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Nintendo Shipping 400,000 Wiis for Japanese Launch

Nintendo Co. Ltd. said on Wednesday it will ship almost 400,000 units of its new Wii game console for its Japan launch on December 2, offering four times as many machines as Sony Corp. (SNE) did for its PlayStation 3 debut last week.

The Japanese video game maker also said it plans to ship 1.5 million units of its hot-selling handheld game player, the Nintendo DS, in December in Japan, doubling the availability from levels in recent months for the critical year-end shopping season.

Shares in Nintendo were up 2.0 percent at 26,460 yen by midday, outperforming the Nikkei average, which was virtually unchanged.

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The Wii, which features a novel motion-sensitive controller, will go on sale in the United States on Sunday and on December 2 in Japan, competing with Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Xbox 360 and Sony's PS3 for holiday shoppers' attention.

Nintendo declined to comment on the scale of Wii shipments for the U.S. launch.

Supplies of the PS3 had been limited after a glitch in blue-laser-diode production delayed commercial output of the console.

Sony, which sold nearly a million units of the earlier PlayStation 2 console in the first three days of sales in Japan in 2000, shipped only 100,000 PS3s for the Japan debut on Saturday.