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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 October 2006, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Nintendo's DS still a key player
Japanese shoppers looking at the Nintendo DS
The Nintendo DS has been highly successful in Japan
Japanese games giant Nintendo has seen half-year profits rise almost 50%, thanks to strong sales of its DS games consoles and software.

The firm has successfully expanded its handheld game market, by developing games for older players and women.

The Kyoto-based company saw net profits of 54.35bn yen ($456.7m; 242.8m) between April and September.

Nintendo's next console, the Wii, will be competing against Sony's Playstation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360.

Sales in the period rose 69.4% to 298.82bn yen.

Nintendo upped its forecast for DS sales by three million units to 20 million consoles in the year to March 2007.

Easier play

With the Wii - pronounced "wee" - it is hoping to win fans among people who rarely or never play games.

In a bid to make it easier to play, on-screen actions are performed using a motion-sensitive controller.

Nintendo games are best known for characters such as Mario, Pokemon and Donkey Kong. However, games aimed at older players, such as Brain Training for Adults, have proved particularly popular this year.

The video games industry is worth some $30bn (16bn).

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