Nintendo DS launch

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The Nintendo DS launch was described by former President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata as "Nintendo's first hardware launch in support of the basic strategy 'Gaming Population Expansion'" because the touch-based device "allows users to play intuitively".[1] The product was launched in North America on November 21, 2004, Japan on December 2, 2004, Australia and New Zealand on February 24, 2005, Europe on March 11, 2005, and China on July 23, 2005.

North America and Japan[edit]

The Nintendo DS was launched in North America for US$149.99 on November 21, 2004; in Japan for JP¥15,000 on December 2. Well over three million preorders were taken in North America and Japan; preorders at online stores were launched on November 3, and ended the same day as merchants had already sold their allotment. Initially Nintendo planned to deliver one million units combined at the North American and Japanese launches; when it saw the preorder numbers, it brought another factory online to ramp up production. Nintendo originally slated 300,000 units for the U.S. debut; 550,000 were shipped, and just over 500,000 of those sold through in the first week. Later in 2005, the manufacturer suggested retail price for the Nintendo DS was dropped to US$129.99.

Both launches proved to be successful, but it is interesting to note that Nintendo chose to release the DS in North America prior to Japan, a first for a hardware launch from the Kyoto-based company. This choice was made to get the DS out for the largest shopping day of the year in the U.S. (the day after Thanksgiving, also known as "Black Friday").[2] Perhaps partly due to the release date, the DS met unexpectedly high demand in the United States, selling 1 million units by December 21, 2004. As of the end of December, the total number shipped worldwide was 2.8 million, about 800,000 more than Nintendo's original forecast.[3] At least 1.2 million of them were sold in the U.S. Some industry reporters are referred to it as "the Tickle Me Elmo of 2004".[4] In June 2005, Nintendo informed the press that a total of 6.65 million units had been sold worldwide.[5]

A Nintendo DS, skinned in blue.

As is normal for electronics, some were reported as having problems with stuck pixels in either of the two screens. Return policies for LCD displays vary between manufacturers and regions, however in North America, Nintendo has chosen to replace a system with fixed pixels only if the owner claims that it interferes with their gaming experience. There are currently two exchange programs in place for North America. In the first, the owner of the defective DS in question must provide a valid credit card number and, afterwards, Nintendo will ship a new DS system to the owner with shipping supplies to return the defective system. In the second, the owner of the defective DS in question must ship their system to Nintendo for inspection. After inspection, Nintendo technicians will either ship a replacement system or fix the defective system. The first option allows the owner to have a new DS in 3–5 business days.

North American launch games[edit]

The following 11 games were released within the system's launch period (the 30 days starting from November 21, 2004).

At launch there was one pack-in demo, in addition to the built-in PictoChat program: Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt (published by Nintendo and is a demo for Metroid Prime Hunters, a game released in March 2006). At the time of the Electric Blue DS launch, Nintendo bundled the system with Super Mario 64 DS.

Japanese launch games[edit]

The following games were released at same time as the system's first release (December 2, 2004).

In the launch period, the following titles were released.


The DS was released in Europe on 11 March 2005 for 149. Prior to this, a small supply of DS units were available in a package with a promotional "VIP" T-shirt, Metroid Prime Hunters - First Hunt, a WarioWare: Touched! demo, and a pre-release version of Super Mario 64 DS, through the Nintendo Stars Catalogue; the bundle was priced at £129.99 for the UK and 189.99 for the rest of Europe, plus 1,000 of Nintendo's "star" loyalty points (to cover postage). As of 23 January, 1 million DS's had been sold in Europe, setting a sales record for a handheld.

The European version of the DS, like the U.S. release, was packaged with a Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt demo when the system was released; and has not been included since. The European packaging for the console is noticeably more "aggressive" than that of the U.S./Japanese release.

The European game cases are about 1/4 inch thicker than their North American counterparts; they are also transparent rather than solid black. Inside the case there is room for one Game Boy Advance game pak and a DS card with the instructions on the left side of the case.

European launch games[edit]

Australia and New Zealand[edit]

The DS launched in Australia and New Zealand on February 24, 2005. It retailed in Australia for A$199 and in New Zealand for NZ$249. Like the North American launch, it includes the Metroid Prime Hunters - First Hunt demo.

The first week of sales for the system broke all current Australian launch sales records for a console. 19,191 units were sold from Thursday, February 24 to close of business, Sunday, February 27.

Australian and New Zealand launch games[edit]


"iQue DS", which is the name of official Chinese Nintendo DS, was released in China on July 23, 2005. The price of iQue DS as of April 2006 is 980 RMB (about US$130 ). The iQue DS is compatible with all of the language versions of every game. This new iQue DS includes updated firmware from Nintendo to block out use of the PassMe device, along with the new Red DS.

Chinese launch games[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Message from the President: To shareholders and investors". Investor Relations Information. Japan: Nintendo Co., Ltd. 2008. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008. Retrieved November 25, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Nintendo reacts to DS demand; orders, share price on the rise". 2004-11-12. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  3. ^ "Nintendo News, Previews, Reviews, Editorials and Interaction". 2005-01-07. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  4. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". 2005-02-23. Archived from the original on 2005-02-23. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  5. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine" (PDF). 2007-09-30. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2012-10-11.