Nintendo DS Japan sales jump on Dragon Quest

TOKYO, July 16 (Reuters) - Nintendo Co Ltd 7974.OS sold more than twice as many units of the DS game player last week in Japan as it did the week before, helped by the latest version of Square Enix's 9684.T "Dragon Quest" game, a research firm said.

Demand for video game machines had been showing signs of slowing down worldwide, making investors wonder if the current expansion phase will soon come to an end.

Nintendo sold 126,786 units of the DS portable video game machine in the week ended July 12, up from 51,601 units in the previous week and exceeding the 100,000-unit mark for the first time in about half a year, Ascii Media Works said on Thursday. Square Enix Holdings Co Ltd launched “Dragon Quest IX”, the latest in its role-playing game series, on July 11 in Japan, and sold 2.32 million units in the first two days, the research firm said.

Shares in Nintendo, which is locked in a three-way battle with Sony Corp 6758.T and Microsoft Corp MSFT.O in the global video game industry, closed up 0.7 percent at 25,950 yen, roughly in line with the benchmark Nikkei average .N225. (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka)