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Nintendo ramps up 3DS for holidays

Journalists try out new Nintendo games during a conference in Tokyo. The 3DS will face a key test during the holidays. Journalists try out new Nintendo games during a conference in Tokyo. The 3DS will face a key test during the holidays. (Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images)
Associated Press / September 14, 2011

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TOKYO - Nintendo is readying an array of video games for the holidays in an aggressive attempt at catch-up for lost time from the sales delay of the 3DS portable machine last year.

Nintendo Co., which makes the Wii home console and Super Mario and Pokemon games, showed some of the gaming titles featuring glasses-free three-dimensional technology at a packed Tokyo event hall yesterday.

The year-end holidays and the New Year’s gift-giving season will be a key test for the 3DS portable. Game companies make up more than half their annual sales during those months.

Analysts said it cost the Japanese video game maker potential momentum when the 3DS was not ready for Christmas last year. It did not go on sale until February in Japan, and March in the United States and Europe, forcing Nintendo to slash its profit forecasts by more than half.

Adding to the woes, the overall gaming business has hit the doldrums, as the initial momentum wore off from the Wii and DS handheld, both megahits from Kyoto-based Nintendo - partly because of a scarcity of hit game software, but also because of the advent of other mobile entertainment.

Yusuke Tsunoda, analyst for Tokai Tokyo Securities Co., was pessimistic about the potential for 3-D gaming on the tiny screen of a portable. Nintendo also needs to introduce more 3-D games if it hopes the 3DS will catch on, he said.

Nintendo has sold just 4.32 million 3DS machines around the world so far. Nintendo has sold nearly 150 million DS machines since they went on sale in 2004, outpacing the Sony PlayStation Portable, which went on sale about the same time, and whose cumulative global sales total 71 million.