Wii nears 30M, DS slumps in Japan

Halved handheld sales in Nintendo's homeland are offset by Wii's worldwide surge; company's quarterly revenue jumps 24 percent.

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The Nintendo juggernaut continued rolling today with its latest glowingly profitable quarterly report, but the company's figures showed one of its tent-pole products losing steam.

Between April and June, the Nintendo DS handheld sold 6.94 million systems worldwide. That's down slightly from 6.98 million during the same time frame the year before. Nintendo also updated its lifetime-to-date sales total for the DS, which has now sold 77.54 million systems worldwide.

While sales grew elsewhere in the world, those gains were wiped out, as the Japanese market for the system experienced drastic decline. Japanese gamers picked up 580,000 DS systems for the quarter, down from 2.08 million during the same time frame last year. DS software also suffered a drastic slowdown in Nintendo's backyard, as Japanese consumers picked up only 4.93 million games, slightly more than half the 9.79 million sold in the previous year's June quarter.

The DS has been having issues in Japan, but its closest competitor is on the rise. Yesterday Sony announced its own results, which showed worldwide PlayStation Portable sales up 75 percent to 3.72 million systems for the quarter. The system is also apparently doing well in Japan, because Capcom today announced that its Monster Hunter Freedom 2G racked up 2.4 million in sales, becoming the first Japanese PSP title to break the 2-million-unit barrier.

The DS's slip did not go unnoticed by Nintendo. In its report, the company laid out its approach to revitalizing the handheld's fortunes.

"Nintendo's strategy is to accelerate current sales momentum from 'must-have for every family' to 'must-have for everyone' by continuously introducing new and unique software and introducing new services which take advantage of its expanded installed base."

The market for the Wii was similarly divided between Japan and the rest of the world. Nintendo sold 530,000 Wiis in Japan between April and June, down from 950,000 the year before. However, sales momentum continued rising for the system outside of its homeland, with worldwide Wii sales hitting 5.17 million for the quarter, up from 3.43 million the year before.

Lifetime-to-date, the Wii has sold 29.62 million systems worldwide, more than double the PlayStation 3's 14.4 million units. In between the two consoles is the Xbox 360, which has sold 20 million units since it launched in November 2005--one year before the Wii and PS3.

One place where Japanese consumers were more in unison with the rest of the world was in Wii software sales, which doubled and then some year-over-year. Japanese game sales for the system were up 40 percent, with software sales in the Americas jumping 222 percent. The system did even better on a global basis, with the number of games sold in the other regions soaring 381 percent.

For the quarter, Nintendo's revenues were up more than 24 percent year-over-year, from ¥340 billion ($3.15 billion) to ¥423 billion ($3.92 billion). The company's bottom line also improved--profits jumped nearly 34 percent to ¥107 billion ($990 million) from ¥80 billion ($740 million).

DS games that sold in droves for the company included Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time. Over on the Wii, Nintendo praised the sales success of newer titles like Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit, which sold 6.24 million and 3.42 million copies, respectively. It also singled out catalog titles that continue to sell, like Wii Play and Wii Sports, which is sold separately in some regions.

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