Nintendo chief confident about 3Ds

2011-01-28 12:21

Tokyo - Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said on Friday rival Sony was taking a different tack from his company and so he remains upbeat about his 3D portable game machine going on sale in February.

Iwata was responding to a question from an analyst about the possible threat from Sony Corp's successor to the PlayStation Portable, code-named NGP, or "next generation portable", announced on Thursday.

"We are more focused on drawing newcomers to gaming and appealing to a wide range of people," Iwata said at a Tokyo hotel. "What we do won't change because of what another company is doing."

Nintendo Co's 3DS - which goes on sale on February 26 in Japan for ¥25 000 ($300), and in the US on March 27 for $250 - offers glasses-free 3D gaming.

Sony is promising graphics quality on par with its home console PlayStation 3 with its NGP.

Critical feature

But NGP does not offer 3D - making that a critical feature that could determine the winner vs the loser in the ongoing competition between the two companies.

Pricing for the NGP has not been announced. Sony said it will go on sale late this year but did not give details on dates or regional rollouts.

On Thursday, Nintendo reported a 74% tumble in profits for the April - December period, with earnings battered by a surging yen and momentum waning on its home console Wii sales compared to the previous year.

Sony reports earnings next week.

Iwata acknowledged sales had lost momentum. But he stressed Nintendo, which makes Super Mario and Pokemon games, was at the top in market share, compared to Sony and Microsoft Corp in most regions.

Nintendo has so far sold 145 million DS portable machines around the world, outpacing the 64 million of the PlayStation Portable. Microsoft makes the Xbox 360 home console. It does not offer a portable game machine.

All game makers face a new challenge - the popularity of smartphones, including the iPhone, for playing games. People are also using other devices such as the iPod and iPad to play games.


Iwata said he was confident about the 3D technology in the 3DS, which his company has been working on for many years, and that in the end customers will decide which machine they want.

He acknowledged he was being more careful about commenting on the NGP after he angered some people by brushing off Apple Inc's iPad as "a big iPod Touch" last year.

"It is clear that it's trying to appeal to customers in a different way from us," he said of NGP. "But I realised I shouldn't even be talking about my first impressions."