs...but I really don't know any moms out there that are in to it. The primary market is still going to be kids and traditional gamers. A DS is no more hardcore or casual than a PSP...it's the games that make it that way. DS does have more casual games, no argument there, but people don't really understand the distinction. I really don't see Nintendo pulling in that many
      • My mom's into it. Then again, she was into Zelda and Mario games many years ago.
      • by dlc3007 ( 570880 )
        Actually, my sister-in-law and her husband have been sharing time with their daughter on her DS Lite. Each member of the family has their own profile on Brain Age and Big Brain Academy. There is no doubt that they wouldn't play any games if their kid didn't have a DS. As a result, I'm guessing that the number of DSs in their household will be growing over the holidays.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by TrickFred ( 231420 )
        Are you kidding? My wife (yes, a mom of two) is foaming at the mouth to get Nintendogs, and that new 'Cooking Mama' game... and up until a year ago, I couldn't get her to play a game for more than ten minutes, other than playing Chrono Trigger halfway through (with level 99 characters on my New Game+, back in 1996) when she was laid up sick for a week.

        I really don't think I'm going to be able to hang on to them until Xmas; she's about ready to go out and buy them on her own...
      • My mom was enjoying her DS for quite a while, mostly with puzzle games. Unfortunately, I put a stop to it when I introducer her to Sudoku in Brain Age. At that point, she decided that a) she liked the game but b) she didn't like to work the puzzles on the handheld. She therefore went out and bought a book of Sudoku puzzles and has been doing her gaming on paper ever since...I'll have to find the right DS game to get her back on videogames. :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by automattic ( 623690 )
      Haven't seen the commercial, but wow, that sounds just like my significant other. With both of us being parents, we do have to wait on kids to get out of class and numerous other time waiting activities.

      I grew up on the Intellivision, TRS-80s, and of course the NES. My SO, (in her words) was never what you would consider a gamer of any system. Nothing more than playing the occasional game or two, whenever she was around others that were gaming.

      Our kids are what I would consider to be hardcore gamers (time-w
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ronanbear ( 924575 )
      It's important to understand exactly how casual the casual market is. My sister bought a GBA because she had a 7 hour wait in an airport and it seemed like something she'd use a lot. She certainly got her moneys worth out of it. For Nintendo that's not something very untypical. It's why they include batteries with GBAs. The switch to lithium was probably inevitable though. They are the ultimate impulse purchase. An iPod doesn't compare because you have to load music onto it so it's not something that can be
  • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:16PM (#16456913)
    "Nearly all of the growth comes from the portable DS -- without it, the industry would report a mere 1.6 per cent growth over the past nine months."

    Xbox management team: you are fired. Seriously. Just got your next-gen ass handed to you by an cheap white handheld with two buttons. Because its more fun.

    You are sentenced to go play Katamari Damacy and Brain Age for two years.

    • by AK__64 ( 740022 )
      Ouch! So harsh!!!
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by brkello ( 642429 )
      Stupid comparison. MS isn't even in the handheld market...which has always been dominated by Nintendo. On top of that, you are telling them to play a game developed for the PS2. Besides, a console can't be "more fun" than another...that is soley dependant on the games. Additionally, the DS is by far cheaper...much easier to sell to parents who want to keep their kids quiet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pembo13 ( 770295 )
        The article was about the more general gaming market, not about the handheld gaming market. In that regard it is a fair comparison. Trying kinda hard to defend the consoles aren't you?
        • by brkello ( 642429 )
          Not really, the handheld market and the console market are very different critters. This article was talking about revenue growth...consoles are sold at a loss (well, the 360 is, not Nintendo consoles) in hopes to make profit off of games and peripherals. The DS is not sold at a loss. So using the original poster's logic I could have said that Nintendo should fire all the people working on consoles and put the people who do the DS in charge. It's just been a good year for that handheld.

          I don't think I
      • MS isn't even in the handheld market...

        Windows Mobile, a Microsoft handheld platform, had touch screen games before Nintendo first sold the DS.

    • One mistake in your logic though, Katamaric Damaci is not available for the DS... Neither is Okami...
    • ...it's a cheap white handheld with not two, but SIX buttons (not including the start and select buttons). But I'm just being anal retentive. :)

      Anyway, I wouldn't say that Nintendo is dominating the Xbox using the DS, since they're two dramatically different systems, appealing to dramatically different markets, to play dramatically different games. The innovation of the DS helps a lot as well, since the 360 is just a bunch of the same stuff we've already seen for a number of years, only shinier.

      It'll be
      • by 7Prime ( 871679 )

        I dunno, man. The DS isn't just a handheld, though. For the first time, it's a portable console that offers something that TV consoles can't (besides portability), and it's starting to feel less and less like a console you would ONLY play while waiting in line at the DMV. By that, I mean, it's starting to become a part of the prime-time gaming market, as well as the "quick and simple" handheld market. If Metroid Prime Hunters hadn't sucked so much (having nothing to do with the hardware), during the late ev

    • by Kuvter ( 882697 )
      It actually has 6 main buttons, 4 on the right "a,b,x,y" and the "l" and "r" buttons. Oh and don't forget the stylus.
  • They should see what happens if they release Opera (and Skype) outside Japan. Games are great and the system is a lot of fun. The DS already has limited VOIP capability and even factoring in the cost of a ROM with Skype it would be cheaper than some of the wi-fi Skype phones beginning to appear.

    The PS2 was a relatively cheap DVD player once upon a time and that certainly encouraged some people to invest in one.

    • I'm not sure the DS would be capable of handling Skype; (sad) as it is, it has difficulty loading and processing web pages on Opera DS.
  • It makes sense (Score:2, Insightful)

    Even people that don't know anything about video games know what "Nintendo" means, and to many people "Nintendo" means 'video games in general.' Mothers and fathers always bought their kid the new "Nintendo thing they wanted." Their kid kept wanting the new machines, so they had to be somewhat fun. Now Nintendo is targetting that person that wants a little distraction and relief during their busy day; not a complicated fighting game or a long-winded RPG, but a simple (And somewhat meaty) distraction. And it
    • The thing is that Nintendo doesn't have the kind of brand recognition any more that you think they do. Sure in the 80's "Nintendo" meant videogames, but then "Sega" meant videogames, and now "Playstation" means video games. They are no longer the "Band-Aid" of the videogame world that they once were.
      • "Sega" never had the same synonymous-with-videogames status in this part of the world. At the company's peak, it meant (at best) "that other video game system that you bought your kid because you were too cheap to buy a real Nintendo".

        "Playstation" has come close, but there are a good number of adults that, when asked "Who makes the Playstation?", answer "Nintendo." They finally figured out that not all games were "Nintendo", but the advancement stopped there. Somehow, all video game systems are still made
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by docdude316 ( 836485 )
          Where I come from, during the 16-bit era, everyone was going to go play "Sega" no matter which system they were playing. During the 8-bit era it was Nintendo, and during the past two generations is has been "Playstation". I can only speak from experience but that's the way I've always heard it.
        • Re:It makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

          by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @09:34PM (#16462841) Homepage Journal

          Ironically, the first thing that comes to people's minds when they see a Nintendo DS, actually doesn't have the word "Nintendo" in it... it's a "Game Boy". The term "Game Boy" is probably even more synonomous with handheld gaming than "Nintendo" ever was with TV gaming. Most people STILL think the thing is called the "Game Boy DS" (especially since everyone was bombarded by the term "SP" last round, so many people don't question the idea that you just put two letters after the words "Game Boy").

          But you do draw an insteresting distinction. The Playstation will always be a "Playstation", the "Playstation 2" will always be a "PS2" or "Playstation", and not "A Sony". The XBox and XBox360 will always be "XBox" and "360", and never "A Microsoft". The NES and SNES were most definitely "Nintendos" though.

          I must admit, though, that the use of the term "Nintendo" to mean any game console did go down hill after the Super Nintendo, due to a number of things:

          1. Since there were now three large companies in the game, and Nintendo was no longer the top dog, people were gradually weined off using the term "Nintendo" as a generic.
          2. The term "N64" no longer had the word "Nintendo" in it, it was the "N 64", even the logo drove that home.
          3. "Super Nintendo" was about as reliavent as saying "Nintendo 2". "Super" doesn't mean anything, and to be honest, it isn't a very hip word to say all the time in English (unlike in Japanese). "64" actually has meaning, therefor, there was reason to use it as a designation.
          4. Gaming changed... drastically. The introduction of 3D gaming, new control devices (the analog stick), the introduction of cinematics, and the whole genre of "party gaming" really separated Nintendo's 3rd outing from its first two. The Super Nintendo was advertised and accepted as a more powerful NES, where-as the N64 was something totally different, as it brought many more new things to the table. Therefor, it had to be distinguished from previous generations.
  • Well if Nintendo keeps releasing games like club hosue games. This game will get anybody to want a ds. It ahs 42 games lieks solitaire,dominoes,poker,chess. They will continue to get the big sales if they keep making games like this :)
  • Okay, Stupid Question Warning:
    Where is the best place to buy DS games? I feel like an idiot at EB because the section is so small and there is always a kid there I feel like I am tripping over. Online, I don't feel like Amazon's store style works well. I wish it were organized like the iTunes music store. Also, why do Nintendo's portable games seem to go out of print? The NES Classics series is a great example. Only the dreggs are left on store shelves. Also, lots of great GBA games are gone from the
    • The problem is shelf space, by and large. Because the games are cheap, the margins on them don't amount to a lot, so game stores give more shelf real estate to titles that make them more money (primarily PS2 / Xbox / Xbox 360). The tiny amount of leftover space given to DS titles means that older titles get pushed off the shelf rather quickly to make room for new releases. The games are still in print, usually, but the major retailers don't bother to stock them. I imagine someone somewhere did the math
    • by PeelBoy ( 34769 )
      I like Game Crazy personally.

      I also like Target and even Walmart some times has decent selection of games.

      Target is a great place to look when new systems come out. I always have good luck finding them there.
    • by rjung2k ( 576317 )
      Half of the time, I end up buying new NDS games at Target. Decent selection and good prices compared to EB/GameStop/whatever.

      --R.J.
  • It's good to see (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tarlus ( 1000874 )
    It's refreshing to see that the market is gradually starting to lean more toward innovation rather than raw graphics power. The PSP is a really nifty-looking little system, but its games are predominantly all the same stuff we've already seen, just handheld. The Xbox 360 can put out some impressive graphical effects, but all they do is make all the same games we've already played more shiny.

    The DS is admittedly very underpowered when benchmarked next to the PSP, but it would be like comparing apples and o
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Xbox was not significantly more powerful than GameCube, certainly nothing even close to the hardware advantages that both shared over PS2.
      • Xbox was not significantly more powerful than GameCube, certainly nothing even close to the hardware advantages that both shared over PS2.

        True enough, in fact it has been said many times that the XBox and Gamecube were very similar in processing power but that they had different advantages; any game that took advantage of the Gamecube's fixed functionality pipline (usually) produced more polygons with greater texture detail than was possible on the XBox, the XBox's programable pipleine allowed it to generat

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