Nintendo jumps on talk of 3DS add-on, revamp

PARIS/TOKYO Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:08am EDT

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PARIS/TOKYO (Reuters) - Shares of Nintendo Co Ltd surged more than 8 percent on Tuesday amid expectations the Japanese video game maker is taking steps to shore up lackluster sales of its 3DS handheld games player.

Dow Jones Newswires and other media reported that Nintendo would hold a trade show for its 3DS device next month in Tokyo, which caused some to speculate the firm will announce details on how it will improve sales of the 3D-capable device.

French technology website 01net also helped spur buying with a report the Kyoto-based company was developing a joystick for the 3DS while working on a new version of the games player for release next year.

The peripheral device would be aimed at overcoming the lack of a second analog joystick controller, widely seen as needed for a superior gaming experience, the website reported, citing a source close to the company.

Nintendo has also asked certain game developers to come up with new titles that would be specifically designed for a dual-controller game, the website added.

A Nintendo spokesman in Japan declined to comment on the reports.

Nintendo shares jumped 8.4 percent to close at 13,100 yen on the Osaka Securities Exchange.

"There is no investment decision behind the rise. There's an element of short-covering," said a trader at a European brokerage, adding that news of the 3DS trade show in Tokyo on September 13 helped fuel the stock's rally.

"People are expecting that there will be some announcement."

Nintendo launched the 3DS in February to fend off growing competition from other games companies, as well as makers of smartphones and tablets, but a limited selection of new software for the device led to lower-than-expected sales.

In July, Nintendo slashed its full-year profit forecast, after posting an operating loss in the April-June quarter, in part due to sluggish 3DS sales.

In a bid to lift sales, the company behind the Super Mario franchise cut the price of the 3DS by 40 percent to 15,000 yen ($195.39) in Japan and by nearly one-third in the United States to $169.99.

01net also cited various sources as saying that Nintendo was developing a replacement for the 3DS -- originally heralded for its ability to provide a three dimensional gaming experience without the use of external glasses -- which would de-emphasize the significance of 3D and be released sometime next year.

($1 = 76.770 Japanese Yen)

(Reporting by Christian Plumb in Paris and; James Topham and Ayai Tomisawa in Tokyo; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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