Nintendo64 sales sag

Punters hold out for GameCube

Disappointing console sales have forced the Nintendo to cut profit forecasts for the full year.

The gaming goliath said its Game Boy handheld device had shifted well, but sales of its flagship Nintendo64 console were disappointing for the six months ended September 30.

The company, which pits the Nintendo64 against rival Sony's PlayStation 2, reckons this is a temporary glitch; it says punters are hanging onto their cash until new machines are introduced.

Yoshihiro Mori, MD, reckons demand for Nintendo64 consoles and software has weakened because "game users are waiting for our new player to be released next year," Reuters reports. "Sales and profit are expected to rise in the next business year, helped by our new game players," he said.

Nintendo shifted 10.16 million Game Boys in the six months - it plans to launch the successor, Game Boy Advance, in March. It aims to bring out GameCube, its new games platform, in July.

The company expects to sell 23 million Game Boys for the full year, including one million Game Boy Advance machines. It has cut full-year sales forecasts on the Nintendo64 from 3.5 million to 3.05 million.

Pre-tax profits were up 157 per cent to 51.79 billion yen ($470.6 million), beating analyst forecasts. This was due largely to the strong dollar at the end of September. The company's dollar-based assets increased to $4.3 billion.

The previous year Nintendo saw profits slide when these assets were hit - despite its Pokemons flying off the shelves. Sales fell 26 per cent to 140 billion yen for the six months.

Disappointing Nintendo64 sales also forced the company to slash financial projections for the full year ending March 31. It forecast 78 billion yen group net profit, down from 82 billion yen, and sales of 500 billion yen - 40 billion yen less than previously touted. ®

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