More than 20 million consoles sold

Hit game console Wii powered Nintendo’s bottom line in the first three-quarters of the fiscal year ending in March, nearly doubling net profits to ¥259 billion ($2.4 billion).

Revenue for the first three quarters soared 84.7% to $12.5 billion while operating profit zoomed 135.1% to $3.75 billion, the company reported Thursday.

Encouraged by these numbers, Nintendo boosted its revenue forecast for fiscal 2007 from $14.76 billion to $15.5 billion and its prognosis for operating profit from $4 billion to $4.38 billion.

The company, however, left its net profit projection at the original $2.61 billion, citing the yen’s expected rise against the euro and dollar.

Wii made a big contribution to these numbers, moving 14.29 million units in the first nine months of the fiscal year and 20.13 million since its December 2006 launch.

In its first 60 weeks on release in Japan, consumers snapped up 5 million units, nearly three times more than Sony’s rival PlayStation 3.

Also, the Nintendo DS handheld has continued to sell briskly, with sales totaling 24.5 million units for the first three quarters.

Wii has been boosted by popular software, including Wii Fit and Wii Sports, appealing to hardcore gamers and previously nonplaying oldsters and women.

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