Next Generation’s Tim Rogers writes a bit about Nintendo’s staggering success in Japan…
My Family Finance Diary is basically a non-game that features simplified spreadsheet software, for, um, putting your family finances in order. […] The “Family Finance Diary”, essentially, is a calculator that cares, aimed at the ice-blue or noble-pink DS-owning people of Japan who do grocery shopping for families of three or more.
And it’s the seventh-hottest-selling game in Japan at the moment.
When Nintendo fans on internet message boards high-five themselves and bark about Nintendo destroying the competition, I feel a little queasy, because I know for a solid fact that non-games like Family Finance Diary, Nintendo’s Observation Training and Brain Training aren’t actually competing with, say, Grand Theft Auto at all. It should be very remarkably clear that these software products are designed for startlingly different purposes and demographics.
Then there are the black marketeers who buy up popular consumer electronics devices and ship them off to continental Asia…
On most weeknights, a group of five to ten Chinese people can be seen standing in front of the McDonalds next to the Bic Camera superstore in Ikebukuro, counting their loot. The ten to fifteen agents reporting to the meeting point bring shopping bags from all of the electronics stores in the area, including Yodobashi Camera, which actually doesn’t have an Ikebukuro location. On a typical weekday, they can be seen counting up Nintendo DS Lites and Wiis. Just recently, they’ve moved their loot-counting spot to a lot behind the Bic Camera, overlooking a red light district with a couple of convenient stores. They count up dozens upon dozens of Wiis while they wait for their truck to show up. […]
Last night, I sighted these supposed black-marketeers in the act of counting what must have been five hundred Wii systems and several hundred Nintendo DS units - a small warehouse full. I took a picture of them, and was then threatened very politely by one man. He told me he would be forced to do something very bad to me if I didn’t delete the photo immediately. Long story short, I ended up not deleting the photo, and he ended up not doing any very bad.
I really wonder, though. These guys are obviously accounting for several thousand of the DSes and Wiis purchased each week in Japan. It just strikes me as vaguely wrong.
On the upside, Zelda: Phantom Hourglass has already sold 750,000 copies and really is an excellent game. And on an entirely unrelated note, Famitsu published a very positive review of Bladestorm for the PS3 which is apparently a fusion of Kessen and Dynasty Warriors.