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Portables (Games) The Almighty Buck

DS Pre-Orders Stopped as Sales Soar 232

Posted by Zonk
from the nintendo-must-be-weeping-right-now dept.
GamesIndustry.biz has the story that major retailers Gamestop and EBGames are likely going to stop DS Preorders because they're coming so fast that they won't be able to meet demand when the system launches. From the article: "It appears that six games will be available on day one - Nintendo's Super Mario 64 DS, Sega's Feel The Magic XY/XX, Activision's Spider-Man 2, Ubisoft's Asphalt Urban GT and two from EA - Madden NFL 2005 and The Urbz: Sims in the City." Gamespot also has details on the handheld shortage.
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DS Pre-Orders Stopped as Sales Soar

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  • Smart marketing? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fembots (753724) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @02:46PM (#10726538) Homepage
    I don't know if this is called smart or stupid marketing campaign.

    On one hand, it's good to create (even an illusional) high demand on DS, but on the other, it might have missed the golden opportunity to lock consumers in before other rivals starting coming up with new consoles/games.

    I read no mention of increased production before the release, they just promised to ship 4 million units by end of March 2005. This could be a good thing, as rushed products are usually bad ideas.

    --
    Play iCLOD Virtual City Explorer [iclod.com] and win Half-Life 2
    • by PornMaster (749461) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @02:57PM (#10726670) Homepage
      What makes you think it's a marketing campaign?

      Every product meets up with delays in getting it to market, particularly technically complex products... if you allow more pre-orders than you can full, then - particularly in litigous societies - aren't you opening yourself up for allegations and possibly lawsuits of misrepresentation or fraud?

      Hell hath no fury like a mother who's pissed off that the toy she already paid for won't be available until after Christmas.
    • Nobody says they've stopped taking preorders yet. This might spur another crowd into the stores 'before they quit'.
    • I dont think ther'es any delay, this is the time nintendo wanted to release NDS long time ago.
    • by Geartest.com (582779) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @04:57PM (#10727975) Homepage

      We spoke with some people in Nintendo's media/analyst relations department as well as a vice president who said that the company is shipping 1 million units for Nov. 21. This shortage doesn't appear to be an illusion.

      If demand really is so high that retailers are stopping pre-orders then there may be a problem on the manufacturing side with a possible component shortage, or a simple lack of manufacturing capacity to produce more. There are a limited number of suppliers for some of the components that go into the DS and those suppliers have other customers besides Nintendo.

      A few weeks back, we spent a couple of hours in a hands-on preview of the Nintendo DS [geartest.com] and previewing/playing Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt, Super Mario 64 DS, Spider-Man 2 DS and the onboard PictoChat instant messaging software.

      We also checked out a few more titles yesterday, and will publish first impressions of those games soon.

    • I think this is not a Marketing problem as it is a capacity demand problem. It causes the "the harder to find, the more people want it effect", but if you look at the manufacturing process, companies make sales forecasts, suppliers have a cap, and raw materials are obtained by hedging on prices. Nintendo might say, it's a healthy estimate to have 2MM units for north america because in the next batch we might be able to take advantage of lower prices in components and economies of scale. Personally I woul
    • This has nothing to do with marketing at all. This is them not wanting to deal with pissed customers when the supply of DS's is unable to meet the demand of preorders.

    • If you can remember all the way back to 2001, you might recall a situation in which a certain game system didn't meet pre-order sales.
  • PS2 anyone? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GweeDo (127172) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @02:48PM (#10726568) Homepage
    Who else is reminded of the PS2 launch? There were no where near enough consoles to meet the need and it caused a huge buzz and lots of high priced ebay sells!

    Well, atleast I have mine already preordered!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 04, 2004 @02:50PM (#10726595)
    The PSP has been riddled with plausible problems since its inception - a high cost to manufacture, attempting to reach out to a market that's not there (not many older people aside from the hardcore gamers play handheld systems), and low battery life. Now, customers have spoken and they want the DS... I don't think there's much room in the marketplace for both systems, maybe Sony should hold off on the PSP till it becomes a bit more plausible and cost-efficient to develop.

    • attempting to reach out to a market that's not there (not many older people aside from the hardcore gamers play handheld systems)

      Adults represent 2/3 of the video game market. If adults truly aren't playing handheld games, then presumable there's a good reason. One reason may be the present offerings, in which case Sony's appeal to this demographic makes sense.

      The reason probably isn't that they don't want to play handheld games.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        I play games in the comfort of my own home. Given the choice between a handheld or a console, I'll use a console, because I can get more out of it. Outside my home, I don't play games. When I was younger, I used to, but I wasn't the one driving the car then, so it was a good way to keep me occupied. My point is, kids play portable systems because they can. Adults don't typically have the same opportunities. I'd imagine even people that use public transportation would be too self-conscious to play a ga
    • No, the PSP isn't riddled with problems. If it was you wouldn't be saying this in a Nintendo DS post as an anonymous coward!

      Last I checked October 2004 versions of a couple magazines, Game Informer for example, showed the PSP doing is preping up excellently.

      DS will launch first, PSP will follow. The pattern is expected to follow the 16bit era. Sega genesis launched first, then SNES came out and absolutely obliterate all competition. Remember the facts, Sony is the ONLY video game console manufacturer
      • First off, if profit is the question then Nintendo is the answer in that every one of their consoles has been profitable and, therefore, a success. Despite "losing" to the Playstation, the N64 made a nice chunk of change for the company.

        Second, if you don't think the PSP is heading for problems, you don't know what you're talking about. A game that uses the full capabilities of the system will, by SONY'S OWN ADMISSION, cause the battery life to drop to around two hours (and if Sony is saying two hours,

      • Not a good comparision. The Genesis outsold the SNES by a large margin, in spite of the SNES' technical superiority.

        Nintendo has been quite successful with ever console so far, especially in the portable market, because they play it safe. Even the disappointing N64 did well enough to sustain the company for several years.
  • With Nintendo... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poofyhairguy82 (635386) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @02:56PM (#10726663) Journal
    When it comes to Nintendo, you have to wonder- is this shortage on purpose?

    Some might blow off this question. Why would a company create a shortage when the other option is to sell more product? Simple answer- it creates consumer excitement. The N64 definatly benefited over its lifespan from having an initial shortage, the free advertisement from news outlets interested in parents fighting over a video game machine probably boosted the longterm sales of N64 by a few million systems (and they needed it- that was their weakest console system to date). Nintento knows that it has to survive not only this Christmas, but the next two or three as well with the same hardware. Next year when there isn't a shortage all that free advertising from the shortage will pay off.

    I think that Nintendo is trying to do it in the U.S. at this point (will Japan have a shortage too?). The only reason to avoid the shortage was if they were newcomers in the biz and they needed the numbers from Christmas to pick up developers. But since Nintendo is assumed to always win in that market, they already have developers lined out the door.

    Its a win win situation for them. The only losers are gamers who didn't preorder in time (shame on you!).

    • Re:With Nintendo... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by phoxix (161744) * on Thursday November 04, 2004 @03:05PM (#10726744)
      The N64 definatly benefited over its lifespan from having an initial shortage, the free advertisement from news outlets interested in parents fighting over a video game machine probably boosted the longterm sales of N64 by a few million systems (and they needed it- that was their weakest console system to date).

      Bullshit

      The Virtual Boy was their weakest console to date. It even caused the legend himself Gunpei Yokoi (inventor of original Game Boy, Metriod, nuff said) to leave Nintendo. And while the N64 did get a beating from PS-X, it had games the PS-X couldn't touch. (Which makes sense when you think about Nintendo as its own best developer.)
      • by dykofone (787059) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @03:32PM (#10727031) Homepage
        Come on, it's obvious: the Virtual Boy wasn't a console. It was a portable, and marketed as such. I mean, it wouldn't even fit in most backpacks, and ran about 2 hours off of 6 AA batteries, and playing it in the car would cause your inner ear to explode through your retina, but other than it was portable by definition.

        [Note: I am sad to say I was a huge Virtual Boy fan. I pre-ordered it, and even after forking over the cash and getting one the day of it's release, only to be the only one in line, I still told myself it was the coolest thing in the world. When nobody else at school had one and claimed it was giving children in Japan brain damage, I still said it was the coolest thing in the world. And when I found a fully-functioning in-store demo kiosk sitting on the side of the road waiting for the garbage truck, I threw it in the back of my truck, took it home and continued to call it the coolest thing in the world. I still live in denial that it was an overpriced, headache inducing pile of crap.]

        • Now, wait: How is a handheld not a console?

          It's just a handheld console, but I wouldn't say a GB or DS or VB aren't consoles.

          • Hmm, you got me thinkin now, because technically your right. But I seem to have grown up under the impression that a console required a TV, and portables were fully self contained. As in "console" refering to the TV cabinet/entertainment center. But "console" also has the definition of any computer with a display and an interface. So I'm not to sure now...

            Is an iPod a console? Why not?

            • Well, let's not go the iPod route. How about: is the PSone, with the Sony LCD, a portable? Or is it a console?

              My guess is that console is short for "console system." I went to the dictionary and it says (in terms of TVs): "a cabinet (as for a radio or television set) designed to rest directly on the floor." There were stereo consoles at one time (huge damn things).

              My guess is that the word is derived from "console system" because you could put it in your TV console...

              Anyone have another take?

    • Re:With Nintendo... (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "When it comes to Nintendo, you have to wonder- is this shortage on purpose?"

      Nintendo predicted 4-5 million DS systems could be produced and shipped world wide by the end of 2004. That was 5 months ago. Recent guidance says they are on target to nearly meet the upper boundry of that estimate. Remeber the DS ships in North America first then Japan later. This is simply production capacity meeting exceedingly high demand.
      • Though I wouldn't put it past Nintendo, creating artificial shortage to drive up prices is illegal, so it's likely not that.

        But then again, knowing Nintendo's history...

        • The thing is they are not driving the prices up.
          The price will remain the same.

          They would be creating artificial shortage for the marketing buzz, which is worth much more.

    • It's somewhat difficult to say if it's a real or artificial shortage this time. Considering it's capabilities and price, and the fact it has 2 LCDs when LCD demand is so high..

      But.. knowing Nintendo.. They don't particularly deserve the benefit of the doubt on this issue :)
    • Nintendo did things like this in the old NES days (chip shortage my ass), but there are reasons to believe they're not doing it now.

      One of the biggest I can describe in three words: Pee. Ess. Pee.

      Still, it's heartening news for Nintendo that the DS is proving so popular, even before release. Anyone want to place bets that Sony will anounce something similar in the near future?
  • by mattkime (8466) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @03:06PM (#10726765)
    Can someone explain to me what Feel the Magic XX/XY is like?

    I have my own ideas about feeling the magic with an xx but i'm not sure anyone here will believe me.
    • Sounds like porn to me. XX/XY look like the two most familiar pairs of chromosomes and "Feel the Magic" has all sorts of porn implications.
    • by SiW (10570) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @03:15PM (#10726851) Homepage
      One day, a rather ordinary guy sees a really beautiful woman on the street. Before he can move to follow her, he finds himself holding a bag of goldfish. Apparently, the goldfish are ingested by a passerby who bumps into our ordinary guy. After helping him regurgitate the fish, the ordinary guy is recruited into a "superperformance group" called the Rub Rabbits. Their pitch to him is that the best way for him to see the woman of his dreams again is to stage an amazing performance for her. And thus begins your adventure.

      I'm not making this up.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Well when a XX and an XY love each other very much, they share a special hug. During this hug the XY occasionally asks the XX to feel his magic.

      ~BS
      funny shirts [thewonderllama.com]
    • It's apparently a mixture between a dating sim and Wario Ware. You play minigames to court the girl. What gave them the idea that courting involves coughing up goldfish you swallowed or stopping a stampede of bulls is still unknown.
    • It is a dating simulation game of sorts. These games have been popular in Japan for many years. It is probably pretty clean though, as this is a product for a Nintendo system. linky [ign.com]
    • Here [ign.com]'s a preview article at IGN.com. It sounds quite innovative, and it really takes advantage of the DS's features. But whether it'll be fun to play is another story...
    • I Googled for some screenshots...think Japanese dating sim (Google if you don't know what that is) meets iPod commercial.
    • http://ds.ign.com/objects/682/682868.html [ign.com]
      Feel the Magic: XY/XX
      also known as:
      Project Rub
      I Would Die For You
      Kimi no Tame Nara Shineru (JPN)

      Also known by its Japanese title Kimi no Tame Nara Shineru (I Would Die For You). You play as a rather ordinary character who one day falls in love at the first sight of a particularly hot chick. From then on, the character puts all his energy into getting the girl, only to find numerous obstacles in his way. The game was given its name to deliver the sense of h

    • I dunno, but I bought "Feel the Magic XYZZY" and feel that it was not worth the money.

      WHen you play it, Nothing happens.
  • DS Shortage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FugiMax (181273) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @03:29PM (#10726999)
    To those talking about the DS shortage as a marketing strategy, I highly doubt it. Two reasons:

    1. The system is launching Nov. 21st here and Dec. 2 in Japan. That's the closest international hardware launch Nintendo has ever done. I assume Japan will get unit priority after launch to make sure there are units on the shelf to combat Sony's PSP which launches Dec 12.

    2. Hardware was finalized only a few months ago, which means production has only recently begun. Add to this that each unit has 2 LCD screens (one being a touch screen), and you can see a possible kink in the supply chain here.

    So while shortages always generate a frenzy, and thus free marketing in a sense, I think the shortage here is genuine.

    Also, it is unclear whether or not this will hurt Nintendo. With PSP on the way sometime next year, having an install base of 4-5 million never hurts. Look at the wonders that did for PS2.
    • I agree. The DS has, compared to the PS2 and its shortages, come out of nowhere. Just a few months ago, we didn't know what it'd be called, what it'd look like, or even if it wasn't just a hoax entirely. It may be free publicity, but I don't think Nintendo would play games with a risky shortage when the PSP is going to be ten days on their heels. The PS2 beat the Xbox and the Gamecube by a wide enough margin that they could make up for the shortage rush in time to still have breathing room before the Gamecu
  • Hmm. (Score:4, Funny)

    by thdexter (239625) <dexterNO@SPAMsuffusions.net> on Thursday November 04, 2004 @04:00PM (#10727346) Journal
    I wonder if this might prove advantageous for Sony; if the DS sells out (supply can't meet demand), then maybe consumers will settle for the PSP in lieu of a DS.
    • Considering the PSP is supposed to be available later and at a higher price, I think consumers wouldn't want to "settle" for it.

      That'd be like going to buy an eMachines system and "settling" for an iMac.
      • Sure, but the PSP is only 33% more (compared to, yknow, 3x as much for your example). For gamers that want a DS but also are interested in the PSP, if they can't find a DS anywhere maybe they'll pick up a PSP instead and perhaps not get a DS for a while if at all.

        Probably won't be enough to be anything but a negligible benefit for the PSP, but I should think it'll happen.
  • This thing has the processing capability of a modern GPU with more memory on a card than a modern PDA.

    It sells for $150, but comes with stuff you'd find on a $500 PDA - i.e. a touchscreen, wireless, microphone, and unlike most, it actually has TWO screens. Considering the format, I also see no reason why it couldn't be used to watch DIVX encoded movies - at that size you could easily compress a full DVD to DIVX with no loss in quality.

    They could sell an add-on "workboy" cartridge for $200 and it'd still
    • Remember that GBAs can play video, and they're much less powerful (and that the DS can run GBA software).

      Processing power is most useful for 3D games. The GBA's underpowered (by today's standards) processor has sufficed to make it the most popular system in the world -- and people have even figured out how to make 3D games (of a sort) for it. Even so, 2D games seem to be what Nintendo will continue to focus on, and that just may work out for them.

      Of course, Metroid Prime Hunters still looks amazing.
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @04:32PM (#10727680) Homepage Journal
    I like new hardware as much as the next guy, but I still don't see what the killer app of the second screen is/will be! Project Rub sounds interesting in a salacious sort of way, but no way is that title coming to the U.S.! In the short run, it seems that the DS will be a more expensive way to run your SP games. Right now I'd say that the wireless connectivity offers more compelling gameplay possibilities than the second display.

    The only other issue I'll raise is the potential awkwardness of games that use a stylus. How are you supposed to operate the D pad while scribbling with the stylus? Maybe this is a dumb question, but I just don't see it yet. You can put it down on a table top, but it really looks like it was designed to be held with both hands.
    • by redink1 (519766)
      In regards to the awkwardness of the stylus...

      In one of the demonstrations that Nintendo gave to the press a month or so ago, they demoed a 'stylus' attachment for your thumb. Essentially you could move your left thumb (or right thumb, I think the DS has ambidextrous support) over the touch screen and use it like an analog stick. The game software seemed to have a bug in it, so it wasn't demonstrated... but it seemed like a really cool. Hopefully not too uncomfortable.

      Here is a link to the movie I m [gamespot.com]

    • There's no killer app per say, but there is a hellva killer spec... 802.11b

    • From reports on the Metroid game, it offers control similar in nature to a mouse for FPS games (or at least Metroid) - possibly making control more natural than the consoles in that genre!

      I can also think of cool things such as Star-Trek style cnsoles that you adjust as you play a game.

    • I don't see much of a killer app either, but I don't think one is really needed. The second screen can nicly be used for regular games, map, status values, inventories and similar things can be drawn to it and thus save some space on the other screen for gameplay. If the touchscreen is useable enough with just the fingers it might also provide a nice additional number of buttons, no need to pause the gameplay, just punch something in the inventory screen. Last not least the touchscreen provides a mouse-like
    • One word: RPGs

      Any game thats heavily loaded with menus will be dreamy to interface with using a touch screen.

      Context sensitive menus and controls.

      I could go on and on. I personally think Touch Screen capability is one of those things EVERY system would have if the game developer had control over your display hardware.

      Plus, think of all the games with 'design your own logo/grafik' for customized characters, models, etc. With touch screen, that kind of feature actually becomes useful!

      I think you'll find
  • I really do want to get a DS, but I've chosen not to because I don't see any release titles that really interest me. Maybe this is because I don't really have anywhere else to play it besides at home?

    This really makes me question the viability the PSP will have with the older crowd being their target market. If I'm not home, I'm probably too busy to be playing games. So it has to compete with my PC and consoles.

    I'd have to say the DS has a good future ahead of it overall in competition with the PSP imo.

    • If I knew how the people at dslinux.com planned to put linux on there, I might be interested in it without a killer app. As it stands, there's not a lot that I absolutely need now. Pictochat sounds interesting, but I don't know if I can use a wifi router to talk with other people worldwide or not.

      That might be interesting, to have a pictochat room for hackers ;)
  • by sootman (158191) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @05:08PM (#10728134) Homepage Journal
    ...until it comes with that cool Calculus game, Feel the Magic DY/DX.
  • That gamesindustry.biz article was nice. But one of the ones it links to [gamesindustry.biz] is even better!

    Nintendo DS to launch with up to 10 titles, $29.99 software price point.
  • Until scouring this post, I had never heard of a thing called a "DS". Still don't know if thats an acronymn or what. And I am a huge gamer too.
    For those of you being called idiots for asking, dont feel bad. There is no reason you should have heard of this thing, especially if you don't play games.
  • Nintendo's Super Mario 64 DS, Sega's Feel The Magic XY/XX, Activision's Spider-Man 2, Ubisoft's Asphalt Urban GT and two from EA - Madden NFL 2005 and The Urbz: Sims in the City.

    What?! No Tetris?!? Man, I bought the Gameboy Color exclusively so I could play that game.
  • by John3 (85454)
    Wal*Mart is still taking pre-orders [walmart.com].
  • by defile (1059)

    I was at a client's office last night when the owner told me he had just pre-ordered one. He said "do it soon! they're selling like mad!" so I placed a pre-order as soon as I got home.

    One day later I read this.

    Right place right time? Hooray!

  • by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @09:33PM (#10730730)
    I have a feeling that the PSP is going to go the way of the Sega Game Gear. The Game Gear had the flashy colour graphics, was more expensive, had less games, and poor battery life. I mean, so far the PSP is fitting the mould. It will be too expensive, and even if you do buy it you'll be scared to take it anywhere... that screen is wide open for scratching. Even if you DO take it somewhere, the battery life will just give up on you unless you strap on a battery pack. Nintendo got it right with the original game-boy. It was cheaper, had more games, and had exccellent battery life, worthy of being called portable.

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