Nintendo Co. will soon launch a large-screen version of its DSi hand-held game console in Japan aimed at elderly people, a report said Tuesday.
Nintendo may introduce the new model, with a screen size twice as big as the existing version, by the end of the year, the Nikkei business daily said, adding the company was also considering overseas sales.
The company expects larger screens will attract elderly people who complained that the existing version is hard to look at, while leading to new applications such as reading electronic books and watching video, it said.
The price would be roughly the same as the 18,900 yen (200 dollars) price tag for the existing version, the daily said without naming its sources.
The DSi, the latest in the DS double-screen game console series, was released about a year ago with two built-in cameras.
It had a successful launch but monthly sales have since slowed to about a third of their peak levels, the Nikkei said.
The existing version has two 3.25-inch screens, about the same size as that of Apple Inc.'s popular iPhone. Nintendo will nearly double the size of the DSi screens to more than four inches, the report said.
That would make the screen close to the size of that of rival Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s PlayStation Portable.
Nintendo is also said to be planning to release a new version of the DSi with improved anti-piracy features in China and South Korea by the end of March 2010, it said.
The company would not confirm the report, which a spokeswoman said was based on "speculation".
Together with a stronger yen, sagging demand for game consoles pushed Nintendo's net profit down 60.6 percent in the April-June quarter from a year earlier, dousing hopes that the industry would be recession-proof.
Nintendo is to release first-half results on Thursday and hold a briefing on a management plan on Friday.
(c) 2009 AFP
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