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Wed, Jun 08, 2005 - Page 12 News List

Nintendo brushes aside concerns


Nintendo Co, the Japanese video game maker that created Super Mario and Pokemon, brushed off the technological superiority of rivals Sony and Microsoft yesterday in an emerging three-way war in next-generation home consoles.

President Satoru Iwata said Nintendo's Revolution, expected to go on sale next year, can compete against the more advanced offerings -- Sony Corp's PlayStation 3, set to hit stores next spring, and Microsoft Corp's Xbox 360, expected later this year -- because the era of creating powerful machines to attract sales is long over.

The Japanese game market has stagnated as people tire of increasingly complex games with more dazzling graphics, he said at a Tokyo hotel briefing for reporters and investors.

Kyoto-based Nintendo Co Ltd. has tried to expand the game-playing population, he said, by producing new kinds of machines, such as the hand-held Nintendo DS, which has a touch-panel, and new kinds of games that don't rely on increasingly sophisticated computer functions and graphics.

People who generally aren't hard-core gamers, including women and the elderly, are having fun with "Nintendogs," a Nintendo DS game that allows players to interact with a puppy, Iwata said. It went on sale in Japan in April, and is set to go on sale in the US in August.

More than 5.6 million Nintendo DS machines have sold worldwide since their introduction about a half year ago.

Iwata noted the game market is still expanding in the US, unlike the troubled Japanese market. However, he warned some disturbing signs are emerging there that indicate the industry there may be headed toward difficulty.

The gap between games that sell and games that don't sell is growing in the US, and many people are wondering why games look alike, falling into the same categories such as action, sports and movie-inspired, Iwata said.

Nintendo is taking a different strategy through Revolution, which is expected to be less powerful than its competitors. It will blend more easily in the living room because it's only about the size of three DVD cases and has a wireless remote controller, Iwata said.

"Nintendo wants more people to re-experience the fun of games," he said. "We see that as Nintendo's mission."

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