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Nintendo admits 'dark' future if it can't differentiate from iPhone

post #1 of 130
Thread Starter 
As the iPhone has proven itself to be a formidable competitor in the handheld gaming business, the president of Nintendo has said his company must differentiate itself to survive.

As Apple portrays the iPod touch and iPhone as the ultimate portable gaming machine, Nintendo, maker of the Nintendo DS, has seen its profits freefall last quarter, from 133 billion yen a year prior to 64 billion yen. Highlighting the newfound competition between Apple and Nintendo, The Wall Street Journal noted that Nintendo has fended off several potential portable challengers, but it hasn't quite faced a competitor like the iPhone.

Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, is reportedly an Apple fan who uses an iPhone and Mac laptop. He also denied that there is a rivalry between his company and Apple, noting that attempts to create one makes him "uncomfortable." But Iwata also allegedly sees the iPhone as enough of a threat that Nintendo must work to stand out from it and devices like it.

"If we can't make clear why customers pay a lot of money to play games on Nintendo hardware and Nintendo software and differentiate ourselves from games on the mobile phone or iPhone, then our future is dark," he said.

The Journal cited research firm DFC Intelligence as stating that growth for dedicated portable gaming machines like the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP has reached an apex. That firm believes that Apple products will be the driver of portable game sales in the next five years, rising from $46 million in 2008 to more than $2.8 billion in 2014.

To combat declining interest in its Nintendo DS platform, the company will launch a new form factor for the hardware in Japan in this month, and next year in the U.S. The Nintendo DSi LL will feature 93 percent larger 4.2-inch dual screens and will carry a $222 price tag in Japan.

For two years now, Apple has pitched its iPod touch as a portable gaming machine, dubbing it "The funnest iPod ever" at its September events. The latest upgrade to the hardware includes the ability to run Open GL ES 2.0, with up to 50 percent faster performance.

Iwata and Nintendo said they believe the iPhone attracts a different kind of game playing market, as dedicated hardware like the DS offers unique titles unavailable anywhere else. Among those are Nintendo-exclusive franchises like Mario and Zelda.

But one advantage Apple does have over Nintendo and Sony is the price and availability of software. The company boasted at its media event in September that, at that moment, the iPhone OS had 21,179 game and entertainment titles available via its App Store, compared to 3,680 for the Nintendo DS and 607 for the Sony PSP. Many of those are budget-priced, with major franchises like Madden football selling for under $10. Comparatively, most games for the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP cost between $25 and $40.

This year, large publishers with key properties have brought titles like Tetris, The Sims 3 and Metal Gear Solid Touch to the iPhone and iPod touch. They have helped to bring the total number of applications on Apple's App Store to over 100,000.
post #2 of 130
Told yas.

But did Iwata actually even remotely hint at it this time?

Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, is reportedly an Apple fan who uses an iPhone and Mac laptop. He also denied that there is a rivalry between his company and Apple, noting that attempts to create one makes him "uncomfortable." But Iwata also allegedly sees the iPhone as enough of a threat that Nintendo must work to stand out from it and devices like it.

"If we can't make clear why customers pay a lot of money to play games on Nintendo hardware and Nintendo software and differentiate ourselves from games on the mobile phone or iPhone, then our future is dark," he said.


Source?
post #3 of 130
Like when Apple announced they were entering the phone game, skeptics smudged their noses at them and laughed. People even laughed at the concept of an iPod playing games and competing with the likes of the PsP&DS. But guess what, time and again, Apple is showing these stagnated companies their business model needs to evolve into the 21st century and get out of the rut they've been in the past decade or so.
post #4 of 130
Imagine Apple didn't even plan for their device to compete in the portable arena. Nice problem to have.
80 million iPhones by 2012. That's only 15% of the market.

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80 million iPhones by 2012. That's only 15% of the market.

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post #5 of 130
Nintendo has been in this position before. They are one of the wealthiest companies in Japan and have been out of favour with customers before. I have no doubt at this time they will find away to come back stronger than ever. Like Apple, they often redefine the market.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Source?

Originally, I have to assume the source was Mr. Iwata. I copied and pasted the quoted text into Google and came up with a WSJ articel form November 7th.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...534809890.html

PS: The App Store has only been out for a year and half, and first iPod Touch to advertise being the ‘funnest iPod ever” was at the iPod Special Event in 2008. Wasn’t that less than 14 months ago, not years?
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post #6 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


Originally, I have to assume the source was Mr. Iwata. I copied and pasted the quoted text into Google and came up with a WSJ articel form November 7th.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...534809890.html

Fair enough. It's time to take the iPhone seriously in this sphere. It's no joke. Not only does the iPhone (and iPod) do games very well, it also does so many other things very well.

Iwata is also worried about the wohle "device convergence" issue. And rightly so.
post #7 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Nintendo has been in this position before. They are one of the wealthiest companies in Japan and have been out of favour with customers. I have no doubt at this time they will find away to come back stronger than ever. Like Apple, they often redefine the market.

I have to agree. Apple needs to be mindful of the competition, but they have been through this before and always seem to come out stronger on the other end. Everybody thought they were dead in the water when the Playstation and Playstation 2 (and to a lesser extent, the original Xbox) were the market leaders, and declared them nearly out of business when Sony released the PSP. In comes the Wii and DS, which redefine their respective markets, and they are back on top. Also, don't forget SEGA coming in in the 90's and almost running them out of town only for the Super Nintendo to come out and mop the floor with the competition. Nintendo knows what they're doing, but they are a company that needs competition in order to innovate. They are getting it from more directions now than ever, and that will only help all of us.
post #8 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Iwata is also worried about the wohle "device convergence" issue. And rightly so.

Nintendo really should have made their DS a proper PMP a long time ago.
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post #9 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

I have to agree. Apple needs to be mindful of the competition, but they have been through this before and always seem to come out stronger on the other end. Everybody thought they were dead in the water when the Playstation and Playstation 2 (and to a lesser extent, the original Xbox) were the market leaders, and declared them nearly out of business when Sony released the PSP. In comes the Wii and DS, which redefine their respective markets, and they are back on top. Also, don't forget SEGA coming in in the 90's and almost running them out of town only for the Super Nintendo to come out and mop the floor with the competition. Nintendo knows what they're doing, but they are a company that needs competition in order to innovate. They are getting it from more directions now than ever, and that will only help all of us.

Agree totally with your comments, actually if Apple decide to really pitch for the gaming sector and not a nice add-on via iPhone, but use iTablet, then Nintendo will cause them to raise their game and I can tell you it will be come very interesting.

I enjoy healthy competition has I said many times, GREAT for the consumer!
post #10 of 130
I can't see how Nintendo can compete... getting out the hardware business to write software for the iPhone is probably their best bet.

WII2 would have legs for one more round though, but handheld, no way. Unless they bring out their own phone and app store and change the model considerably.

Reality is, Nintendo caught Sony and MSFT sleeping (how asleep they were astounds me), and got lucky last time. Whereas at Apple they never sleep, they take amphetamines all night long.

(allegedly )
post #11 of 130
Quote:
Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, is reportedly an Apple fan who uses an iPhone and Mac laptop. He also denied that there is a rivalry between his company and Apple, noting that attempts to create one makes him "uncomfortable." But Iwata also allegedly sees the iPhone as enough of a threat that Nintendo must work to stand out from it and devices like it.

It's refreshing to read that an executive at a competing company can make statements like this without a lot of bluster or histrionics. Too often the business world is framed in epic battles with no room for reflective thought. Compare and contrast with the CEO of Creative, or just about anything that Steve Ballmer says or does.
post #12 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Fair enough. It's time to take the iPhone seriously in this sphere. It's no joke. Not only does the iPhone (and iPod) do games very well, it also does so many other things very well.

Iwata is also worried about the wohle "device convergence" issue. And rightly so.

It is amazing how many devices an iPod touch or iPhone can replace.
Phone
iPod
point and shoot camera
flip video camera
DS or PSP
GPS
digital voice recorder
alarm clock
satellite radio
flashlight

Apple is doing the same thing to the whole consumer electronics industry.
post #13 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by souliisoul View Post

…actually if Apple decide to really pitch for the gaming sector and not a nice add-on via iPhone...

I’d like to see a proper API for gaming. Something where gaming controls can be done virtually or through any number of 3rd-party gaming attachments for D-pads. This way, a game can be sold on the App Store without the user being required to use an attachment but one can be added and the game can choose the physical input method for proper handheld gaming without the developer having to specifically code for its use through the 30-pin connector. I have no idea if that is feasible but I want it.
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post #14 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Id like to see a proper API for gaming.

I'l second that! My bets it's on it's way, right about the time they release the iPad
post #15 of 130
Perhaps if they didn't make crap consoles and handhelds with such terrible screen resolutions.
post #16 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"If we can't make clear why customers pay a lot of money to play games on Nintendo hardware and Nintendo software and differentiate ourselves from games on the mobile phone or iPhone, then our future is dark," he said.

I've always appreciated how honest and candid Satoru Iwata is. It's almost as if he doesn't know he's talking on the record.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Iwata and Nintendo said they believe the iPhone attracts a different kind of game playing market, as dedicated hardware like the DS offers unique titles unavailable anywhere else. Among those are Nintendo-exclusive franchises like Mario and Zelda.

Ironically, this is at least part of the problem affecting Wii software sales: many large third party studios are afraid to develop for the platform because they fear the users simply won't buy their games because they'll just buy Nintendo-developed franchises (Mario, Zelda, Wii Fit, etc).

While this might sound like a nice problem to have for Nintendo, when they can't put out big games on a consistent basis their hardware sales suffer. Of course, many of the big developers not backing the Wii are also turned off by its subpar graphics and processing power.

It's not exactly the same situation on DS but then, that platform is getting rather long in the tooth.
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post #17 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Reality is, Nintendo caught Sony and MSFT sleeping (how asleep they were astounds me), and got lucky last time. Whereas at Apple they never sleep, they take amphetamines all night long.

(allegedly )

LOL! Yes I think Ive heard that too.
post #18 of 130
Time for Apple to buy Nintendo.
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post #19 of 130
Quote:
For years now, Apple has pitched its iPod touch as a portable gaming machine, dubbing it "The funnest iPod ever."

Hey AI - let's try this past September when the Touch failed to get its rumoured camera and Steve Jobs first made the "primarily a gaming device " statement. Enough with the history rewrites.
Fun doesn't only apply to games but music and videos as well.
post #20 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Hey AI - let's try this past September when the Touch failed to get its rumoured camera and Steve Jobs first made the "primarily a gaming device " statement. Enough with the history rewrites.
Fun doesn't only apply to games but music and videos as well.

... and your favorite horse to whip: BlueRay. I knew I'd find ya here... sorry for busting the topic thread... so have ya checked out this article over at Ars?

Blu-ray discs get Managed Copy; hardware support nonexistent
After four years in the oven, "managed copy" is doneand boy, is it a stinker.
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post #21 of 130
.. . . ..

Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

i don't see anywhere in the article where iwata says he is "scared" i do see this however.

unless the source is bogus, you missed this:

---------
satoru iwata, president of nintendo, is reportedly an apple fan who uses an iphone and mac laptop. He also denied that there is a rivalry between his company and apple, noting that attempts to create one makes him "uncomfortable." but iwata also allegedly sees the iphone as enough of a threat that nintendo must work to stand out from it and devices like it.

"if we can't make clear why customers pay a lot of money to play games on nintendo hardware and nintendo software and differentiate ourselves from games on the mobile phone or iphone, then our future is dark," he said.

"mr. Iwata says the company's hand-helds offer an experience that mobile phones—no matter how smart the phone—can't match."
----------

so he says that if nintendo doesn't do something about the iphone soon, their future is dark, and then he goes on to extol his product. His first statement is truth, the next is just spin, obviously.

nitendo has been on the ropes before and has always come out ahead.

except that apple is in nintendo's handheld space now. Entirely different ballgame.

nintendo is also great at doing this.

what? Reacting to the competition instead of setting the bar?

"my job is to find the potential in something that others can not see, to secretly pour our resources into them and turn them into hits before anyone else catches on,"

then they'll need something entirely new and different. Not another variant of the same thing.

that last quote almost sounds like something steve jobs would say, funny part is when sj says it he is being innovative yet when someone else says it they are scared.

because we know apple will deliver and we see apple delivering on these bold statements. When jobs dismisses the competition and make promises, we actually have something in our hands that illustrates his words.

here's what tim cook said during january's conference call:

“we believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and thats not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we dont settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when were wrong and the courage to change. And i think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that apple will do extremely well.”


and they have the products to show for it. Easily. Consistently.

So when i hear the rest of the industry talking and making flowery promises, i'll believe it when i see it. With apple, i know it's just a matter of time.

Apple is sitting on around $33-billion in cash, has no debt, and are very conservative with their money. In an economic climate so bad most of us don’t remember worse, apple’s products sell in record numbers. Recession-proof.


post #22 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

I don't see anywhere in the article where Iwata says he is "scared"

try this:
Quote:
"If we can't make clear why customers pay a lot of money to play games on Nintendo hardware and Nintendo software and differentiate ourselves from games on the mobile phone or iPhone, then our future is dark," he said.

if you don't think a "dark future" is something to worry about, I certainly wouldn't want you making decisions about a company I cared about...
I have no doubt but that he has a plan to avoid this possible future, but to pretend that it isn't a concern of his is plain stupid.

Quote:
That last quote almost sounds like something Steve Jobs would say, funny part is when SJ says it he is being innovative yet when someone else says it they are scared.

Developing inovative products in secret is just plain smart. No one is implying that this is a marker of fear. All tech companies do it (and of course Apple excells). A particularly weak form of argument is to invent logically unsound points and try to attribute them to your opponent to make them look bad.
Now, why you see Apple and by extention (apparently) AI, as your opponent, I have no idea. But that is your problem. But why you spend as much time here as anyone, well, that is just sort of sad.
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post #23 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

I can't see how Nintendo can compete... getting out the hardware business to write software for the iPhone is probably their best bet.

WII2 would have legs for one more round though, but handheld, no way. Unless they bring out their own phone and app store and change the model considerably.

The Nintendo DS is the fastest selling gaming system of all time. Their handheld business is not going away anytime soon. Iwata said their future is dark if they cannot differentiate themselves from the iPhone. That means that they will find a way to do that.

Also, don't underestimate the value of a d-pad and real buttons. For many types of games, these things are very important. Far more so than a higher screen resolution.
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post #24 of 130
Ha Ha! Even Iwata, Nintendo's president, is an Apple fanboy.

Oh and the source is the Wall Street Freaking Journal! Don't you ever check the provided links?
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post #25 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post

Time for Apple to buy Nintendo.

It seems only natural.
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post #26 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue27 View Post

The Nintendo DS is the fastest selling gaming system of all time. Their handheld business is not going away anytime soon..

I know of a few companies that fatefully thought similar.

The problem for nintendo is that phones are now multipurpose devices, why buy a handheld if your phone already does 90% of what it does, plus a multitude of other tasks it's doesnt do..?

Slight point with the dpad, but nobody seems to care that much i feel, and there are penty of other ways to input control data accelerometer, gps , augmented reality etc.

A new breed of games is on the horizon, a dpad is a bit yesterday IMO.

See the 2d/3d map game here... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agywuau0RHQ
post #27 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

It's refreshing to read that an executive at a competing company can make statements like this without a lot of bluster or histrionics. Too often the business world is framed in epic battles with no room for reflective thought. Compare and contrast with the CEO of Creative, or just about anything that Steve Ballmer says or does.

Well said...I found this refreshing, too! I get so tired of the usual 'corporate speak' where everyone sounds like they are trying to be an 'Attorney' talking with out really saying anything!
post #28 of 130
What's the point of the larger DS? The pixels on those large screens will be huge, as it doesn't look like they're improving the resolution (it still runs the same software).

The DS has an advantage in that it has buttons for direction and actions, which translate well to some games. It also has the big franchises, and the games will be of reasonable quality at least, and have many hours of gameplay.

However only one screen is touchable, and it's not multitouch. There is no accelerometer so tilting games and tilt-based controls are out the window. Admitted the latter is only to make up for the lack of a direction pad. Downloadable games via a simple application store? Nope. Cheap and free games? Nope.

The next portable console Nintendo do will have to improve on the hardware features, and bring in more non-gaming features. I expect an accelerometer is a dead cert. Higher resolution screens with better 3D will be as well.
post #29 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Told yas.

But did Iwata actually even remotely hint at it this time?

Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, is reportedly an Apple fan who uses an iPhone and Mac laptop. He also denied that there is a rivalry between his company and Apple, noting that attempts to create one makes him "uncomfortable." But Iwata also allegedly sees the iPhone as enough of a threat that Nintendo must work to stand out from it and devices like it.

"If we can't make clear why customers pay a lot of money to play games on Nintendo hardware and Nintendo software and differentiate ourselves from games on the mobile phone or iPhone, then our future is dark," he said.


Source?

Clearly he knows they are in serious trouble. His sentence says it all. IF, and thats a big IF, they can't make it clear to customer (a.k.a. advertising advertising advertising), they will be pushed aside by buying choices.

The iPod touch is the smart handheld gaming choice. Maybe not for the kids who are used to the gameplay depth of the PSP, but the DS is certainly the third choice, which is a problem. Being a third choice, in a category where most kids choose ONE, at the most, TWO, you are basically sunk.

The same goes for the Wii. In fact, the Wii may be far worse off. Far, far worse.
post #30 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

It is amazing how many devices an iPod touch or iPhone can replace.
Phone
iPod
point and shoot camera
flip video camera
DS or PSP
GPS
digital voice recorder
alarm clock
satellite radio
flashlight

Apple is doing the same thing to the whole consumer electronics industry.

Yeah Johnny, good list and don't forget the PDA and Walkman. Although both were 'dying" before the iPod Touch. And if you take it a little further, the iPhone itself replaces all the above.... including the iPod Touch....and the best selling iPod ever the Nano!!! It is truly remarkable what Apple has been able to achieve!
post #31 of 130
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars began a Nintendo DS exclusive then was ported to PSP and a version for iPhone/iPod touch has been announced. That's a big game franchise that has never been on an Apple platform before, and the iPhone/iPod touch hardware is significantly more powerful than the DS and even the PSP. Rockstar Games significantly upgraded the graphics and interface when they ported from DS to PSP, so the iPhone/iPod touch version should be expected to show what the hardware can do. Other handheld makers should be worried, particularly since the advantage of an all-purpose device is that the person is always carrying it.
post #32 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Yeah Johnny, good list and don't forget the PDA and Walkman. Although both were 'dying" before the iPod Touch. And if you take it a little further, the iPhone replaces all the above including the iPod Touch!

In addition, mine also replaced the little sticky notes that I would write my shopping list on. (...and then leave at the house sitting on the counter)
post #33 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

It seems only natural.

Right- that would really help the iPhone make business enterprise inroads.
post #34 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Yeah Johnny, good list and don't forget the PDA and Walkman. Although both were 'dying" before the iPod Touch. And if you take it a little further, the iPhone replaces all the above including the iPod Touch!

I wouldn't say replace, I would say that it could do all of these things though but would you really replace your point and shoot camera with one of these? I know many people use them but its not really a replacement, at least not yet. Not to mention that an iPod and walkman are really the same thing when considering its replacing something and I'm not sure that I'd really use this for recording serious video either. Also, most mobiles phones can do these, perhaps not as well though.
post #35 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

It is amazing how many devices an iPod touch or iPhone can replace.
Phone
iPod
point and shoot camera
flip video camera
DS or PSP
GPS
digital voice recorder
alarm clock
satellite radio
flashlight

You forgot spastic colon.

Seriously, my favorite new device is as a product scanner. RedLaser app. Fantastic and accurate.
post #36 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

In addition, mine also replaced the little sticky notes that I would write my shopping list on. (...and then leave at the house sitting on the counter)

Funniest post today!

Done it many times! Write a list so as not to forget anything only to forget the damn list!
post #37 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue27 View Post

The Nintendo DS is the fastest selling gaming system of all time. Their handheld business is not going away anytime soon. Iwata said their future is dark if they cannot differentiate themselves from the iPhone. That means that they will find a way to do that.

Also, don't underestimate the value of a d-pad and real buttons. For many types of games, these things are very important. Far more so than a higher screen resolution.

Fastest selling doesn't get you anywhere without other pieces fitting into place.

Nintendo has sold 115 million DS in over 3 full years worldwide.

Apple has sold over 60 million iPhone and iPod touch, in just over 2 years.

The key differences, going forward, being:

1. The DS does one thing. You can argue you this, but the DS does one thing. Play $34 games, some of which, are lower quality than a $0.99 iPhone games.

2. The iPhone/iPod touch initial investment is much higher. This would be a downside, if people weren't speaking with their wallets. The sales numbers, compared with the difference in initial sales revenue, is staggering. Most analysts would say, from these data alone, that the iPhone OS is currently more successful.
post #38 of 130
....Compass and folded paper maps in your glove compartment....
post #39 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

It is amazing how many devices an iPod touch or iPhone can replace.
Phone
iPod
point and shoot camera
flip video camera
DS or PSP
GPS
digital voice recorder
alarm clock
satellite radio
flashlight

The amazing part is that "flashlight" is the only exaggeration on there.
post #40 of 130
Increasingly Nintendo will be bumping up against the question "Do I buy a DS which can play games or an iPhone/iPod Touch which can play (much cheaper!) games and a do lot of other things?" I'd say most of the time the DS loses out. My son ditched his DS when he got the iPod Touch. Yeah it's anecdotal but I would venture that's been happening in lots of households.

If Nintendo persists down the path of dedicated handheld game players they will be limited to a much smaller market of hard core gamers. On the other hand I doubt that they have the know how to build an iPod Touch competitor.

Somebody suggested they should just write game software for iPhone. Agree. But they could probably keep a niche handheld hardware division going to cater to the hard-core no-compromise handheld gamers.
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