Nintendo profits surging on Wii

Sales and profits at Japanese games maker Nintendo are surging on strong sales of its new Wii console and DS handheld gaming device.

Sales and profits at Japanese games maker Nintendo are surging on strong sales of its new Wii console and DS handheld gaming device.

The company sold 3.2 million Wii consoles in November and December, together with 17.5 million pieces of software, it said Thursday. The console launched first in the US 19 on November 2006 and sales totaled 1.25 million units by the end of the year. In Japan, where it debuted on 2 December 2006, sales were 1.1 million units; and in Australasia and Europe, where it was on sale within a week of the Japan launch, sales reached 800,000 units before the year ended.

The successful launch of the console had a direct effect on Nintendo's financial results.

The company reported sales in the first nine months of its financial year, the period from April to December, were ¥712.6 billion, up 73% on the same period a year earlier. Net profit jumped 43% to ¥131.9 billion and operating profit, which more closely tracks performance of the core business more than doubled to ¥167.6 billion.

The popularity of Nintendo's DS also contributed to the performance. Nintendo sold just under 19 million units in the April to December period and the handheld became the fastest rising gaming platform ever in Japan. "New Super Mario Bros" sold 8.6 million units and other popular titles continued to perform well, including "Touch! Generations", "Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!" and "Nintendogs", the company said.

Earlier this month Nintendo, which is based in Kyoto, raised its financial forecasts for the full year because of the strong performance.

The company said it expects sales for the year to be ¥900 billion, a 22% increase on its previous forecast of ¥740 billion. Net profit is expected to be ¥120 billion, 20% higher than previously predicted.

Nintendo kept the Wii console sales target for the full year unchanged at 6 million units but raised its Wii software sales forecast from 17 million games to 21 million games.

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Martyn Williams

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