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Nintendo ramps up bid to rescue 3DS

Sep 13 2011 07:07

Tokyo - Nintendo announced a raft of new software in an attempt to prop up disappointing sales of its latest handheld games gadget, the 3DS, but there was no sign of the add-on accessory that games blogs have said is in the works.

Nintendo's shares slid about 6% on Tuesday in a strong broader market in a sign that investors are not convinced boosting content will enable the 3DS to fight off growing competition from smartphones and tablets.

President Satoru Iwata unveiled what he said was an unprecedented range of games, including some featuring the company's much-loved Mario character and others specifically aimed at attracting women, at an event held two days ahead of the Tokyo Game Show.

"From the end of this year to the beginning of next, we are planning the kind of extensive line-up that has probably never been seen before in the history of video games," Iwata told reporters and guests at the event.

"We will make an all-out effort to see that the 3DS sells enough to become the successor to the DS," he said.

That will be no easy task, given that earlier models of the DS had sold a cumulative total of about 148 million units by the end of June this year. The gadget, along with the motion-controlled Wii home console, enabled Nintendo to dominate the industry for years.

Many casual gamers are now turning to Apple's iPhone and iPad and mobile gadgets based on Google's Android operating system, which offer cheaper content and multiple functions.

Tech website C-NET had reported that Nintendo was set to launch an accessory for the 3DS that would provide an extra control button, but this was not mentioned at Tuesday's event.

In July, Nintendo slashed the price of the 3DS, which features glasses-free 3D images, after sales shrivelled to just 710 000 units in April-June from 3.6 million in the first month after its launch, and a tiny fraction of the 16 million unit target for the year.

The company reported its first-ever quarterly operating loss and cut its full-year profit forecast far below market expectations, hit by sluggish sales and a strong yen.



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