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Nintendo to launch camera, music-capable DS

Tokyo, October 2, 2008

Nintendo Co said it will launch a new DS machine that can take pictures and play music on November 1 in Japan.

The launch is expected to cement its lead against Sony's PlayStation Portable and potentially encroach on a market dominated by Apple Inc's iPod and iPhone.

The new model, which will be slimmer and have bigger displays than the current model, will sell for 18,900 yen ($179), up from 16,800 yen for the current model but below the PSP's 19,800 yen.

Nintendo plans to launch the new machine, the DSi, outside Japan in 2009. The DS and the Wii console have been Nintendo's twin growth engine in recent years.

The company, known for such game characters as Mario and Zelda, raised its operating profit forecast in August for the year to March 2009 by 23 per cent to 650 billion yen ($6.2 billion) on strong sales of the DS and Wii.

Nintendo sold 6.94 million units worldwide of the DS in April-June, compared with 3.72 million units of Sony's PSP.

In Japan, however, the PSP outsold the DS by 20 per cent in the six months to September, according to game magazine publisher Enterbrain, in a possible sign of slowing momentum for the Nintendo machine.

Mizuho Securities analyst Takeshi Koyama said it is too early to tell how much demand the new DS is likely to stir up because it is unclear at the moment what kind of unique game software and services Nintendo will offer for the new machine.

'There is nothing earthshattering about it ... We can hold high hopes of it if software titles unique to the new model come out,' Koyama said. 'But they did not offer something like that this time around.'

Following the announcement, shares in Nintendo, Japan's fifth-most valuable company, ended down 3.7 per cent at 39,500 yen, closing below the 40,000 yen mark for the first time since May 2007.

The benchmark Nikkei average fell 1.9 per cent.-Reuters




Tags: Nintendo | gaming | DS machine |

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