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Popular consoles give lift to Nintendo

NINTENDO Co reported an 8.5-percent rise in annual profit as the video game maker shrugged off the global slowdown that has battered other Japanese manufacturers.

Nintendo, which did not break down quarterly numbers, said yesterday that it racked up a record 279.1 billion yen (US$2.8 billion) profit for the fiscal year ended March 31, up from 257.3 billion yen the previous year.

Fiscal year sales climbed 9.9 percent to 1.839 trillion yen from 1.672 trillion yen, with overseas sales accounting for 87.5 percent, according to the Kyoto-based maker of Pokemon and Super Mario games.

"The video game industry, which was less impacted by the economic downturn than most industries, remained relatively stable in spite of the large consumer spending decline," Nintendo said in a statement.

The numbers were moderately better than the company's own forecasts, as well as those of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Nintendo continued to be relatively bullish about the future, forecasting a 7.5-percent rise in net profit to 300 billion yen for the fiscal year through March 2010. But it expects sales to dip 2.1 percent to 1.8 trillion yen, and operating profit to drop 11.8 percent to 490 billion yen.

Driving Nintendo's fortunes are its Wii home console and DS portable, which have proven popular globally.

The Wii, with its wand-like remote controller, has sold 50 million units at the fastest pace of any video game machine ever, reaching a cumulative 50.39 million since its launch in late 2006.

The firm's other console, the Nintendo DS, has also done well, already selling 101.78 million units.



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