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Nintendo chief shruggs off iPad

Jan 29 2010 11:14

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Tokyo - Nintendo's president shrugged off the just unveiled iPad tablet computer from Apple as delivering "no surprises," and displayed as little enthusiasm for 3-D technology and high-definition upgrades for games.

"It was a bigger iPod Touch," Satoru Iwata said of the much anticipated device shown on Wednesday by Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Iwata denied speculation in Japanese media that what Nintendo has in the works in new gadgets may be a DS equipped with a motion-sensor similar to the wand for Nintendo's hit Wii home console, or a Wii upgraded for high-definition TVs.

"I question whether those features would be enough to get people to buy new machines," he said of the DS. Nintendo engineers are developing new machines, he said, without giving details.

Iwata also doesn't expect 3D video-gaming to catch on, although he welcomed 3D movies at theaters like James Cameron's hit "Avatar."

"I have doubts whether people will be wearing glasses to play games at home. How is that going to look to other people?" he said at a Tokyo hotel.

Sony and other technology companies are making big investments in 3-D TVs, expecting it will boost sales growth in the next few years.

Kyoto-based Nintendo, the maker of Pokemon and Super Mario games, would also have to look into the possible health effects of longtime 3-D game playing, which is likely to last longer than a two-hour film, Iwata said.

Nintendo has scored success by making games easier to play for the elderly, women and newcomers. Iwata reiterated his company will continue on that track as potential for sales growth remains in Japan, the US and Europe.

He made no pretense to hide he was totally unimpressed with the iPad.

"There were no surprises for me," said Iwata.

Apple says the iPad is a new kind of mobile device that is more intimate than a laptop but is packed with more functions than a mobile phone.

On Thursday, Nintendo reported April-December profit fell 9% as solid year-end sales failed to make up for the weak results for the earlier part of the fiscal year, a rising yen and a price cut for the Wii.

- AP

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