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Nintendo Ready to Rumble; Stock Hits All-Time High

Nintendo is ready for a major battle with Sony as the two companies prepare a campaign for the homeland in which Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is likely to be sidelined. The stage is set as Nintendo announced today that 400,000 Wii systems will be available at launch in Japan on December 2, roughly four times as many units as the PlayStation 3. Sony’s production problems will hurt the system’s performance this holiday season.

In the battle for control of the handheld market, Nintendo announced that it will ship 1.5 million Nintendo DS units in December in Japan, raising their stock price by 3.2 percent with a record high closing. Nintendo’s stock is up 88 percent on the year with news that the DS will sell 20 million for the fiscal year ending March 2007.

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Currently the Nintendo DS enjoys a roughly 5-to-1 lead over Sony’s PlayStation Portable in Japan with 5.8 million sold this year, compared to only 1.4 million PSPs. Overall hardware sales in Japan put PlayStation Portable in slightly better shape at 4.2 million units, but Nintendo DS still dominates the country with 11.5 million units. The trend towards the Nintendo DS appears likely to strengthen this holiday season.