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Nintendo Targets 50 Million GameCubes

by Steven Rodriguez - June 6, 2002, 9:18 am EDT
Source: Yahoo/Reuters

Perhaps it thought that 50,000,001 was just a bit out of its reach.

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Nintendo Sees 50 Million GameCube Sales by 2005

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese video game giant Nintendo Co Ltd said on Thursday it aimed to sell 50 million of its GameCube game consoles globally by March 2005.

It still has a long way to go, however, to catch Sony Corp's PlayStation 2, the dominant home video game platform worldwide with more than 30 million units shipped since its debut in March 2000.

Nintendo launched the GameCube last September and has set a shipment target of 12 million units for the business year that started in April, compared with Sony's target of 20 million PlayStation 2s.

President Satoru Iwata reiterated Nintendo's strategy of appealing to consumers with innovative games, rather than trying to build ambitious entertainment platforms like Sony's PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Corp's Xbox.

"We're reaching the limits of how far we can appeal to consumers by boosting the machines' performance or providing more compelling graphics and sound," Iwata told an analysts' meeting.

"For the past few years we've been looking for new ways to surprise people, new ways for them to have fun."

Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft all announced hefty price cuts last month for their cutting-edge consoles, aiming to expand their customer base as they jostle for the fat profits to be earned from software sales.

Iwata expressed concern, however, that the price-cutting fever in hardware may spread to software, where it could do severe damage to game makers' bottom lines.

"We have a sense of crisis, that price cuts in software could destroy the game industry," he said.

He also defended the company's policy of maintaining a huge hoard of cash rather than investing it in new businesses or elsewhere.

"We have 900 billion yen ($7.25 billion) but one of our rivals, Microsoft, has five trillion yen," he said.

"This is a high-risk business...There may come a time when we would have to make intensive investments."

Nintendo's shares ended 0.58 percent lower at 17,100 yen on Thursday, in line with a 0.76 percent drop in the benchmark Nikkei average.

They fell as far as 16,710 yen in the afternoon, their lowest since last September, and have shed more than a quarter of their value since the start of the year, due in part to worries about price competition.

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