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February 16, 2006

Nintendo Unveils 'Lite' DS Version For Non-Gamers

Courtesy of EE Times

TOKYO — Seeking to expand its market beyond hard-core gamers, Nintendo will add an enhanced version of NintendoDS, a portable game box with two LCD screens that will sell for ¥16,800 (about $143) in Japan..

Dubbed as NintendoDSLite, the portable game gear measures 133 by 73.9 by 21.5 mm and weighs 218 grams—about 42 percent smaller and 20 percent lighter than existing model. Lite is based on the existing model. It also adds brightness control at four levels.

NintendoDSLite will be introduced in Japan on March 2 and later in other regions. Regional subsidiaries will determine the introduction date.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata shows off DSLite game box

Reflecting Nintendo's strategy to reach those who seldom touch game machines, such as middle-age and senior people, Nintendo and partner software houses will offer titles not under the authentic game category. Under this strategy, the DS becomes portable information rather than game gear.

Nintendo will offer browser software jointly developed with Opera Software by June. By year-end, the company will begin marketing a TV receiver card for terrestrial digital TV broadcasting, called "One segment" broadcasting in Japan. The service is scheduled to begin in April.

Non-game software titles such as "Brain Trainer" to help keep players' brains sharp, a travel translator and a speaking recipe book will also hit the Japanese market soon. Those titles will eventually be marketed overseas as well.

At the current fiscal year started last April, Nintendo projected that global sales of NintendoDS would be 12 million. But at the end of December, Nintendo had already sold 14.4 million units globally—5.7 million in Japan, 4.63 million in North America and 4.1 million in other areas.

"NintendoDS sold more than projected and we are sorry for severe shortages since the year-end," said Nintendo President Satoru Iwata.

The company is boosting production and aims to reach total shipments of 10 million units alone in Japan as soon as possible.

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