Tag Archives | Nintendo DS

Silly Sony, PSPs Are for Kids!

pspslimThough I try to abstain from fanboyism, I’m addicted to the console wars. And I’m not talking about insults flung around by loyal customers; only official company statements from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony will do. The more ridiculous, the better.

Spin factor is always high, but the latest remarks on the Nintendo DSi by SCEA director of hardware marketing John Koller are even more satisfying, because they’re false.

Here’s his statement, in part:

“If Nintendo is really committed to reaching a broader, more diverse audience of gamers beyond the “kids” market that they’ve always engaged, there isn’t much new with the DSi to support that. Significant gamer demographic groups are being ignored … Compare that with the PSP platform, where we have many blockbuster franchises from our publishing partners launching this year, representing a wide variety of genres and targeting diverse demographics.”

I want to focus on the idea that the DS is for “kids,” while the PSP is apparently for everyone. Let’s put aside anecdotal evidence, such as the recent release of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the DS, because then you’ve got to subjectively compare entire game libraries.

Instead, let’s look at what Sony’s Koller said to Edge magazine last September as he explained why the PSP was losing support from third-party publishers. Koller himself said the PSP’s demographics had shifted younger since launch, and publishers weren’t grasping that fact because they kept putting out mature games that sold poorly. To wit:

“When we launched the PSP it launched at a 28-year old, heavily male, New York subway [demographic], and that slowly trended down. Now we’re in the mid-teens with a lot of tracking even younger than that. Our research shows that in the next 12 months young moms actually are set to have the highest propensity to purchase the hardware and software for their young children.”

Isn’t this the “kids” demographic Koller was alluding to this weekend, or was he trying to say that Nintendo DS owners are primarily young goats?

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Nintendo Gets Into Media Convergence With…Books?

mariobooksWhen it comes creating machines that do more than play games, Nintendo never shared the eagerness of its competitors. Thinking back, I can’t recall any of their consoles or handheld devices offering other entertainment media besides games.

That’s why the deal between Nintendo and book publisher HarperCollins, to release the 100 Classic Book Collection for the Nintendo DS handheld, is such a surprise.

Really, though, it’s pretty clever. You pop in the cartridge, flip the DS on its side so the dual screens are aligned horizontally, like a book, and use your finger and the touchscreen to thumb through the virtual pages of Dickens,  Shakespeare, and much more. And does your Amazon Kindle play video games when you grow tired of reading? Thought not.

It makes sense from a practical standpoint, which helps explain why Nintendo is bucking its “gameplay above all” philosophy to do it. The DS could probably handle some sort of video capabilities to compete with the Sony PSP’s UMD format. Likewise, Nintendo could devise a streaming video service for the Wii and has suggested the possibility of DVD functionality. But you’d need servers to stream video, a major marketing push to sell new handheld video formats, a firmware update or new console generation to support DVD. None of that sits well with the company’s classic approach to gaming systems.

In any case, Nintendo doesn’t need to offer any of those non-gaming perks; they are outselling Sony’s handheld and the other two consoles, after all. So instead of branching into potential pitfalls like music and video, the Big N is providing a much simpler alternative — the written word.

Maybe it’s not such a surprise after all.


Nintendo to Bring Music, Camera to Upgraded DS

Nobody can dispute that Nintendo has a true blockbuster on its hands when it comes to the Nintendo DS. The device has sold some 77.5 million units worldwide through June of this year, and continues to sell them at a rapid pace-at least a million per month, if not more. But the device has not been updated since March of 2006, when the company introduced the DS Lite.

That is about to change. According to a story in the Japanese business daily Nikkei, the company will release an updated model later this year. The most notable new features would be an integrated camera, and the capability for music playback.

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