"We think that the timing of a new product introduction will depend upon the sales profile for the DS, and believe that lower than expected DS hardware sales could trigger an earlier launch for the new device," Pachter told investors, as reported by Edge.
The analyst further noted that the system's weakening sales in Japan might prompt the introduction of a DS successor in the territory before the end of the 2008. "We think that Nintendo has a new handheld device ready for launch in [Japan] before the end of the calendar year," he said.
While Nintendo's most recent quarterly financial report saw the DS selling 6.94 million units for a lifetime worldwide sales total of 77.54 million, the figures also marked a decline of hardware sales during the period, down around 40,000 units from last year.
Nintendo's handheld platforms have seen shorter life cycles of late, with the Nintendo DS' arriving just under four years after predecessor Game Boy Advance in 2004. Though Nintendo claimed that the platform was not meant to replace the GBA, publishers and developers quickly made the leap to the dual-screen system.
The developer has remained characteristically mum on its plans for a follow-up to the wildly successful handheld, and has not yet made any on-the-record remarks about a possible successor.