Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co Ltd will likely launch a new model of its top-selling handheld player, the DS, in overseas markets by the summer of 2009, President Satoru Iwata said.

Nintendo will start selling the DSi, which can take pictures, play music and is slimmer than the current model, in Japan on Saturday for 18,900 yen ($192), in a move to revive slowing domestic sales ahead of the critical holiday season.

“Specific plans will be unveiled by our local subsidiaries, but an autumn or year-end launch would probably be too late,” Iwata told a meeting with analysts and reporters on Friday.

Nintendo previously said it planned an overseas DSi launch in 2009.

DS sales in the April-September fiscal first half grew 3 percent from a year earlier to 13.73 million units worldwide, beating Sony Corp’s PlayStation Portable by 2-to-1.

But in Japan, Nintendo saw its DS sales fall 64 percent in the same period, raising concerns that the market-leading handheld machine may be losing momentum in Nintendo’s home market.

Source: Reuters