October 3rd, 2008, 22:38 Posted By: wraggster
With over 81 million units sold worldwide and sales as hot as ever in the West, you have to wonder whether or not everyone that wants a DS has already bought one.
But as Nintendo is finding out, there are still brand new customers that have yet to buy a DS, and according to one analyst, there are a decent amount of repeat DS buyers too.
"Almost 20 percent of Nintendo DS purchases that are being made today are to replace a current DS, either because the consumer broke it, lost it, or they were simply enticed by a new color scheme or the 'Lite' features," said Electronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich in a note to Edge, citing internal estimates.
He added that he expects Nintendo to experience a nice sales boost when the camera- and music player-equipped DSi arrives. "There is no doubt that the DSi will boost sales. In the past, we’ve seen a significant sales boost just from the release of a new Nintendo DS color scheme."
The DSi launches in Japan on November 1 this year, and Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime said it will arrive in the U.S. sometime after April 2009.
Analyst Michael Pachter with Wedbush Morgan also expects the new hardware to boost DS sales, but it's up to Nintendo to get the pricing right in the U.S. In Japan, it will retail for 18,900 yen ($179).
"I think that DSi will sell well at the DS price point [$129], far less well at the $179 price point," Pachter said.
"The upgrade is not a 'must have,' and is instead a 'nice to have.' My guess is that we'll see a discontinuation of the current DS Lite model by 2010, and the DSi will replace it entirely."
He also said he believes the DSi is a response to flagging Japanese sales of the DS.
Divnich added, "Japan is a different story [than the West,] as the PSP is considered a much bigger threat to the Nintendo empire than the PSP is in North America.
"These new features in the DSi will help give Nintendo an even bigger competitive edge over the Sony PSP."
With the DS effortlessly outselling the PSP month after month in the U.S., Nintendo of America isn't in a big rush to announce a release date for the region.
"...We need to keep in mind that the new DSi was created with the Japanese gaming culture in mind, not the Americans," said Divnich. "Heck, Nintendo could relinquish all support for the DS in North America and it would still outsell the PSP."
DS developers have also expressed interest in the DSi, one example being Jeremiah Slaczka, creative director and co-founder of 5th Cell, developer of the acclaimed title Lock's Quest and Drawn to Life.
"The new [feature] additions make sense," Slaczka told Edge. "[Nintendo's] trying to update the DS without making the previous versions obsolete and upsetting the existing DS owners. The new features are a step in the right direction."
He added that DSi downloadable content is a "very intriguing" prospect. "There could be potential to make some really fun stuff for it."
Slaczka said he "can't discuss" whether or not he got a sneak peak at the DSi before its unveiling, but when asked if he'd be buying one when it arrives, he replied, "Of course!"
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