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Nintendo Plans DS Push

Larger screen DSi set for domestic release. Company to take DSi to Korea and China.


The Tuesday morning edition of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Nintendo will be attempting to spur sales of its DS line of portable systems. Domestically, the company will be releasing a DSi hardware revision within the calendar year. By the end of the fiscal year, it aims to release the current DSi in Korean and Chinese markets.

The new domestic DSi, which goes unnamed in the paper, is the current DSi with a larger screen. The new screen size is over four inches, well above the current model's 3.25 inch size.

With the larger screen size, Nintendo aims to expand use for the system to movies and digital books, and also spur demand amongst older audiences who might have considered the current screen hard to see. It also hopes to fend off stronger competition from Sony and Apple.

Pricing for the new system is expected to be "about the same" as the current model's ¥18,900. The paper lists a release time frame as the calendar year rather than the fiscal year, so it's possible that this will be a holiday item.

Overseas, the company will be expanding the DS market through Korean and Chinese releases of the DSi. The model released in those territories will be the current DSi model, but with improved security for combating piracy. Pricing is expected to be at the same level as Japan.

Nintendo already offers the DS Lite in Korea. The system has sold over 2.5 million units there.

The Chinese market has strict regulations on the release of overseas game machines. The paper reports that sources confirm Nintendo is close to gaining the required approvals for the DSi.

Nintendo hopes that it can combat piracy through the new security measures and grow the Korean and Chinese markets for legitimate software, making it possible to recoup the costs of localizing its software for release there.

Typical for these Nikkei stories, Nintendo hasn't formally announced these new initiatives yet. However, it's likely that we'll hear official details later this week.

Interestingly, the DSi saw a similar Nikkei "unveiling" in late September last year. At the time, the paper did not provide a new name for the system.

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