TOKYO — Nintendo says it will ship about 1.5 million units of its 3DS console in the first month after debut, promising to avoid the huge shortages seen with the launch of earlier versions, a report said Monday.
"It's important that we ensure a continuous supply," Nintendo President Satoru Iwata told the Nikkei in an interview ahead of the February 26 release in Japan of the device.
His comments come after the company warned last month that children up to six should not use the gadget because it could have an adverse effect on eyesight development.
The hugely popular Nintendo DS series has sold more than 130 million units worldwide since its release in 2004 and its new 3D version has already drawn keen interest from media and gamers.
The DS console series has attracted adults and first-time game players with a variety of game titles, in addition to luring experienced gamers and children.
But the company has often been caught out as updated versions of the handheld gadget have sold out a lot quicker than expected.
And in 2006 massive demand for the new DS Lite overwhelmed the company's ability to buy materials and electronics parts while producing quality products.
For months fans around the world could not find stores that had the consoles, while Internet auction sites offered the gadgets at inflated prices.
And the 3DS, priced at 25,000 yen ($300), looks set to be another huge hit as it allows users to play games in 3D without the need to wear special glasses.
It will go up against Sony's PlayStation Move system, which uses motion control and also has 3D, although the player must wear glasses enables users wearing special glasses to play 3D games using wand-shaped motion controllers.
The 3DS, which was given its first public showing in Japan at the weekend, will hit the US and European markets in March, and Nintendo aims to sell four million units worldwide by the end of that month.
Iwata did not clarify when Nintendo will introduce the 3DS in emerging Asian markets, only recognising the region's fast growth and its importance for the game market in the future, the Nikkei said.
He also brushed aside the assertion that games played on smartphones and through social networking services are snatching customers away from Nintendo, the Nikkei said.
"I haven't seen data that supports that claim," he said.
In a separate interview Iwata defended the company's decision to issue the health warning but said the console was not dangerous.
"We are being proactive about informing our customer, even though it may not necessarily be positive for our sales," he told the Wall Street Journal.
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