August 14, 2008 / 9:02 PM / 11 years ago

Nintendo to boost drive in Latin American market

PLAYA BONITA, Panama, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nintendo plans a more aggressive marketing campaign in Spanish to corner Latin America’s growing games market and tap growing appetite for fitness and sports titles.

“The long-term economic potential of Latin America makes this an extremely important market for video games,” Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime told an industry conference in the Pacific resort of Playa Bonita on Thursday.

The campaign, which will go after non-core gamers, is expected to begin before the always busy Christmas season, but Nintendo 7974.OS did not say when it was due.

With its growing consumer base, Latin America has become an attractive market for companies looking to offset the current U.S. economic slowdown.

Nintendo, which made pop culture icons of characters such as Donkey Kong, Mario and Luigi, launched its Wii console in 2006. It become an instant hit thanks to its easy-to-learn motion-sensing controller, low price and innovative titles.

Wii outsold Sony Corp’s (6758.T) PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) Xbox 360, putting Nintendo in the leading position in a three-way game console battle.

“Nintendo has experienced phenomenal growth in the region over the past few years growth that has even surpassed what we have seen in the United States,” Fils-Aime said at Nintendo NEX Latin America 2008, which brings together software developers and distributors in the region.

Bill van Zyll, head of Nintendo’s operations in Latin America, said the region’s video game market could be worth $2 billion this year.

That is just a fraction of the global market, which is worth around $57 billion, according to research firm DFC Intelligence. (Reporting by Andrew Beatty; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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