TOKYO — Booming year-end sales of the wand-wielding Wii game console sent profit at Nintendo Co. soaring 43% for the nine months ended in December, the Japanese manufacturer of Pokemon and Super Mario games said Thursday.
Nintendo, which also makes GameBoy Advance and Nintendo DS hand-held consoles, recorded profit of 131.9 billion yen ($1.1 billion) in the first nine months of the fiscal year, up dramatically from 92.2 billion yen the same period a year earlier.
The company did not break down quarterly numbers.
Sales soared 73% to 712.6 billion yen during the April-December period, the Kyoto, Japan-based company said.
Nintendo's Wii is embroiled in a head-to-head battle in next-generation home game consoles against sector leader Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3, which has been plagued with production problems.
Wii, inspired by the English word "we," has benefited from its fun image built around the wand-like remote controller that players wave around like a tennis racket, fishing rod, drumstick or gun, depending on the game.
Nintendo said it sold 3.19 million Wii consoles worldwide, 1.25 million in the Americas and 1.14 million in Japan.
The company said it had met its target of 4 million units shipped by the end of 2006 as that number had been manufactured and were still getting distributed, spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa said.
He said Nintendo was well on its way to reach its target of global shipment for 6 million Wii machines by March 31, the end of the current fiscal year, and would have manufactured 7 million Wii machines in fiscal 2006.
This month, Sony said it shipped 2 million PlayStation 3 machines worldwide by mid-January, falling about two weeks behind its initial plan in shipments in Japan.
The PS3's launch in Europe has been delayed until later this year. Sony is also targeting shipping 6 million PS3 machines by March 31.
Nintendo said it was also marking robust sales with its Nintendo DS portable, totaling 18.88 million units sold worldwide in the first three quarters.
In-house game software sales, which are crucial for boosting profitability for game companies, also did well for Nintendo, it said.
Successful Nintendo titles included "New Super Mario Bros.," "Brain Age" and "Nintendogs" for DS, and "The Legend Zelda: Twilight Princess," for Wii.