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Nintendo braves Chinese pirates with iQue player

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Nintendo is set to become the first of the current games platform holders to launch a games system in China, with a new console sporting strong anti-piracy systems set to arrive next month.

The new platform, called the iQue Player (and dubbed the "Nintendo Compact" elsewhere, although we're not sure where that title came from), will come with a memory card which gamers can use to download games from terminals in specific shops for a fee.

The memory card will be tied to a single console, and games cannot be copied between cards, while the terminals themselves are expected to be closed systems provided by Nintendo. The console, supplied with a memory card, will cost 498 Yuan (about €52), while each game will be priced at around 48 Yuan (€5).

Nintendo hopes that this approach will make the iQue Player impervious to piracy, which is rampant in the Chinese market and has dissuaded console manufacturers from launching their products in the territory in the past, despite the enormous size of the potential market in China. Nintendo has been particularly hard-hit by Chinese piracy, with factories in the Guangdong province in southern China reputedly turning out tens of thousands of counterfeit Game Boy Advance cartridges each year.

The company hopes to launch ten games alongside the console when it arrives in mid-October in the Chinese provinces of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu - but don't expect all singing, all dancing modern 3D titles. Among the key titles for launch are Chinese language versions of the Super Mario Bros games.

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