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Ninty not dumping old DS

Despite launch of DS Lite.

With the redesigned Lite model now available across Europe, Nintendo UK has moved to dismiss claims it is set to phase out the original DS, pledging to back the system "as long as there is demand".

The sleeker, more mass market friendly Lite retails for GBP 99, alongside the original model, priced at GBP 89. The original DS has already sold through an impressive 1.3 million units in the UK, with Lite expected to boost further the platform's fortunes, after impressive openings in the US and Japan.

But despite the focus on Lite, Nintendo UK was this week insistent that the older model still has a major part to play in its plans.

"We're still committed to the old DS as long as there's demand," a Nintendo UK spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz. "Don't forget that the Pink and Blue DS units are only available in the old model, which account for a large percentage of our sales to girls. And like Japan we haven't seen any drop off in sales of the old model in the run-up to the launch of DS Lite."

How long demand will persist is open to question. In Japan, weekly sales of original DS did indeed remain steady around the 30-40k mark in the run up to Lite's launch, but have since dropped of spectacularly.

For the three weeks to June 11th, DS Lite sold through 285k, 135k and 132k units respectively, according to official Media Create data, compared with sales of 4.1k, 1.2k and 1.4k for the original model, with reports suggesting in-store supplies have dried up.

For UK retail, a separate problem is the lack of any meaningful price differentiation between the two systems - just GBP 10 separates original DS and Lite - with some retailers believing a further cut to the original is required to help maintain sales.

"With the old DS they'll need to do campaigns to keep unit sales up - but it depends what they've got left in the channel," said Don McCabe, joint MD of leading indie chain Chips. "GBP 10 isn't a great difference and I expect the vast majority to buy Lite."

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