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3/26/2009
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Nintendo Wii Sales Surpass 50 Million Units

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata credited game developers for the success of the video-game console.

Nintendo has sold more than 50 million Wii video-game consoles since releasing the device in November 2006, the company's president said.

During his keynote Wednesday at the Game Developers Conference, president Satoru Iwata also unveiled a flash-based storage solution for the Wii and showed highlights of a new Nintendo DS game from "The Legend of Zelda" franchise.

As to the Wii's success, Iwata attributed it to the software built by game developers, which have also contributed to the more than 100 million units of Nintendo DS handhelds sold. "It is in the power of game developers to invent things that gamers have never seen -- or even imagined -- before," Iwata said, in a company release.

Nintendo on Wednesday launched through its online WiiWare service a firmware update that supports flash-based SDHD cards with up to 32 GB of memory. The need for more storage is a major complaint among Wii players.

On April 5, Nintendo plans to release in the United States the DSi, the latest iteration of the DS. The DSi, which has been available in Japan, will be priced at $170 and could evolve into a competitor of the iPod Touch, which is also a gaming platform and music and video player. The iPod is more expensive with a starting price of $229, but games are cheaper on the Apple product.

In February, the Wii and the DS continued to lead the video-game console market in terms of unit sales at U.S. retailers, according to the NPD Group. Sales of consoles overall, including the Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, rose 11% to $532.7 million.


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