November 12th, 2004, 19:45
Nintendo has the kind of headache most companies dream about. On one hand, Nintendo is confronting greater-than-expected consumer demand for its upcoming DS handheld. On the other hand--and here comes the headache--if Nintendo can't meet increased demand, Japanese consumers who can't locate a DS to purchase when it goes on sale December 2 might decide to spend their handheld budget on a Sony PSP instead. Sony's new handheld comes to market in Japan just 10 days after the DS, on December 12. [br][br][br]For now, the market is aggressively seeking out the DS. According to yesterday's Nikkei Journal, Nintendo has revealed that preorders for the Nintendo DS have reached 2 million units, double the company's initial expectations. [br][br]Nintendo had prepped the DS pipeline to manufacture 1 million units for the launch. With demand now twice that, the company has responded by bringing a third factory on board to produce the handheld. The DS is being manufactured in China. [br][br]Nintendo has already closed down most Internet shopping sites selling the DS--those closures came after just one day of order taking (which began, and ended, on November 3). [br][br]While bringing new production facilities on line now won't increase Nintendo's shipment numbers significantly during December, the company expects to meet long-term demand by having 2 million units in the retail channel shortly after the new year begins. [br][br]Nintendo is now raising its sales forecasts for the DS to 4 million, up from 3.5 million, in its current fiscal year (which ends March 31, 2005). [br][br]"Preorders are going smoothly with stores filling up on their online orders," Nintendo president Satoru Iwata remarked to the Nikkei Journal. [br][br]Major retailers in Japan are still taking reservations for the DS, although consumers need to go directly to the stores to reserve. [br][br]Nintendo shares closed today at 12,550 yen ($118.33), a jump of 460 yen (3.8 percent) from the day before.