DS claims game sales throne in Japan

Nintendo's handheld surpasses the PlayStation 2 as biggest software pusher in Japan; survey shows most gamers are looking forward to the DS redesign.

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The Nintendo DS was the top-selling gaming console of 2005 in Japan with over 4 million units being sold. But a game system without games is just a fancy paperweight, so it's no surprise that DS software flew off the shelves, too. A report in the latest issue of Famitsu, however, reveals that DS games sold so well, the handheld managed to knock off the once untouchable reigning champion of consoles.

Boosted by four of the top five selling titles in Japan, DS games outsold PlayStation 2 games during 2005. Over the previous two years, more than half of the games sold in Japan were for Sony's system. PS2 games accounted for 55.4 percent of game sales in 2003 and 57.1 percent in 2004. But the picture changed in 2005 as DS games accounted for 41.4 percent of game sales in the country, and the PS2's share fell to 36.2 percent.

The DS had three games that sold one million copies or more in Japan in 2005. The PlayStation 2, on the other hand, had only one title sell more than a million copies last year, Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts II.

The good news continues to roll for the DS, as the recently announced DS Lite redesign appears to have captured the public's interest in Japan. According to a survey taken by Famitsu.com, 63.4 percent of those polled are looking forward to the DS Lite, saying that they're impressed with the new look, and they've wanted a brightness control for the handheld. 8.8 percent aren't impressed with the redesign, because they're already satisfied with their current DS, or they think it's just an excuse to raise prices. 27.8 percent stayed neutral with their opinion, saying that they don't think the new model looks too different than before, and they'll need hands-on time to make a decision.

However, "looking forward to" and actually buying are two different things. When asked whether they'll actually buy a DS Lite, 29.3 percent of respondents said they will purchase the handheld, while 34.6 percent said they won't, and 36.1 percent said they aren't sure.

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