No Immediate Plans for iPod Competitor, Nintendo Says

Hand-held game player maker Ninetendo has no immediate plans to introduce a device with functionality found in the Apple iPod, that is until the company is sure it could compete against the dominate digital media device, a company executive told The Wall Street Journal Monday.

Reginald Fils-Aime, the head of sales and marketing at Nintendois North American unit, told the financial daily Nintendo will not be marketing its new hand-held game player, the DS, as a portable music or movie player.

Mr. Fils-Aime said that until it could develop a multifunction device that had iPod-like features such as playing music and manipulating photos, it would not try and compete with the iPod.

"If you deliver multifunctionality, it should be the gold standard," Mr. Fils-Aime said, giving accolades to the Apple device.

While saying it has no immediate plans to develop a device with iPod-like features, Mr. Fils-Aime did not categorically say Nintendo would want to ever compete in the portable media player market.

The comments came as Nintendo prepares for a vicious battle early next year against arch rival Sony, who is preparing to launch its first hand-held game player, dubbed the PlayStation Portable, or PSP, in the U.S. in early 2005.

While Nintendo isnit offering iPod-like features, the PSP from Sony is. The PSP will be able to play movies as well as videogames stored on a new kind of read-only optical-disk cartridge. PSP users also will be able to use the deviceis memory stick to store and play digital music in the MP3 format.

In the game player market, Sony is number one in the game console market, while Nintendo controls the hand-held games and game player market. Sony wants to be number one in game players and plans an aggressive marketing campaign in the U.S. next year to promote the PSP. Nintendo will do the same, spending US$40 million to sell the DS.