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Thursday, March 26, 2009
Nintendo Wii Shipments Top 50 million Since Launch

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata today revealed during his keynote address at the Game Developers Conference a new storage solution for Nintendo?s Wii home console, showed a new Nintendo DS game from The Legend of Zelda franchise and said that Nintendo has shipped more than 50 million units of its Wii game console since its launch three years ago.

Nintendo Wii game console has become the fastest-selling console ever, while shipemnts of the Nintendo DS franchise are at more than 100 million units, Iwata said.

"It is in the power of game developers to invent things that gamers have never seen ? or even imagined ? before." "Frankly speaking, before the launches of the Nintendo DS and Wii systems, almost no one expected them to reach the current level of mainstream acceptance," President Satoru Iwata told the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

"It's even beyond what we possibly hoped for." "The market has expanded as video games have been accepted by more consumers than ever before."

The company also released its next-generation handheld console, the DSi, in Japan last November, and Iwata said total sales have so far have reached 2 million. The DSi will launch April 3 in Europe and April 5 in the United States. Nintendo's DS competes with Sony's PSP.

For the first six months after launch, consumers who buy the DSi system and connect to the Nintendo DSi Shop will automatically receive 1,000 Nintendo DSi Points, which can be redeemed for downloadable Nintendo DSiWare games and applications through the Nintendo DSi Shop.

Similar to how the WiiWare service works in the Wii Shop Channel, the Nintendo DSi Shop will feature a variety of downloadable Nintendo DSiWare games and applications. These games and applications will be available at four different price categories: free, 200 points, 500 points, and 800+ points. Consumers can purchase Nintendo DSi Points in the Nintendo DSi Shop with a credit card or by purchasing a Nintendo Points Card at retail locations for redemption in the Nintendo DSi Shop. All points from one Nintendo Points Card will need to be redeemed at the Nintendo DSi Shop. Nintendo Points Card will start to become available at select retail locations beginning Apr. 5.

Iwata gave conference attendees a glimpse into some of the upcoming Nintendo DSiWare games and applications such as Moving Memo (name not final) and WarioWare: Snapped!. Moving Memo (name not final) lets users create animated digital flipbooks of their own design, while WarioWare: Snapped! uses Nintendo DSi Camera functionality for a fresh gaming experience.

On the show floor, conference attendees are able to experience some of the Nintendo DSiWare games and applications that will be available soon. Bird & Beans and Art Style: Aquia are mini games that will be fun to play on-the-go.

The new The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks game that Iwata announced will utilize the intuitive touch control of Phantom Hourglass in an all new adventure that will please Zelda fans while keeping the game accessible to all DS owners. The concept behind this Zelda game includes utilizing a steam locomotive to travel around the world, switching Phantom and Link to explore the dungeons, and solving puzzles using new items.

In addition, Wii owners will be able to save downloaded WiiWare, Virtual Console video games, and Channels directly to High Capacity SD cards, in addition to SD memory cards, Iwata announced.

To play games that have been saved to SD cards, consumers will be able to select and launch them from an SD Menu icon on the Wii Menu. (Note that when launching games or channels from an SD card, an equivalent amount of internal Wii memory is required. To clear space from the internal memory, users can transfer games or channels from the Wii Menu to the SD card). This feature is included in the latest version of the Wii System Menu Update, which owners will receive immediately after performing a system update today.

Gamers will be glad to have that additional storage space, as the Virtual Console will expand to include the arcade versions of classic third-party games like STARFORCE by Tecmo Ltd., and Mappy, Gaplus and Tower of Druaga by Namco Bandai Games Inc. starting today.

Upcoming games Punch-Out!! and Excitebots: Trick Racing are available to play at Nintendo?s booth. Excitebots: Trick Racing, a new and refreshing take on the classic Excitebike series from the arcade and NES days, is slated to launch on April 20, while a new game in the classic Punch-Out!! series will be on store shelves on May 18.

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