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Game Boys for Grown-Ups?

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, January 16, 2003

Nintendo wants to sell Game Boys to grown-ups. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Nintendo has sold about eleven and a half million of its Game Boy Advance handheld devices in a little more than a year... and the company says most are being used by kids, 14 and under. But sales are starting to sag... .and so Nintendo hopes to reach out to an expanded demographic with an updated and more expensive version... the Game Boy Advance SP... .

"It's a very, kind of techie, kind of sleek looking kind of folding, compact Game Boy with a screen that is just as clear as can be. It has a light on it so you can play it with the screen lit or unlit and it's just got a tremendous number of hours on its lithium batteries which are rechargeable."

Nintendo marketing VP Perrin Kaplan. The new version goes on sale next month in Japan and in the U.S. in March for about 99 dollars... .30 dollars more than the existing Game Boy Advance. The new look makes it resemble a PDA instead of a handheld game device. Will twenty and thirty somethings buy them? Nintendo hopes the new look will make a difference. As with other game consoles, the real money is made in game sales...

"In the industry across the board, because people do spend a lot of time talking about the console systems, about 25 to 30 percent of every dollar spent on the industry, period, is spent on Game Boy. So it shows you really what a huge piece of the pie it is."

Nintendo, so far, has little competition in the handheld video game business claiming a market share of about 98 percent. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.