Nintendo Bets Big on Social DS System

The headline feature of Nintendo Co.’s forthcoming 3DS portable videogame system is the ability to play 3-D games without the need for eyewear, but it is the device’s ability to locate other players that may prove critical to its success.

The 3DS is the first major overhaul of Nintendo’s hand-held game system since it launched the popular Nintendo DS in 2004. With the 3DS Nintendo will upgrade how gamers can share information and play wirelessly with friends online.

Consumers are growing tired of the current DS hand-held. On Thursday, Nintendo said sales of DS machines fell 43 percent to 6.7 million units in the April-September period from a year earlier. Sales of DS software titles dropped 23 percent.

The Japanese company also reported its first interim net loss in seven years, hurt by weakening overseas sales and the strength of the yen. First-half revenue fell 34 percent to 363.16 billion yen ($4.44 billion) from a year ago.

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