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Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 18:55 GMT 19:55 UK
GameCube hit by attack fears
GameCube
GameCube: To compete with Xbox and Playstation 2
Fears that American sales of the GameCube games console will be hit by the US terror attacks have contributed to a fall in the share price of its maker, Nintendo.

The console is due to go on sale in the US in November, but traders are afraid that Christmas sales will be fewer than expected after the attacks.

Nintendo's share price has fallen by 12% in the last two days to its lowest point of the year.

"The attacks prompted the sell-off since investors are worried the incidents will chill consumers' Christmas shopping appetite for games," Nobumasa Morimoto, senior analyst at Tokyo-Mitsubishi Securities Co, said.

Advance sales

The attacks do not seem to have affected the appetites of consumers in Japan, where the console goes on sale on Friday.

About 500,000 GameCubes, priced at 25,000 yen (143) will be available, and advance sales are reported to be good.

Nintendo has built its name on characters such as Mario
Nintendo has built its name on characters such as Mario
"Around 80 percent of our 180 stores have sold out their first batch of GameCube," a spokesman for toy retailers Ito-Yokado said.

Nintendo aims to sell four million of the games machines worldwide in the next six months.

GameCube will be in competition with Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's Playstation 2, worldwide in the next six months, and is expected to take 35% of the market for 128-bit games machines, Mr Morimoto said.

Overseas

Nintendo's fortunes have also been hit by the strength of the yen against the dollar since hijacked planes were used to attack America on Tuesday.

More than 70% of its sales come from abroad, traders said.

But some traders are less pessimistic about Nintendo's prospects.

"Among game software makers, Nintendo is least vulnerable to a shrinkage in disposable income since its core fans are the kids who ask their parents to pay for it," Merrill Lynch analyst Ken Uryu said.

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