It seems Japanese gamers just can't get enough of the Nintendo DS - more than 5 million units have been sold so far, and the handheld proved even more popular in the seasonal rush to stores after New Years.
So popular, in fact, that every major electronics store in the Tokyo metropolitan area - as well as several non-specialist stores, such as toy shops - placed sold out signs on their DS displays in the week after the New Year holiday.
Many Japanese children and teenagers receive gifts of money from relatives at New Years, which may have caused a rush. It didn't help that stock levels were already running low; combined DS sales stood at 1.3 million in the three weeks leading up to January 1st.
As a result of all this, Nintendo has taken the slightly unusual step of issuing an official apology for the shortage to retailers and customers.
"During the year-end period, there was a shortage of our company's portable gaming system, the Nintendo DS, due to a flood of demand which far exceeded our expectations," Nintendo explained in a press release, partially translated by YamaKiyo Press.
"We greatly apologise for inconveniencing all of our customers and retailers," the release concluded.
Nintendo has temporarily moved its shipments of the DS hardware into Japan to airmail in order to try and restock the console as quickly as possible.