Nintendo is looking at a new larger, Nintendo DSi concept that is also a touch screen reader similar to the popular Kindle product which was launched in Australia last month Amazon.
They are also looking at a new Internet download model similar to the new PSP Go that will see all games sold online. The move to a new portable concept comes as the Company admits that the highly popular DSi is reaching the end of its life cycle.
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At present, the DS is able to download contents via a Wi Fi connection, but most games are sold on cartridges that are expensive to produce and distribute, an issue that Sony has had to face up to as the Company bleeds losses from the sale of Playstation consoles and PSP handheld gaming devices.
The Japanese gaming Company, which saw sales of their Nintendo Wii slump recently, said that the Apple iPhone, as a gaming device is flawed because of the high cost of ownership.
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said of the Kindle concept. “I’m interested because it’s a new business model in which the user doesn’t bear the communications cost,” Satoru Iwata said.
The Kindle’s one-off cost would better suit Nintendo’s customer base, he said. “In reality, if we did this it would increase the cost of the hardware, and customers would complain about Nintendo putting prices up, but it is one option for the future”. Iwata said.
He added “Only people who can pay thousands of yen a month [in mobile phone subscriptions] can be iPhone customers. That doesn’t fit Nintendo customers because we make amusement products”.
Mr Iwata’s recent comments highlight a tactic Nintendo could use to counter the strategic threat to its DS handheld console from the iPhone and other smartphones that download games from “App Stores”.
Last week Nintendo reported a 52% slump in Wii gaming console sales, while in Australia Nintendo is refusing to pass on global price cuts for the Wii as it battles the new Sony Slim PS3.
The new PS Go which was launched in Australia last month is already a dud with less than 1000 selling in the first week. And while sales of the device have been sluggish, retailers are reluctant to push the console as they would not gain additional income from software sales.
Mr Iwata was cautious about how quickly the industry in general will move to digital downloads. He said: “I think it will take quite a long time.”
Speaking at a briefing for analysts after Nintendo slashed its profit forecasts because of a lack of hit software to sell its Wii console, Mr Iwata drew attention to the unpredictable nature of the games business.
“Who thought Pokemon would sell around the world, or that Brain Training would take off, or that Wii Fit would become an explosive hit?” he said.