Nintendo's Profit Surges on Strong Sales of Wii, DS

TOKYO (AP) -- Nintendo Co.'s net profit surged 47.7 percent to a record high, powered by strong sales of software and accessories for its popular Wii video game console and brisk sales of its DS handheld devices.

The Kyoto-based company reported a group net profit of 257.34 billion yen ($2.5 billion) for the March-April period compared with 174.29 billion yen a year earlier. Sales shot up 73 percent to 1.672 trillion yen ($16.2 billion).

The video game industry performed well despite a slowing global economy. Nintendo said it would continue expanding the gaming audience to both novices and experienced users - a strategy that has paid off against rivals Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

Nintendo said it sold 18.61 million units of its Wii console globally last year, for a total of 24.45 million units moved since it was launched in November 2006. The company also sold 30.31 million units of the DS worldwide.

Nintendo expects to continue its growth this fiscal year through March 2009, though at a more modest pace. It projects a 26.3 percent rise in net profit to 325.0 billion yen ($3.15 billion), a 7.6 increase in net sales to 1.800 trillion yen, and an 8.8 percent climb in operating profit to 530.0 billion yen ($5.14 billion).

"Nintendo's strategy is to accelerate the current sales momentum from 'must-have for every family' to 'must-have for everyone' by continuously introducing new and unique software and introducing new services which take advantage of its expanded installed base," the company said in its report.

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