Japan up on Nintendo

Company to launch more titles, ship more units

Japan’s Big Three vidgame makers plan to launch more titles and ship more units for Nintendo’s game systems, including its smash hit Wii console, than for the PlayStation 3 and other competing Sony products in fiscal 2007, according to a Nikkei newspaper survey.

Namco Bandai will up its Nintendo titles by 109% to 115; Sega by 96% to 49; and Capcom by 5% to 20. Meanwhile, the three majors intend to cut shipments of titles for Sony machines by 30%-40%.

Shipments of Nintendo titles will total 26.88 million units in fiscal 2007 vs. 23.29 million units of Sony game software. Capcom alone will boost its Nintendo shipments 81% to 4.7 million units.

Besides brisk worldwide demand for Wiis, which are outselling PS3s two to one in the U.S. and three to one in Japan, gamemakers are attracted to the Wii because of its lower development costs as compared with the far more sophisticated PS3. Square Enix, another Japanese software major, has no plans to develop titles for the PS3 until sales improve enough to make the steep development costs financially worthwhile.

In a related development, Nintendo’s market value briefly surpassed Sony’s on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday — a company first and another indication of the reversal of fortune between the two game biz rivals. Nintendo’s share price hit a record ¥46,350 ($376.80), boosting its market value to $53.4 billion, ahead of Sony’s, even though Nintendo is a game specialist while Sony is a global electronics and entertainment powerhouse with a far more diverse product range.

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