The Nintendo DS has nothing to worry about from Apple

In response to Forbes' recent (and profoundly stupid) article "Why Apple could kill the Nintendo DS", CNET's Don Reisinger savagely retorts:
So far, Nintendo has sold just over 73 million Nintendo DSs. Compare that to the iPhone's lofty goal of 10 million units sold and the iPod touch's sales, which have yet to be released, and you can see how much work Apple has to do just to catch up. In fact, last quarter, Apple sold about 1.7 million iPhones and 10 million iPods, although the exact number of iPod touch sales were not given. Considering Nintendo's April DS sales were 414,800, I just don't see how Apple has a chance. The DS is currently on pace to not only destroy the Game Boy sales record, but it has the opportunity to do so in about ten years assuming the same rate of sale can be maintained. Can Apple truly produce that many products and then convert those users into gamers?
No, they can't. By any logic, the Nintendo DS simply isn't going to be budged in the near future from its position as number one portable. Of course, that's not to say the iPhone won't do some sorts of games wonderfully: it certainly will. That's not even to say that iPhone gaming won't be a smashing success. But gaming will always be tangential to the iPhone's success and any claims that Apple could "destroy" the DS in sales (whether software or hardware) is fanboy jaybone toking... all the more surprising when it comes from Forbes. Why Apple will never kill the Nintendo DS [Crave] PreviouslyIs the iPhone the Next Wii?
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12 Responses to The Nintendo DS has nothing to worry about from Apple

  1. echolocate chocolate says:

    The iPhone is three times as expensive as the DS and, more importantly, you can’t buy Pokémon for it. The DS ain’t going anywhere until the next Gameboy comes out.

  2. strider_mt2k says:

    @ snackcake:
    I dunno about that.
    Those kids can usually find something to stand on.

    (I still wouldn’t hand ‘em one though.)

  3. Anonymous says:

    If I was Apple I would be worried that Nintendo would be wanting to put cell phone functionality in the next generation of hand-helds.

    Of course what gamer is going to stop playing long enough to take a call?

  4. Inverse Square says:

    Will the DS outsell the gameboy classic? It needs 120 million units to do that. Gods, I wonder how far we are into the lifespan of the thing… I’m trying not to humiliate yourself by thinking it’ll be more than another 5 years.

  5. Inverse Square says:


  6. Inverse Square says:

    I really don’t think the DS’ll continue to sell so well. It’s an interesting one, because it’s caused a cultural phenomenon in Japan, so its sales have stayed quite high. Buuut it’s surely coming to a peak; eventually almost everyone who wants a DS will have one.

  7. Avram says:

    Hm. I entered the world of handheld gaming with the DS Lite, so I missed the whole Gameboy experience. Looking back over it, it’s tough to guess how Nintendo is going to go forward.

    I see the original Gameboy was released in 1989. There’ve been a whole bunch of incremental new models, and then the Gameboy Color in 1998, and Gameboy Advance in 2001, both of which still supported old Gameboy games. So that’s either nine or thirteen years between major new platform changes, depending on whether you count the GB Color.

    The original DS shipped in 2004, just three years after the GBA. That looks like a pretty short time at the top of the heap for the GBA.

    The DS has sold 70 million over four years, an average of over 18 million per year. At that rate, the DS could break the Gameboy’s record in another two or three years, and the total Gameboy-plus-GBA record by 2015, if Nintendo doesn’t obsolete the line.

  8. Avram says:

    Another issue in the iPhone argument: The iPhone doesn’t have buttons. I’m pretty sure that a dedicated gaming platform needs hardware buttons. I can’t imagine playing New Super Mario Bros on a touch-screen-only device. The game requires so much visual attention that I need tactile feedback to work the controls.

    On the other hand, I suspect that whatever Nintendo’s next-gen handheld is, it’ll have a built-in motion detector.

  9. Avram says:

    Speaking of Apple-Nintendo connections, I just got an aluminum cover for my DS. Now it looks like a tiny PowerBook. I was gonna put strips of grip tape on it, but now I think I’ll go with a tiny white Apple sticker, if I can find one, or cut one out of vinyl adhesive.

  10. snackcake says:

    How are these even related? The DS is a small handheld game system beloved by children, parents, and gamers worldwide.

    The iPhone, in comparison, is an expensive multi-function phone that requires a monthly service fee that is over a third of the cost of the DS hardware, or roughly the cost of a new-release DS game, and is loved mostly by Mac fanboys, hipsters, well-off gen-Xers, but is out of reach and unsafe to hand to a seven year-old Pokemon expert.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “eventually almost everyone who wants a DS will have one”

    That’s assuming parents buy DSs for their 2-year-olds and store them until they’re old enough.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Big assumption that in 10 years the playing field may not have new entries that blow current phones/players all out of the water.

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