Friday, October 3, 2008

Nintendo’s challenge lies down the road

In Nintendo’s classic video game, Super Mario Bros, timing is everything. And with the launch of its new DSi handheld console on Thursday, Nintendo showed that its own timing was spot-on.

It was an especially tricky jump. While sales of the existing DS have slowed down in Japan, it is still flying off the shelves in Europe and the US. Do nothing and Nintendo risked allowing the rival PlayStation Portable to gain momentum at home; launch an all-new console and those profitable overseas sales would vanish as consumers waited for the new machine.

Instead, Nintendo launched the DSi, still basically the same machine, but prettier and with a built-in camera and music player. Few existing owners will upgrade, but it gives Nintendo something new to offer to both the hardcore fans and the holdouts who do not yet own a DS.

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