The long-lived and long-loved Nintendo DS, the thing that’s sold more than 150 million devices (in four formats) and damn near a billion games, received no projected sales in financial statements the company filed today. Is this the end of the world’s most successful gaming handheld?
If it is, Nintendo probably won’t announce or formalise the death until years later, as it did with the Game Boy Advance. At minimum it points to the standard DS models entering their retirement as the company’s handheld focus is quite obviously on its 3DS model.
Kotaku reached out to Nintendo of America to ask about the company’s plans for the original DS line, and whether its production had ceased. Its only reply was that “Nintendo will continue to sell Nintendo DS hardware but is not revealing a unit sales forecast at this time.”
Reading between the lines, although some 2.1 million units were sold in the Americas last year, Nintendo does not expect sales of the DSi, DSi XL or DS Lite models to affect its bottom line in the coming year, whether or not it is continuing to make them. Sales of the original DS line have virtually vanished in Japan; only 10,000 were listed for Nintendo’s fiscal year, which ended in March.
In the U.S. the DSi line is still out there as a great, cheaper alternative with an enormous library of titles, but Nintendo probably wants folks on a 3DS for more than the fact it’s a more expensive machine and the top of their product family: They want people in the eShop spending money there, and the only way to access that with a handheld is on a 3DS.
Nintendo did give a rough projection of a million or so games being sold for the platform, whether physical media or online; but original DS games are, of course, compatible with the 3DS.
If this is the end, then the original DS’s reign lasted nearly a decade and sold more than 153 million units and more than 933 million copies of a library comprising 1,300 titles. That run would be the envy of any company, and is something Nintendo should be proud of, even if it’s not willing to say it effectively ended today.