TOKYO – Nintendo, maker of the Super Mario games, said Monday its net profit rose 10.2 percent in the most recent quarter on healthy sales of its hit Nintendo DS Lite handheld game machine, prompting it to raise its full-year forecast.
Gaming has largely been domain for boys and young men, but the Nintendo DS Lite has won praise for attracting women and the elderly with games that test one's intellect and avoid violence.
One of the games you can play on the machine, "Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!," is a series of brain-teasers that has been a big hit in Japan. It is also available in the U.S.
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Strong sales of such games combined with DS machines sales to offset declines in Nintendo Co.'s home console operations, the Kyoto-based manufacturer of Super Mario and Pokemon games said.
Nintendo's net income rose to 15.6 billion yen ($134.3 million) for the April-June period, up from 14.1 billion yen the same period the previous year. Quarterly sales totaled 130.9 billion yen ($1.1 billion), up 85 percent from 70.7 billion yen the same period a year earlier.
Nintendo raised its forecast for the full fiscal year ending March 31, 2007, to 83 billion yen ($715 million), up from its earlier forecast from May for 65 billion yen ($560 million).
It projects fiscal year sales to come in at 640 billion yen ($5.5 billion), up from an earlier 600 billion yen ($5.2 billion).
Nintendo said 4.54 million Nintendo DS machines, which also include the smaller Lite models, were sold for the April-June period, up from 1.38 million the same period a year ago. Nintendo expects to sell 17 million Nintendo DS machines during fiscal 2006.
Another popular games for Nintendo DS was "New Super Mario Bros.," which scored sales of 3.82 million worldwide, according to Nintendo. Nintendo DS first went on sale in 2005.
Game Boy Advance sales fell to 680,000 during the quarter, down on year from 980,000, although Nintendo has sold a cumulative 75.8 million Game Boy Advance portable machines worldwide. It's expecting to sell 2.5 million Game Boy Advance machines during fiscal 2006.
Nintendo is planning a next-generation console called Wii, and is hoping to sell 6 million Wii consoles during the fiscal year ending March next year.
Wii — pronounced "we" and meant to conjure the idea of fun for everyone — is promised for the final quarter of the calendar year, but the release date and price haven't been announced.
Wii will be competing against the upgrade video-game machine from Japanese electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp (SNE)., PlayStation 3, set to go on sale in November. Adding to the competition is Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Xbox 360, which went on sale last year.
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has said that Wii is a different kind of game machine from the PlayStation 3, offering easy-playing games, regardless of sex, age or skills, such as using a wireless wand-like remote to swing around like a fishing rod, tennis racket or orchestra-conduction baton.
For the fiscal year ended March 31, Nintendo earned 98.4 billion yen ($847 million) on 509 billion yen ($4.4 billion) sales.
Nintendo shares, which have gained about 75 percent over the last year, finished at 20,840 yen ($179), up 1.6 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, shortly before earnings were announced.