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Sunday November 2, 1:21 AM
Hundreds queue for new Nintendo console

TOKYO (AFP) - Hundreds of people queued to be among the first to buy Nintendo's latest games console on Saturday, as the Japanese electronic giant unveiled the DSi, featuring a built-in camera and enhanced sound.

Around 300 video game fans queued before opening hours at an electronics store in Tokyo's shipping district of Yurakucho to buy the third and latest model in Nintendo's DS line.

The first shipments of the DSi sold out before lunchtime at many shops in the capital's electronics district of Akihabara, retailers said, forcing them to place orders for more.

The new console, which sells for 18,900 yen (178 dollars), has a similar design to its predecessor the DS Lite, but is slimmer and has a slightly larger 3.25-inch screen.

It can be used as a photo album and enables users to change the facial expressions of the people in the pictures or draw flowers or other graphics into images.

The launch comes ahead of the crucial holiday season amid fears the global financial crisis is tipping Japan into a recession, where sales of consoles have been sluggish compared to the US and Europe.

The DSi will be launched overseas as early as next spring, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said Friday, adding that the company plans to introduce different coloured models alongside the current options of black and white.

Nintendo's net profit rose 9.4 percent to 144.8 billion yen in the six months to September. Operating profit jumped 34 percent to 252.2 billion yen as revenue increased by 20 percent to 836.9 billion yen.
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