News Article

Nintendo DS Sales Figures Make Wii's Look Tiny

Posted by James Newton

More big numbers

The Nintendo Annual Report Wii sales figures were impressive, weren't they? 86m Wii consoles sold with over 716m games sold as well. The DS sales figures dwarf those big numbers, though.

Worldwide, the DS family of consoles — that's DS, DS Lite, DSi and DSi XL/LL of course — has shifted a massive 146.42m units. An estimated 93.42m of those are the DS Lite model; in fact, between April and June Nintendo sold twice as many DS Lite consoles as 3DS machines in North America. Makes you think.

What about those little cartridges that fit into the machine, though? Nintendo estimated 839.48m units of software have been sold alongside the consoles, another colossal number, with New Super Mario Bros. the top-selling game with an enormous 26.88m copies shifted all around the world, just ahead of Nintendogs's 23.64m sales and Mario Kart DS's 21.04m units.

Interestingly, while six Wii titles have sold over 20m units, only three DS games have reached the same milestone, despite the much greater number of DS consoles sold. The ratio of software-to-hardware is also much lower than Wii: while Wii owners bought an average of around 8.3 games each, DS players bought 5.7 titles to entertain them. Is this due to the huge prevalence of piracy devices that plagued the DS? Let us know your thoughts below.


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User Comments (52)



Tony3DS said:

I just counted my stack of DS games and it’s 33…not trying to brag but I love my DS Lite. I can’t imagine only having 5 games for it. I’d like to take this opportunity to mention some of my not well known favorites: Populous DS, Retro Game Challenge, Age of Empires: Mythologies (and yes I like it better than the PC version).

@TheAmazingRacoon: My previous comment was incorrect as well. I found another stack of DS game cases plus a few I lost cases for so I have 48 DS games and only two 3DS (so no palindrome for me  maybe I’ll just have to buy more to make it so again ). My Wii count was at 37 and it seems fitting since I’ve had the DS (fat) from day one and it was a year and a half after launch before I got a Wii. It seems we’ve been way upstaged by someone with 100+ in both cases (SKTTR, you might consider professional help)

”Bet they are not the same ones”….I’d like to compare titles would it be nice if we had 70% of the same ones? Maybe we should start a forum topic for that.



TheAmazingRaccoon said:

that's weird, I have more ds games than wii games (retail that is). must not be the mean (as in an average) nintendo gamer

EDIT: @Tony64 I have 33 DS games as well. Bet they are not the same ones though
EDIT2: turns out my initial statement was incorrect; I have 55 Wii games. (what is with the palindrome numbers for games?)



Tasuki said:

Its no surprise that they sold more DSlites than 3DSs between those months. Everywhere I looked like Target and Bestbuy they slashed the prices of their DSlites big time. Yesturday when I was at Target I saw that DSlites were going for $90.

I must be odd though I have more Wii games than DS in fact I only have 5 DS games total. Dawn of Sorrow, Pokemon Black and White, Phoenix Wright, and Nintendogs.



Malouff said:

I don't see it strange to have less ds then wii titles.

If people are like myself then they are home more than on the road.
They also probably like playing together on a much bigger screen.

I also don't wan't to be carrying around a bunch of games during a trip.
Therefore I have more DSiWare then carts. My favorite is Fieldrunners.



Blaze said:

I have 34 DS Games, I suppose if your not a gamer you's only be buying say, Mario Kart, New Super Mario Bros, Nintendogs and then 2 or 3 more that you just happen to pick up. Non-gamers always seem to have those 3 games.



Scissors said:

33 DS Games and 33 Wii games exactly.

Also has the DS surpassed the PS2 in sales yet?



J-Forest-Esq said:

It's nice to be above average for things. Meanwhile, where do all these cakes keep coming from?



Gavin_Rozee said:

I have 100 DS games, not including DSiWare. I can't remember the exact number for Wii, but it's around 80 not including VC/WiiWare.



XCWarrior said:

I own 56 Wii games and 32 DS games. I generally prefer console over a handheld. You know, screen size matters.



NiBar said:

@Scissors DS surpassed ps2 about a half year ago and has sold 4 millions more than ps2 now. According to VGChartz..



Despair1087 said:

i have 24 DS games, 33 wii games, and 5 3DS games

O.O i never realized how many games i had until i counted them just now....



DrCruse said:

This just shows how the 3DS came far too early.

According to Wikipedia, the PS2 has sold more than 150 million units as of January 31, 2011. That's more than the DS.



Gerry-Rich said:

Aren't you guys like 3 months late with this, this is the first quarter results, 2nd quarter results are out. Lifetime through June 0211,
Wii - 87.57M
DS - 147.86M
3DS - 4.32M



Gerry-Rich said:

Lifetime through December 0211,
Wii - 94.11M
DS - 153.54M
3DS - 7.34M

( this is my estimate!)



NintyMan said:

Wow, who doesn't have a DS? Since it's portable, it's not that surprising that it's sales are much bigger than the Wii's, but you would think that with the cheaper games that most people would buy more, not less.



CapedGodot said:

"the huge prevalence of piracy devices that plagued the DS" The thing is, though: pirating the DS costs money, yet pirating the Wii doesn't. You'd think it would be the other way around. Hm.



Token_Girl said:

I think a lot of people have a DS, Pokemon, and maybe NSMB or something and that's about it. Maybe that's bringing the numbers down.



edcomics said:

Those numbers can't possibly include used game sales or trades. I think that's how a lot of people buy their DS games.



SennaKurosaki said:

I have 33 DS games, 11 of which I have imported. But there are just two titles that I played more than any other game: New Super Mario Bros DS and Nintendogs. I also have a Wii, with a whole bunch of games, but for some reason I keep coming back to play with my DS, I even recently bought the DSiXL. I hope the 3DS will also come in a XL version soon!



NSBlueLighing said:

@SKTTR HOLY **** if those are all legal and bought from retail youve spent like €1500+.

I have like 14 wii games and 0 DS games, i had 3 DS games but i dont like the touch screen, i prefer the good old GB, GBA days of one tiny screen. If nintendos next handheld has dual screens im out. Why cant they make a GB with a screen like the DSiXL and have enhanced graphics with a design that will suit it? Oh wait Sony took that option....just of course no Nintendo games on that console.



Malouff said:

Here is another thing to think about.
In my home we have one Wii and three DSi's for on the go gaming.

We all don't need the same DS games and can swap with eachother unless we want to be able to play that game together (a lot of games however have a download and play option).

There are however some good DSiWare games that we can all play that are cheaper then buying everyone a retail cart game.



sinalefa said:

I never had a DS, and I bought my 3DS on March, so I currently only have two DS games: Pokemon Black and Prof Layton 1. The kind of games I have the most are Wii games, followed by PS3 and 3DS games.



Supremeist said:

That's alot of Wii sales! The DS did good as well, the top games are understandable. I had all of those top 3 games.



James said:

@Gerry-Rich The figures are life-to-date until end of March, yeah. Nintendo just reprinted them in their annual report so here they are again



iphys said:

Yeah, I definitely think piracy is a huge problem on the DS. It seems like half the people I know actually buy all their games and half use a flash cart and rarely purchase any.



motang said:

I have seen over the past few months at my local BestBuy and GameStop stores where people would pickup at DSi/DS Lite and not even give the 3DS a second look...kinda sad as the 3DS is pretty cool system. Maybe with the price drop people will give it more attention.



kkslider5552000 said:

That's what happens when 3rd party basically abandons Wii. TWICE (mid-2008 and then again at the beginning of this year).



Incredible-JMAN said:

wow, i feel left out! i only have like 8 ds games! (all the good ones though, like new mario bros, 64, kart, party, pokemon pearl/silver, trackmania,) i have about 11 GBA games, and like 9 gb/gbc games. and i have only 1 3ds game, and thats ocarina of time XD, planning on getting mario kart 7 and 3d land!



scrubbyscum999 said:

I have way more DS games than Wii games, though my Wi has a bunch of VC games. I am definitively going to buy some more DS games since prices for a lot of the games are lower. Let's see, ..., I have 14 DS games, 7 of which have pokemon in the name. I only have 5 Wii retail games, though I hope to buy more sometime. VC has been taking up most of my Wii time. I own 16 VC games, I plan on buying more, probably a lot more.



Luffymcduck said:

I have 16 DS games so that´s much better than average, lol. Most of my DS owning friends have flash carts and only few of them actually buy games.



IronMan28 said:

It's probably piracy. On another note, DS Lite likely sold more than 3DS for two major reasons 1) Consumer confusion, your average consumer assumed it was basically a "new DS" (while true in a sense, they just figured it was a DS that plays games in 3D with no improvements) and 2) price, they saw this "new DS" and said to themselves "Why would I buy the same thing with 3D graphics for $100+ more when I can get this one for $125 US?"....with this line of thinking, it's not really surprising (but then again, I don't read minds, sadly).



thaantman said:

well since i like to trade games in @ gamestop I haven't been able to have a large collection of games @ 1 time. I currently have around 16-17 retail games. and over 30 wiiware/virtual console. But if I never traded in any games I would have close to 80games including downloads. I don't have any ds games now or a working ds for that matter but if I had to guess I probably had somewhere between 20-30 games never had a dsi so no dsiware, but i do plan on getting a 3ds when the price drop



SunnySnivy said:

The DS lives on. I love my 3DS, but I have about 50 games for my DS making it my most played system. And I am still buying games! It has a wonderful assortment of games. Platformers, fighters, adventure games, RPGs, casual games, and even shooters! It has something for everyone. It's no wonder the DS has run such a long, successful life.

Go DS!



cyrus_zuo said:

I have a DS phat, 2 lites (one Zelda) and a DSiXL. That's 4.
1 Wii
30 DS games/ 4 = 7.5 DS attach rate
30 Wii games/1 = 30 Wii attach rate

I'm sure piracy has hurt DS sales, but I think the commonality of families having more than one is the biggest reason for the low attach rate.



Vinsanity said:

The software-to-hardware ratio is pathetic. Nintendo's done a terrible job of pushing the games available for their consoles. They have been ignoring ad campaigns, and haven't shown off games for the console since launch (which is why Red Steel 1 outsold the second one by an incredible margin). Meanwhile, they've been concentrating so hard on getting that disposable "blue ocean" audience that they failed to realize these people don't seem to buy many games. They also moved onto the Kinect and iOS hardware by now.

The 3DS sales are not good either. Again, Nintendo miscalculated and focused on the wrong audience. The "people who are impressed by 3D" demo is dying rapidly. The 3DS could still easily be saved, but it's going to need software. Considering how bad Nintendo's been at identifying killer, exclusive Wii games and hyping them so they sell, I imagine the 3DS is - unfortunately - doomed.



StarDust4Ever said:

I see a couple of issues with the low game/console ratios. Wii = casual market. A lot of places like nursing homes, physical therapy clinics, and such would buy like 4 Wiis/ Wii Sports, then after the "motion gaming" fad died, most of these Wiis likely ended up in storage. There's probably also a lot of grandmas out there with a Wii and at max one or two games in their closet as well.

As far as DS is concerned, kids get them as presents every year around Christmas time, families with multiple kids get multiple DSs but share the game carts between them, and many core gamers may have purchased multiple iterations: Phat, Lite, DSi, DSi XL, different colors, ect.

I believe the problem with the slump in 3DS sales is the result of sticker shock (price), fears of adverse reactions to viewing in 3D (the warnings of eye damage are absurd), and uninformed consumers believing it is just another "deluxe" model, not realizing that they're looking at the next-gen Nintendo handheld. I believe the system will fully recover before years end with the price drop, Christmas holiday, and a larger selection of titles available.

And the marketing, Research and Developement, and games divisions of Nintendo had better not drop the ball with Wii-U or else the Wii-U launch will be looking very similar to 3DS. But even if Nintendo falls back into it's underdog days like in the N64/Game Cube era, I could live with that: they'll still survive as a hardware developer either way, due to their loyal fan base and 1st-party games.

Though I would like to believe that the piracy issue is not rampant, it would be a little bit naive for me to assume so simply because I don't know anyone who pirates current gen systems. I am an adult male aged 30 years, so I don't really know a lot of people besides my best bud who also play regularly. The Gameboy Color came out when in 1998 when I was a serior in High School; my first Game Boy, yay! Had the technology existed then for cheaper-than-the-games-themselves Flash carts and microSD cards which can hold dozens of games, I know for a fact that I would have been very tempted to write out a check and stuff it in an envelope to send off for one.

Off-topic, but I just recieved my first flash cart ever in the mail, an NES RetroPak (with a 2Gb Compact Flash card included) from RetroZone. I don't believe that will put a dent in Nintendo sales, nor will it stop me from buying retro games from second-hand shops!

EDIT: Wow, long post...
Composed entirely on the 3DS browser!



MetroidMasher17 said:

That big DS lite in the picture is epic. I want one of those!

Anyway, I am happy to see that the DS and Wii sales are what they are, and disappointed to see that the 3DS isn´t selling as well. I think that 3DS is an amazing machine with woefully poor support from the Big N. With the exception of OoT 3D and a few others, most 3DS titles have been shovelware (read NL´s reviews of 3DS games). Nintendo needs more good titles, and Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land just might not make up for the hordes of bad games in the eyes of some gamers. My 3DS is getting lonely, I only have 25 Miis in my StreetPass Mii Plaza, and I got my 3DS at launch...maybe if Nintendo stepped up their game, it could find a few friends!



ChaosTheChao said:

Is the DSIXL really that big? I have 22 Wii games, 15 ds games, 3 3ds games, 23 ps2 games and 2 xbox 360 games (i just got it )



SyFyTy said:

Hey I know Piracy is everywhere but I have to believe logically that re-sale of ds games, used, does far more damage as each game is sold many times over and none of that money is seen by creators, developers, publishers or Nintendo. Each game cart (DS) is sold more than 7 times over (during its life time) on average, (average being the operative word here). That means that only 1 in 7 sales are going to profit the developers.
I have even heard specific developers make the same statement that re-sale of used games is far more profit stealing than piracy.

So yeah, Gamestop is more a problem than some kids in thier basement doing whatever... I also believe that the whole reason the 3ds was released so soon was to break the piracy pattern,... "at least for a few years" as was literally stated by N in an interview I read. IMO this is why the graphics and implementation on the 3ds is so porrly done. Even after update, the graphics for backward compatibility sucks for DS games on 3ds.



SyFyTy said:

Oh and BTW, the WII, and 360 is hacked just as often as the DS, and in many cases more often and they don't complain about those as much. The 1 constant across all systems is used game resale which profits Devs and Big N Nada, Zip, Zilch, Zero, Nicht, Nothing, Nine, not one red cent... getting the idea? Piracy is a loss once per pirate per game, resale is several per game cart, which is far more. It's all in the numbers... sorry for the double post all.



Tweetybird said:

@Tasuki heyy how u doing iam new on this page iam looking for friends for my ds i owned a black 3d ds thnx an have a bless day

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