On August 1, 2022, Nintendo announced its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2022-2023, Nintendo’s sales and profit in the quarter were respectively, a year-on-year decrease of 4.7% and 15.1%, although Nintendo gave a statement that it was affected by the downturn in the semiconductor industry, but in the global economic downturn, people seem to prefer to try some cheaper and faster entertainment, and the contraction of the hosting industry is already an indisputable fact.
The sluggish market environment is also reflected in the weakening sales of NS: in fiscal 2021-2022, Nintendo sold 11.08 million NS units, down 22.9% from the previous month; As of June 30, 2022, the total sales of NS reached 111 million units, and if these figures are used as a reference, under the premise that Nintendo does not launch new models, it may be difficult for NS, which has gone through five years, to surpass the records of its predecessors in its life cycle.
The DS is Nintendo’s most popular console to date and is the highest selling handheld (154 million units) and second highest selling console in the world (after the PS2 with 155 million units).
The peak of its debut
The DS, which was released at the end of 2004, sold 500,000 units in the first week and 2.8 million units in the first month, successfully accomplishing the strategic goal of stopping Sony SCE and reversing Nintendo’s decline, and for the next year, the PSP was rubbed on the ground with more than double the monthly sales, becoming a veritable money printing machine. In the face of this situation, Sony SCE’s Ken Kudoragi and Kazuo Hirai have nothing good to do for a while, they can’t figure out how they spent a lot of money to develop the “21st century Walkman” why it would lose to such a patchwork of roadkill, not to mention understand why there are millions of “Ren Tengu” players almost crazy obsessed with the touch pen to jerk the dog across the screen.
The success of the PS and PS2 consoles has created a mindset within Sony SCE. Kutara Kiken believes that all problems that can be solved with money are not problems, and it seems that as long as the strongest material is piled on the product and the most sewing function, it can easily capture the hearts of users. The PSP born under the guidance of this design concept deviated from the positioning as a handheld from the beginning, and for the majority of the user group, spending one or two thousand yen to buy a handheld is nothing more than wanting to play a game on the road or in bed, but Sony SCE has always wanted to make the PSP an indispensable multimedia and Internet application center in people’s pockets. It’s like today’s social apps always want to let users swipe a few short videos, short video apps always want users to buy something, shopping apps always want users to take two steps without illness, and sports apps always want to let users post dynamics is a truth – although Ken Kutara in 2004 may not be able to figure this out, but in 2022 we should empathize.
I can’t figure it out, but things are so good that they can’t be sold, and it’s uncomfortable to see competitors make money than they lose money. In order to fully demonstrate the overwhelming performance advantage of the PSP, Sony SCE approached Rockstar Games, which became famous for developing Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto Vice City in succession, and asked them to launch an exclusive GTA game for the PSP, and the result of this cooperation was Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Story, which premiered in the United States on October 25, 2005.
Because GTA’s name is not small, “Liberty City Story” became one of the best-selling games on the PSP, with a total of 2.755 million units sold, and North America, which is keen on car guns, accounted for 2 million units. The hot sales of the game also led to the sales of the PSP, although it is still not as good as the DS, but it can be regarded as regaining a little face for Sony SCE, but just when they are ready to continue their efforts and stuff more console-level games into the pockets of players, Nintendo’s backhand set of “Mario Racing DS” plus “Welcome to Animal Crossing” tens of millions of sales combination punches to kill the PSP.
Technology is based on shell replacement
In December 2005, the DS blessed by God sold 1.815 million units in Japan, setting a record for monthly sales exceeding the previous half of the year. With the increasing number of users, some problems about DS have gradually emerged: poor screen perception, poor speaker quality, poor button feel and card slots that can be called dust collectors are still secondary, and players complain the most about the DS’s lunchbox-like old-fashioned appearance and huge volume – at that time, the so-called “no design is the best design”, DS at best found a box for the components that can be stuffed in, and the shoebox chassis of the picture bar brothers is not fundamentally different.
DS is a product of rushing to block the PSP, the whole process from project approval to mass production is carried out according to the idea of everything from fast and simple, Nintendo knows very well that what they make has no design aesthetics and ergonomics and other considerations, and their attempts to remedy it stop at introducing several new color schemes for DS; Fortunately, Nintendo under Satoshi Iwata was not as “enterprising” as it is today, and on March 2, 2006, Nintendo released the DS Lite, which is known as the “upper model” of the DS, and the price was increased on the DS, and the price of the old DS remained unchanged.
The difference between DS Lite (hereinafter commonly referred to as DSL) and DS is like the difference between NS and NS OLED, although the internal hardware configuration is almost exactly the same, but the external improvements have really raised the player’s game experience by an order of magnitude – in a word, it is “the only difference, is different everywhere”.
In order to save costs as much as possible with mature technology, Nintendo moved the overused semi-reflective TFT screen on the GBA to the DS, and the specifications of the two screens of the DS are exactly the same, but the touch module on the screen is canceled. Compared with the penetrating display technology that directly uses the built-in light source, the semi-reflective screen of DS also needs to take into account the external lighting conditions, which leads to the addition of additional polarizers, filters and phase difference plates to the screen module to ensure that the reflected light does not have a serious impact on the display effect of the screen; Coupled with the fact that full-fit screen technology was not popular on consumer electronic products at that time, these reasons together led to DS’s screen module being extremely thick, and Nintendo did not think of a way to optimize at all, directly stuffing the module and various cables into the shell, and further enlarging the shell if it could not be plugged, and the strange bulge on the DS cover was the result of Nintendo’s perfunctory work – no skills, all feelings.
When the DSL came, Nintendo finally had the time to go back and polish the details of the DS, and then the whole development department was dumbfounded: the premise of polishing details is that there are details to polish, and compared to the crude DS, the GameBoy that Junpei Yokoi had saved with a pile of inventory more than a decade ago looked like an art treasure on display in the Louvre, and when put together with the PSP, it looked more like “when the human star was shining” versus “when the humanoid star was shining”. It is more like the reality of “when the human stars shine” and “when the humanoid stars shine”, which is simply a disgrace to the horizon. In the end, Nintendo had no choice but to overturn the design of its predecessor and replace it with a more modern, fully transparent TFT screen.
The switch to a fully transparent TFT screen indirectly improves the brightness, contrast and saturation of the DSL, which makes the DSL’s gaming graphics more pleasing. In addition, Nintendo has solved the current noise problem of the DS speaker on DSL; the stylus that was inserted vertically at the bottom of the DS is now inserted horizontally on the right side of DSL, and its length and diameter have been increased, making it easy to access and feel better in the hand; for the GBA cassette slot on DS as a “dust collection box”, Nintendo has simply and brutally made the slot on DSL 1cm shallower to simplify the cleaning process, and also included a special protective cover in the package. In order to save money, DSL is the only DS model that uses conductive adhesive buttons, but this design is more comfortable than the DS’s pot-holder, and has been well received by most Blue Ocean players. If there was anything more unethical about the DSL, it was that Nintendo designed the DSL while also changing the charging port, but there was nothing standardized about the charger at the time, and the DSi later changed the port again, something that only Nintendo could do.
The DSL sold 580,000 units in the month of its debut in Japan, less than the DS’s 1.327 million units, but this was a sales myth based on the fact that the DS had already sold nearly 10 million units in Japan and the market was nearly saturated. By the time it went on sale worldwide in June, Nintendo had sold 4.15 million DSLs, a figure that soared to 17.33 million units by the end of the year, with the sales of individual models already surpassing the total sales of PSP at the time, making it the absolute top stream in the gaming industry. At this time, a long-lurking gray industry also gradually surfaced: as technology continued to advance, it seemed that the burn-in cards that existed as early as the GameBoy era had found new value in the DSL.
Technology and hard work
On August 24, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle accepted a copyright infringement case that attracted the attention of players around the world, and in a 38-page indictment filed by prosecutors, two defendants, “Gary OPA” “GaryOPA” Bowser and Max “MAXiMiLiEN” Louarn, and “100+” who are still at large 1″ Chen Yuanning Chen is charged with 11 felonies, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to circumvent technological measures, trafficking in evasion equipment and conspiracy to launder money. Based on the charges stated in the indictment, they could face tens of millions of dollars in damages and decades in prison.
If you want to know what these unlucky guys did to get to this point overnight, players familiar with Nintendo Switch probably won’t be surprised: these three are the core members of the notorious hacking group Team Xecuter (commonly known as the TX group in China), which rose to prominence at the beginning of the original Xbox launch, profiting from the development and sale of cracking tools for various consoles.
This time, what set the TX team on fire was their latest “work”, SX Pro and SX Core, the former modifying the system-booted USB dongle by shorting the NS’s Joy-Con interface, and the latter being a cracked module that can be soldered directly to the NS motherboard. Although successive scandals such as code plagiarism and encouraging piracy have long made the TX group notorious in the circle of hackers, this does not affect them to continue to grow bigger and stronger in the past ten years, and even established their own distribution network around the world – but it is unlikely to create glory again, and the enraged Nintendo directly struck a heavy blow along the network cable, not only directly collapsed the TX team, but also sued the dealers who could be sued in the spirit of Uncle Liu Huang who cut the grass to remove the roots.
If this is not cruel, in April 2021, Nintendo filed new charges against Bowser, who was identified as a key figure in the TX team, demanding that he pay $2,500 for each SX Pro and SX Core and $150,000 for each infringement – yes, “$2,500 each” and “$150,000 each time” – and the forced Bowser had to plead guilty to two previous charges, pay $4.5 million in compensation, and cooperate with the authorities to investigate the TX team six months later. Attempts to get other charges dropped. However, this is not over, in December, Bowser, who has not yet been familiar with the bureau, was ordered to pay Nintendo $10 million in compensation, and after paying these prices, he was finally sentenced to 40 months in prison on February 10, 2022, and not letting him die in prison was the last tenderness of the strongest legal department in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Nintendo is not from the beginning of the crack behavior is so unforgiving, but such a big fanfare in the global “reunion” of a criminal group is not the first time.