Nintendo posts $456.6 million profit

Massive DS sales boost six-month net income by 48 percent; overall sales up to 69 percent, but outlook remains unchanged.

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Although the Wii won't be on sale for weeks, Nintendo is already enjoying robust financial numbers. Today in Tokyo, the company reported a 54.4 billion yen (around $459.5 million) profit for the first half of its fiscal year, which ended on September 30.

The figure is a 48 percent increase from the 36.63 billion yen (approximately $309.2 million) the company reported during the same period the prior year. The Kyoto-based game giant rang up 298.82 billion yen (approx. $2.52 billion) in overall six-month sales, a massive 69 percent increase from the 176.36 billion yen (around 1.49 billion) it took in from April-September 2005.

To anyone following the game industry, the reason for Nintendo's success will be unsurprising. The company announced it has sold more than 10 million units of its DS handheld this year, a trend which accelerated after the sleeker DS Lite was released this spring. So far, the company has sold 26.82 million units of the DS and DS Lite since the platform debuted in late 2004.

Brisk sales of DS hardware translated to brisk sales of DS software. New Super Mario Bros. has sold 6.76 million units worldwide since it went on sale in May. Another popular game, Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day, sold 4.59 million units during the April-September period--bringing its lifetime sales total to 8.51 million units. The game hit Japan in May 2005, arrived on US store shelves in mid-April 2006, and came to Europe in June 2006.

Despite its surging sales, Nintendo's full-year outlook remains the same since it revised the figure upwards three weeks ago. The Mario factory now predicts its net profit for its entire business year, which ends on March 31, 2007, will be 100 billion yen (about $850 million), a 20.5 percent increase from its previous estimate of 83 billion yen (about $705 million).

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