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Nintendo profit hits six-year high

Next year's going to be good too, company reckons

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Nintendo appears to be doing rather better than its video game rivals, Sega and Sony. Yesterday, it announced the highest profit it has reported in the last six years. Profit for the year ended 31 March reached Y165.2 billion ($1.35 billion), up 4.9 per cent on last year's figure. Revenue increased by a slightly higher margin, rising seven per cent to Y572 billion ($4.67 billion). Nintendo cited the release of the Colour GameBoy and new games for the N64 as the prime drivers of its increased profitability. It may not be shipping as many units as Sony, its main rival, but at least by focusing solely on video games, its profitability hasn't been dragged down by poor performance in other areas, as Sony was. Poor Sega, meanwhile, is struggling back to profitability after being left behind in the console market through pressure from Sony's PlayStation and Nintendo's more advanced but less well supported by third-party software developers N64. Sega is now pinning its hopes on the 128-bit Windows CE-based Dreamcast, but sales have been less than spectacular. Nintendo said it expects to continue improving its profitability through the current financial to March 2000. It certainly has a lead on Sega. Dreamcast may be technically more powerful, but the N64 has more titles. The Sega machine has also yet to demonstrate it really is sufficiently more powerful than the N64 to make it a better buy. However, Sony continues to ship bucketloads of PlayStations, and the upcoming PlayStation 2, due at the end of the year, a full 12 months before Nintendo's own next-generation system, codenamed Dolphin, could well eat into N64 sales. ®

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