The Nintendo DS just turned three this holiday season. Since its release, Nintendo’s smash-hit handheld has outsold the lifetime sales of the PlayStation 2 in Japan in less than half the time, and its responsible for a number of revolutions, including The Revolution (the original codename for a little system better known as Wii). A key element to the success of the DS and Wii are ‘casual games.’ What started as a mocked and dubious experiment in new genres turned into an absolute sales phenomenon that has repeated itself and strengthened in the last two years.
In February of 2005, a few months after the late-November 2004 launch of the DS, Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata announced a game called ‘Puppy Times.’ In the United States it is known as ‘Nintendogs,’ an application resembling Tamagotchi’s Giga Pets of the 1990s.
What’s that I hear? Perhaps it’s Microsoft whimpering in the corner like a wee Nintendog over Halo’s meager eight million copies sold. Yes, meager. Nintendo’s puppy simulator went on to sell 16 million copies worldwide as of September 2007. Nintendo’s strategy was obviously successful.
One goal of Iwata was to create games that ‘let a wide range of people enjoy the DS, regardless of age [and] gender