The Nintendo DS was flying off Japanese shelves during the year-end shopping season in Japan, so much so that the company started the new year by issuing a formal apology on its Japanese-language Web site. Exactly how well the system sold is starting to become clear, as the latest issue of Famitsu reports that the double-screen handheld sold 1.5 million units last month. That means more than a quarter of the 5.6 million systems sold in Japan since the system's 2004 launch came during December alone.

Famitsu didn't report December figures for the PSP, although Dengeki Online is reporting that figure to be a lot lower. Between October 31 and January 15, the site reports that Sony's widescreen handheld sold 972 thousand units during that period. By comparison, the DS sold 2.33 million units during the same period.

Despite Nintendo's efforts to increase DS supplies at retail, supplies of the system are still tight. Some secondhand shops are starting to sell the DS for over 30,000 yen ($260), or double its suggested retail price, while recent online auctions have seen the system fetching around 20,000 yen ($174).