Nintendo "Pokemon" U.S. presales top half a million

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Nintendo Co. Ltd. 7974.OS on Tuesday said it expects upcoming video games "Pokemon Diamond" and "Pokemon Pearl" for its hand-held DS player to be among the top-selling U.S. games of 2007, based on presales of more than 533,000.

The games, which are the latest installment in the popular animated “Pokemon” franchise that has spawned trading cards, toys and films, will introduce players to more than 100 new Pokemon characters, Nintendo said.

The new games will hit U.S. store shelves on April 22. Early orders are more than twice as strong as the presale numbers for “Pokemon FireRed” and “Pokemon LeafGreen,” which launched in 2004 and went on to sell more than 3.4 million units combined in North America.

DFC Intelligence recently said worldwide hardware, game and accessory revenue from Nintendo's DS and Sony Corp.'s 6758.TSNE.N PlayStation Portable, or PSP, systems should exceed $10 billion this year.