Nintendo DS Lite
Itsuo Inouye  /  AP
A model shows a new slimmed-down version of the Nintendo DS game machine, the DS Lite, during a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday.
updated 2/15/2006 1:06:01 PM ET 2006-02-15T18:06:01

The Nintendo DS handheld video-game machine will work as a portable TV with a card equipped with a tuner and antenna that allows people to watch digital broadcasts, the company president said Wednesday.

An Internet browser feature is also in the works for the machine, which has two screens, including one touch panel. The machine already comes with a Wi-Fi wireless connection.

Nintendo said it has no overseas plans for the digital broadcast card but is considering offering the browser feature abroad.

Sales of Nintendo DS in Japan have grown to 6 million since it was introduced here in December 2004. That’s faster growth than Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance or Japanese rival Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 2, which took about 20 months to sell that many, said President Satoru Iwata.

The new features will help boost sales of the machine, and Nintendo is targeting sales of 10 million in Japan sometime this year, he said.

Worldwide, Nintendo Co. has sold 13 million of the machines since they first went on sale in November 2004 in the United States.

The Kyoto-based company, famous worldwide as the maker of Super Mario and Pokemon games, said the browser function will be available in June in Japan but did not give details of the dates or pricing for the digital broadcast.

Digital television broadcasting is set to start in Japan in April. Mobile phones that display digital broadcasts are already going on sale because digital broadcasts delivers better quality streaming video.

“We are aiming for an unquestionable proliferation of Nintendo DS as a gaming platform,” Iwata said at a Tokyo news conference to lay out strategy for this year.

The Internet browser will come from Opera Software of Norway, according to Nintendo. Users will be able to write words for searches on the touch panel, or use both screens to view Web pages.

Iwata also announced that a slimmed-down Nintendo DS Lite will go on sale in Japan March 2 for 16,800 yen (US$143), and will come in white, pale blue and navy.

Several games for Nintendo DS have sold a million units, including “Nintendogs,” in which puppies jump around in the screen and can be petted with a plastic pen. The software has been a hit not only in Japan but also in the United States and Europe.

The new kinds of games, including a brainteaser catering to the Japanese market that tests intelligence levels, are attracting older people and women, Iwata said. Traditional games that focus on sports, shootings and fist fights tended to draw young males.

New software being developed for Nintendo DS will turn the device into mobile dictionaries with translations in English or Chinese popping up on the screen. Another kind of software works as a dictionary for Japanese characters.

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