"The holidays are more important to Nintendo than to other manufacturers," Fils-Aime said. "We have a distinct edge when it comes to gift-giving, and it's no doubt because of the familiarity and recognition of both our brand and key franchises." Nintendo's upcoming software lineup for November and December boasts some famous -- though not distinctly edgy -- brands, including Donkey Kong Country Returns and Disney Epic Mickey, but hardware has historically been the company's best performer during the holiday season. Nintendo sold over five million DS units and five million Wiis in the US through November and December last year, a two-month tally which Fils-Aime said comprised over 40% of Nintendo's annual sales.
Fils-Aime also cited NPD data, which showed that Nintendo had shifted 43.1 million DS systems and 30.4 million Wiis in the US thus far. The holidays are just as crucial for software sales, with Fils-Aime noting that 44 percent of all annual game sales were incurred during the last two months of the year (compared to 33 percent for other manufacturers). Nintendo had the top three best-selling games in December 2009 -- New Super Mario Bros., Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort -- though it conceded November to Call of Duty. It's likely to do so again this year.
With the introduction of new Mario-themed console bundles and a solid lineup of seemingly evergreen first-party sellers, Nintendo seems adequately prepared before it wades bravely into that throbbing, Black Friday consumer crowd. Perhaps Microsoft is the smart one for courting those same customers from a distance -- of eight feet or so.