Slave to the Game

Filling you in on the oddball gaming news

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Nintendo said Thursday profits more than doubled in the six months to Sept. 30 on the roaring success of its hit Wii and Nintendo DS game consoles.

The Japanese manufacturer of Pokemon and Super Mario games said its group net profit surged to 132.42 billion yen ($1.16 billion) in its fiscal first half from 54.35 billion a year earlier

Group sales also more than doubled to 694.80 billion yen ($6.07 billion) from 298.82 billion yen, with 78% of sales booked overseas.

The strong results spurred Nintendo to raise its profit forecast for the year through March to 275 billion yen ($2.40 billion), up from the 245 billion yen it forecast in July. Sales are forecast to rise 10% to 1.55 trillion ($13.55 billion).

The earnings underline the Kyoto-based company's success in a three-way battle of video game consoles against Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360. Nintendo's U.S. arm is based in Redmond, Wash., as is Microsoft.

With its wandlike remote control for fishing, golfing, tennis and other video games, Nintendo's Wii console has won over fans from young children to elderly rehab patients. Nintendo has announced a further lineup of Wii accessories: a floor pad for exercise and dancing, a steering wheel for driving games and a gun-shaped "zapper" for shooting.

The company shipped about 3.9 million Wii units around the world in the last three months, according to numbers announced Thursday, bringing the total since its launch last year to 13.2 million units — 5.5 million in North America, 3.7 million in Japan and 4.0 million elsewhere. Nintendo said it expects to sell a total of 17.5 million Wiis during the fiscal year.

Nintendo's impressive comeback in recent years is also due to its lineup of low-cost, casual software — the sort of games anyone of any age can quickly learn to play.

Titles like Nintendogs, Brain Age and Nintendo Cooking have propelled sales of the portable DS, which stands for "dual screen," making it the most popular of the current generation of consoles.

Nintendo has already sold 53.6 million DS consoles, and sales are still strong. Unit sales in the last six months — 13.35 million units — rose 32% from the same period last year. The company said it expected to sell 28 million DS units in the year ending March.

Nintendo shares, one of the best performers among major Japanese listings, added 1.3% to 69,800 yen ($610.01) before earnings were announced.

Korn have taken their love of video games one step further by recording an original song inspired by the upcoming Ubisoft game, Haze.

The song, inventively titled "Haze," will be released as a single and video to coincide with the release of the Haze video game. It will also be made available for purchase at online music sites.

"This partnership with Korn is original in the video game industry in that the song will be released and promoted as a full-fledged single, and not just as a download with the video game," says Ubisoft worldwide licensing VP Christian Salomon. "It is a testament to the synergy possibilities between music and video games, which often share the same audience."

"Gaming for me is a religion, and Haze is the shit," says Korn frontman Jonathan Davis. "I had to come up with a track that can hit up that kind of rush I get from the game, and I think we really rocked it."

Korn have sold more than 30 million records worldwide. The Bakersfield, California nu-metal band's untitled album, released in July, continued their streak of strong sellers.