At the end of 2004, the video games company Nintendo was facing a bleak future.
It’s rival console, the PlayStation 2 (PS2), was winning the console war and both
parties were about to enter the handheld gaming market with a new console each.
Nintendo had planned the release of a new hand held console: the Nintendo Dual
Screen (DS). Sony’s product was the PlayStation Portable (PSP). The PSP was
essentially a powerful multi-media unit capable of playing many of the games its
older brother, the PS2, could play. The DS by contrast was technically inferior but it
boasted two screens, one of which was touch sensitive. Most importantly, a stylus
was included alongside the traditional buttons.
Top: Nintendo DS (Dual Screen) with Stylus
Bottom: Sony PSP (PlayStation Portable)
(image source: www.pspsps.tv 2008)
Figures show that the DS sold 7 million units while the PSP sold a mere 2.8 million
units. (Mintel 2008) This report examines why Nintendo have dominated the
handheld market from a consumer behaviour perspective, and looks at Nintendo’s
resulting actions in terms of marketing activities.
It will focus primarily on the Nintendo DS, the game Dr Kawashima’s Brain Age,
which is targeted at the Third Age market (consumers aged 55+) and parents with
dependent children. This edutainment title is controlled entirely through touch screen
and stylus, and is pitched as improving memory and keeping the user mentally fit,
claiming you can “train your brain in minutes a day” (box cover art ). It features a
Sudoku mini game.
Attitude Change – Picking up on strong attributes
Prior to launch of the DS Nintendo had to combat a host of problems. Many were of
the opinion that the PSP would be the winner of this console war. Sony had
convincingly dominated the static console market with its PlayStation 2 outselling all
it’s rivals nearly 4 times over in the UK. Nintendo took third place behind Microsoft’s
Xbox. (Mintel 2008) With the PSP looking much like the PS2, Nintendo did not