With 153.99 million units sold worldwide the Nintendo DS is the best selling handheld video console of all time, only the PS2, with 155 million sales, can claim to be more successful. As big a success as the DS has been its sale figures have plateau, sale figures in 2011 were 151.06 million, so it is evident that demand is dying down.
There are numerous things that can be attributed to this stalling of sales but none are more relevant than the rise of smart phones. So can Nintendo fight back?
When we were youngsters the only handheld device that could keep us occupied on monotonous trips would be the humble gameboy, but with more and more parents having tablets in the house the youth of today are getting introduced to handheld games via the medium of tablet not DS. There was a time where Pokémon ruled the world but today it is the resurgence of Minecraft that has children entertained. This is extremely worrying for Nintendo as they are the only platform that Minecraft is not available on.
At the other end of the spectrum you have adults who in the past, especially with the hugely popular Brain Training, were inclined to getting themselves a DS. But nowadays everyone likes everything under one roof and in that regard the DS cannot hold a flame to tablets. People want to play games, just look at the popularity of Angry Birds, people want to watch TV, the iPlayer app is hugely popular, and more and more adults, over 4.3% of iPhone users in fact, like to bet on their mobile device, products such as iBet Matebeing just one of many popular betting apps. Adults no longer see the need for the DS to game when tablet games are more accessible and in their eyes, much better value for money. We also live in a society of convenience, naturally people want to use one thing for everything and last time they checked you couldn’t watch TV or place a bet with the DS.
The final nail in the coffin is the readily available gameboy emulators online. People can actually download gameboy games onto their mobile device. Games such as Zelda, Mario and Pokémon, the jewel in Nintendo’s crown, are all readily available to be downloaded onto mobile devices. Simply, Nintendo cannot compete with that.
The days of the DS are not over but it does seem that they are limited. The times are changing and sadly it seems that Nintendo cannot adequately adapt with the change.