March 15th, 2005, 18:15 Posted By: wraggster
The Nintendo DS got off to a flying start last weekend in the UK, becoming the fastest-selling console ever with sales topping some 87,000 units in the first two days at retail, according to Chart-Track data released this morning.
Compared to previous console sales over the years, the DS was well ahead of the original GBA's launch statistics, which managed 67,000 back in June 2001, while the remodelled GBA SP debuted with 47,000 in March 2003.
The cheap and cheerful DS even smashed sales of fully-fledged consoles, beating the Cube's record debut week of 69,000 back in May 2002, with the likes of Xbox (52,000) and PS2 (46,000) selling decent numbers despite £299 price points.
Software wise, the DS launched with an impressive 16 titles, 12 of which made this week's Top 40 All Formats - although with PS2 titles such as Gran Turismo 4 and Metal Gear Solid 3 ruling the roost at the top of the listings, the best the DS could muster was a No.4 entry with Super Mario 64 DS, closely followed in the Top 10 by Wario Ware Touched! At No.6 and Rayman DS at No.10.
Ubisoft also scored a surprising No.12 entry with Asphalt: Urban GT, EA's multiformat pair of The Urbz: Sims In The City and Tiger Woods PGA Tour move up to No.15 and No.16 respectively, Pokemon Dash made it to No.18, Spider-Man 2 moved up to No.19, while the multiformat Robots (No.25), Project Rub (No.29), Zoo Keeper (No.39), and Polarium (No.40) also made it into the Top 40.
That left four of the 16-strong line up outside the Top 40, meaning the likes of Mr Driller: Drill Spirits, Retro Atari Classics, Ping Pals and Sprung were lower down on gamers' shopping lists.
Nevertheless, given the crowded release schedule on other platforms, strong hardware sales and 12 titles in the Top 40 in the opening weekend represent a very strong early showing for the DS in a territory where many in the industry were unsure of how well Nintendo's new machine would be received.
The challenge now for the system will be to continue its sales once the first wave of early adoption has died down - and to build strong momentum and expand its software base in Europe before the PlayStation Portable arrives in a few months time.
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