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Nintendo sets DS date down under

Australian launch on 24 February

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Nintendo will launch its DS handheld console in Australia next month, the videogames pioneer announced today.

The new machine, which launched in the US in November 2004 and in Japan last month, will go on sale on 24 February for AUD200 ($152/£81) - not a bad exchange rate if you can get someone down under to send a unit to this side of the world.

The Australian DS will ship with a demo copy of Metroid Prime: Hunters.

Nintendo said that the European version of the DS will not ship at the same time as the Australian model, even though most games companies treat the two zones as the same because of their joint use of the PAL TV system.

Nintendo is expected to announce the European DS ship date later this month. Most observers expect it to schedule a March date for the European release, just ahead of the arrival of Sony's PlayStation Portable here and in the US, on 25 March.

Nintendo also said it has now shipped some 2.8m DS consoles to Japan and the US, up almost 1m units from the 2m total it announced just before Christmas. ®

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