Nintendo Gives Itself High Fives for Wii and DS Franchises

Now that the year has wrapped up, Nintendo is claiming to have broken two industry-wide records in 2010 to make its portable DS franchise and the Wii two of the best-selling game systems of all time.

The company said the portable DS handheld, which originally came out in November 2004, has sold an accumulated 47 million devices to become the U.S.’s best-selling videogame system of all time.

Additionally, the Wii sold more than seven million game consoles in 2010, marking the third consecutive year of such volumes–a feat Nintendo says has never been accomplished in the history of game systems.

The figures are impressive for the game company, which has always focused on a family-friendly niche, with lovable characters bouncing around in imaginary worlds, rather than on complex multiplayer games focused on violence and intense graphics.

But whether it will be enough to sustain the company against rivals such as the Xbox is unclear.

The Xbox has been the best-selling console for the past few months, a position that was supercharged in November when Microsoft released the Kinect, which allows users to play hands-free, similarly to how the Wii operates but taken to the next level.

Sales of the Kinect accessories have been strong, and have helped expand Microsoft’s audience beyond the hard-core gamer.

Nintendo is not expected to release a new console in the short term, and critics are unclear about the 3DS, which is the new portable handheld coming that boosts 3-D images without the need for glasses.

Nintendo said it’s coming to the U.S. in March, and more details will be available soon. Nintendo is attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week for the first time in 16 years, but it’s not expected to make big news at the show.

But it’s unclear whether the 3DS can compete as a standalone gaming device as other multipurpose devices–like Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, as well as other smartphones–gain market share.

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime begs to differ when forecasting the trends of the future: “When we look ahead to 2011, we see new portable technology and more great Wii games that need to be seen to be believed.”

If he does say so himself.

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