Nintendo's DSi 'probably' Hitting US in 2009 Says Iwata

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With less than a month to go until Nintendo's new DSi hits the shelves of Japanese retailers, gamers in the rest of the world are wondering when they might see the revised DS. Nintendo hasn't given a clear answer to that question but indications are that it won't be going on sale outside of Japan anytime soon.

When Nintendo launched the DSi in Tokyo on Thursday, company President Satoru Iwata told reporters that Nintendo plans to launch the DSi overseas in 2009, but didn't elaborate further on which markets that plan applies to or when during the year the start of sales would come.

Later in the day Nintendo U.K. said the DSi would hit Europe in the "spring" and at a U.S. event, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said the device would not appear in the U.S. until "well into 2009."

And in an interview with the Nikkei business daily in Japan, Iwata said plans were to launch the DSi overseas "probably" in 2009.

The company can afford this less-than-aggressive approach to overseas launch plans because the current DS model is still selling well outside Japan, while sales at home have been flagging.

In the April to June quarter sales of the DS in Japan totalled 580,000 units, according to Nintendo's figures. That's sharply down on the 2 million units the company sold in the same period a year earlier. In contrast overseas sales in the same period totalled 6.36 million units, up from 4.89 million units in the year-earlier period.

To date, 23 million DS devices have been sold in Japan, roughly 1 for every 5th person in the country. Iwata hopes the new DSi will reinvigorate sales and said Thursday he wants everyone in Japan to own one.

This article was corrected at 1:20 PT on Oct. 5 because the original report mis ttributed the source of information on Nintendo's DSi European launch plans.

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