Though Americans and Europeans won't see it until well into next year, the DSi went on sale in Japan over the weekend. Today, Enterbrain reported that the latest version of the handheld--which is now the top gaming portable in Nintendo's history--sold 170,779 units in its 48 hours in stores. According to the publisher of the popular Japanese magazine Famitsu, initial shipments of the ¥18,900 ($179) handheld almost completely sold out within minutes.
Reports of brisk DSi sales must be music to the ears of Nintendo, which unveiled the souped-up handheld last month. Unlike ithe DS Lite, the new model sports a Web browser, music playback, an SD card multimedia storage, a 3-megapixel camera, a smaller inward-facing camera, photo editing software, and larger and brighter dual screens. The new functionality comes at the expense of the Game Boy Advance cartridge slot, which is absent altogether.
Nintendo's introduction of the DSi comes as the DS platform is losing ground to its rival, the PSP. Sony's handheld, which boasted Web-browsing and multimedia functions from the outset, has seen its sales explode in Japan thanks to the craze surrounding the multiplatinum title Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G. A localized version of the Capcom game will be released in the US under the moniker Monster Hunter Freedom Unite next spring.