Nintendo has announced that its DS handheld game system has already sold 5 million units in Japan in less than 13 months, following its launch in early December 2004, according to a Reuters report.
This makes the DS the fastest-selling game console ever to that milestone in Japan, with the Game Boy Advance taking 14 months and the PlayStation 2 taking 17 months to get to 5 million, according to Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, who also told a news conference: "To achieve this rapid growth, we were required not only to go after frequent game players, but to reel back people who had left games and to make video games enjoyable for those who had not played games at all."
The latest Japanese sales charts
show the success of Nintendo's broadening of the market for the Japanese, with 408,770 DS units sold in the latest surveyed week. In addition, there were six Nintendo DS software titles in the Top 10 all-formats software chart, including the latest Animal Crossing
and Mario Kart
iterations and the evergreen Brain Training
In comparison, Sony's PSP sold just 95,689 units in the same week, with no software titles in the Top 10, showing that the plans outlined in Iwata's Tokyo Game Show keynote
on how to attract new gamers is working spectacularly well in Japan.
Though some broadening of the market may have occurred in the U.S. with Nintendogs
' launch, it's not yet clear whether the DS is pushing toward a similarly mainstream success, with a closer battle with the PSP in effect in North American and Europe. However, the Brain Training
games, scheduled for release in the West in 2006, should help divine whether Nintendo's mainstreaming strategies also hold some sway outside Japan.