- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

TOKYO (AP) - Global sales of the Nintendo DS handheld topped 100 million in 4 years and 3 months _ a milestone reached at the quickest pace for any video game console _ the Japanese manufacturer said Thursday.

Worldwide sales of the DS, which hit stores in November 2004, topped 100 million on March 6, Kyoto-based Nintendo Co. said in a release.

The number combines sales for the original DS, the improved DS lite, and the third-generation Nintendo DSi, already on sale in Japan and planned for overseas markets next month.

“We are hoping to be accepted and loved by everyone by delivering novel entertainment and surprises so that there will be not only a Nintendo for every household but a Nintendo for every person,” said the company, which also makes the Wii home console.

Nintendo, the maker of Pokemon and Super Mario games, said it took 11 years and 2 months for GameBoy, the predecessor to the DS, to reach 100 million in global sales.

The Game Boy series was introduced in 1989, and reached global cumulative sales of 118 million. The Game Boy Advance, which followed, sold another 81 million, according to Nintendo.

The other big name in portable gaming, the PlayStation Portable from Japanese electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp., has also sold relatively briskly but nowhere close to the DS numbers.

Sony Computer Entertainment, the Tokyo-based company’s gaming unit, said the PSP’s cumulative global sales totaled 50 million as of February. The PSP first went on sale in 2004.

Compared to Sony, which has long appealed to hard-core gamers, Nintendo has scored a hit with easier-to-play games that appeal to newcomers to gaming, including the elderly and women, such as physical fitness and music-making games.

The DS comes with a touch panel, making it possible to play some games without dealing with complex button-pushing.

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