Yes, Nintendo has managed to do what it does best, which is to move gaming hardware at the critical shopping season. Whether it was aunts buying a Wii for nephews about whom the only thing she knows is they like video games, or kids convincing their parents that the new-colored DS systems are somehow different than the ones they already have, shoppers snatched up a whole bunch of the consoles last week.
Between November 21 and November 27, Nintendo said it sold 900,000 DS systems and 600,000 Wiis.
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime noted the company's history of triggering holiday sales. "For the past several years, consumers have decided that Nintendo defined both top value and all-inclusive entertainment, and that sentiment continues again at the start of this shopping season," he said in a statement.
The new orange and green DSi systems, special Mario-edition DSi XL, and snazzy red Wii system surely helped spur sales of the several-year-old game systems, even among those who may already own both platforms.
But Nintendo can't hold on to this feeling of novelty for too much longer. Having launched in 2006, the Wii is starting to look very outdated. It doesn't even have HD output capabilities, much less 3D. And its Internet connectivity is kind of a joke. Unlike the PS3 and Xbox 360, the Wii isn't exactly "future-proof" with enhanced firmware upgrade-ability. Nintendo has also been more resistant to change up the Wii's current hardware like Microsoft and Sony have.
Nintendo will pump new energy into the market next year when it launches the 3DS handheld. Could the Wii 2 be far behind? It not only needs to energize the handheld market, but console sales as well. Both are slumping.