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Nintendo Battles Back

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Nintendo battles back. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The company that has dominated the handheld video game market for years with the GameBoy and its successors… including the new DS….is facing serious competition for the first time. Sony's PSP has attracted more than a million buyers since its U.S. launch in March. Besides games, it can play movies and digital music. Now, Nintendo Vice President George Harrison tells us, a music and video playing add-on for the DS, may arrive in the U.S. this year…

"We're looking at the business model right now. It's been launched in Japan just a couple of months ago and we're trying to understand how we should bring that. So we sell it as an accessory as a one time sale? Or do we actually form a partnership of some type? And so those discussions are underway." And what is it selling for in Japan? "It's selling an equivalent of about 39 dollars."

The DS itself is priced at about 100 dollars less than Sony's PSP. But the real battle, says Harrison, will be over games. Blockbuster titles can make or break video game machines…

" We've got some interesting titles coming up trying to attract casual gamers as well. A game called Nintendogs is a virtual pet that will react to your voice… it allows you to really treat that pet as if it was alive. Coming in the fall we've got games like Metroid Prime Hunter as well as Mario Cart."

And Nintendo is still selling its GameBoy Advance handhelds…which may attract parents with its under 80 dollar price. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.