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Nintendo 3DS launch to miss year-end shopping season

posted 29 Sept 2010, 05:12 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 29 Sept 2010, 07:47 ]

Nintendo says it would launch a 3D-capable version of its DS handheld game console next year, first in Japan on February 26 and in the United States in March.

Nintendo Co Ltd said on Wednesday (September 29) it would launch a 3D-capable version of its DS handheld game console in Japan on Feb. 26 and in the United States in March, missing the crucial year-end shopping season.

"Just like Nintendo DS, the new 3DS has two monitors; however the top screen is a wide-screen, which allows you to enjoy three-dimensional images without special glasses," Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said at a launch event in Chiba, Japan on Wednesday.

"Nintendo 3DS will go on sale in Japan on February 26 for 25,000 yen ($294.44 USD). It will go on sale in the U.S., Europe and Australia next March, but the exact date and price will be announced by a Nintendo company in each country," he added.

Shares of Nintendo dropped on the announcement and ended trading down 3.7 percent at 23,010 yen.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people gathered for the launch event as they queued up to experience the new game console.

"There's so much depth and reality added to your experience so I really got into the game and there's so much more to it," Manami Kubo, marketing company employee, told Reuters.

Others said the new DS is also eye-friendly.

"My eyes don't get tired, the monitor is really easy to look at and 3DS is just fun to play," Kazuki Suga, employee of a game unit at Tsutaya, said.

Nintendo did not reveal the price or exact launch date for the U.S., by far the biggest market for the game machine maker.

But it may lose customers to rivals Sony Corp and Microsoft, whose motion-gaming peripherals will be on the market in time for the year-end.

The new 3DS created buzz when it was revealed at the E3 game show in the United States earlier this year, and Nintendo needs a new hit product as sales of its ageing DS models and Wii home consoles sag.

The company has cut existing DS model prices to bolster sales, sacrificing profits in the April-June quarter.

Nintendo announced that it would cut its sales forecast for DS console to 23.5 million units for the financial year through March 2011 from 30 million units previously.

The company also cut its sales target for the Wii console to 17.5 million units from 18 million units for the current financial year.