Prior to Nintendo's announcement of the new DSi handheld, analysts frequently suggested that the company would only revamp the successful DS once it had reached market saturation and begun declining.
The DSi launched in Japan in November and has already sold over 1 million units in the region.
But speaking to the Daily Yoimuri
, Iwata suggests the DSi's new functionality might create demand for more hardware units within the same household -- and refutes the suggestion that the DS might have reached its peak install base.
"Some say the market for the DS is saturated, but I disagree," Iwata says. "In Japan, a country with a population of 127 million, we've sold 23 million DS units."
"The United States is inhabited by over 300 million people, and there are more than 490 million people in the European Union. Sales of the product could grow further in foreign countries considering their populations."
Nintendo has been somewhat slow to penetrate certain markets in Europe, but that's begun to shift rapidly in recent months, and Iwata sees room for growth there. "In Germany, bookstores have opened Nintendo sections and Wii software has sold well," he says. "I'd also like to focus on emerging markets such as Russia and India."
Although he's optimistic about room for userbase expansion, Iwata says he's also prepared to take on a challenging economy, and is interested to see how Nintendo employees acclimated to more fruitful times learn from the experience.
"Nintendo workers who know only the good times of the company are increasing." he told the Yoimuri Daily. "I hope to give them a sense of the potential critical nature [of the economic situation]."