Japanese embrace DSi in spite of its humble features

It just doesn’t make sense, does it? The DSi really isn’t all that different from the DS Lite. Cameras?! SD slots? Puh-leaze. My celly does that and backflips without breaking a sweat. And the graphics? Don’t get me started! So Nintendo 64 in their execution.

And yet, it sells.

Actually, I’m blowing smoke up your butts. Of course it makes sense that the DSi sells well. It follows the same strategy Nintendo created with the original DS and later the Wii. That being, create a solid system at an attractive price point with disruptive new features that appeals to the middle, not the extremes. Update this device periodically with new features and solid software, but keep the price point the same. Then, sit back and watch the money pour in; this time to the tune of more than a million DSi units sold since launch. That the Lite continues to sell well and its fatty of cousin sold 6,449,206 in Japan during its brief but disruptive lifetime is, well, the numbers speak for themselves.

The numbers also mean that, thanks to the whole idea of critical mass, when the DS Store gets into gear, you’re going to have a whole new segment of the population experimenting and playing around with downloadable content. Nintendo could once again be responsible for creating a sizable shift in the gaming landscape. You think DLC is big now with WiiWare, Live Arcade and PSN? You have no idea.

And lastly, look for another surge/paradigm shift when Wii MotionPlus hits store shelves in Japan and the U.S. sometime in Q2 2009. Peripherals won’t sell on their own? Look no further than Wii Fit to silence that argument right quick. All it takes is the right software-hardware combination (and price). Combine that with the Wii Sports brand, which is literally still selling Wii consoles three years after it launched, and you have yet another unstoppable force from the rich, rich folks in Kyoto.