Nintendo profits jump with consoles

Game maker reasserts lead as Sony falls

TOKYO -- Nintendo's net profit rose 9.4% to 145 billion yen ($1.47 billion) for the six months ending Sept. 30, the value of its overseas earnings from strong sales of its Wii and DS gaming consoles sharply reduced by the surging value of the yen.

The half-year results reported Thursday come a day after gaming rival Sony announced a 72% drop in quarterly profits for the period ending Sept. 30.

Kyoto-based Nintendo lowered its full-year forecast 16% two months after raising it, predicting that earnings for the fiscal year ending March 31 will be 345 billion yen ($3.5 billion).

Half-year sales rose to 837 billion yen ($8.5 billion), up 20% from 695 billion yen for the same period in 2007.

Nintendo sold more than 10 million Wii consoles and almost 14 million of its portable DS consoles during the period. On the software side, 81.5 million Wii games and 85 million DS games were sold.

Nintendo profits were boosted by the fact that it produces more of its games in-house than do rivals Sony or Microsoft.

The new DSi portable console with a camera and WiFi Internet launches in Japan on Saturday. Its global release is planned for 2009.