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Sat, Mar 25, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Nintendo predicts end to DS console shortage

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Nintendo Co, the world's biggest maker of handheld video-game players, said a shortage of its DS portable video-game players in Japan may ease next month as the company adds more production capacity.

"I'm hopeful in the latter half of April we can get rid of the terrible, terrible shortage situation that we are facing with the Nintendo DS right now," President Satoru Iwata said in an interview on Thursday at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California. Current demand is "unpredictable," said Iwata, who spoke through a translator.

Demand for the device is being fueled by consumers who aren't gamers and want to play Nintendo's puzzle games, Iwata said. Satisfying customers looking to purchase the DS, which allows people to play games by touching one of its two screens, will be critical for Nintendo as rival Sony Corp adds features such as a new Web browser to its PlayStation Portable.

Kyoto-based Nintendo, which has sold more than 6 million DS handhelds in Japan since it was introduced in December 2004, earlier this month introduced a smaller version of the DS, called the DS Lite. Nintendo will release the DS Lite in the US, Iwata said, declining to give a date or price.

Nintendo, whose games include the characters Donkey Kong and Mario, plans to release its next games console for televisions, called Revolution, this year, Iwata said.

Microsoft Corp, the world's largest software maker, began selling its Xbox 360 game console in November. Sony on March 15 said its PlayStation 3 game device will be available worldwide this November.

Iwata said that unlike Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo doesn't plan to release the Revolution globally at the same time.

"We don't think it's necessary to do the simultaneous worldwide launch simply because others are doing this," he said.

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