Nintendo hit by delay to 3D games console

Nintendo has delayed the launch of the first handheld console to offer 3D viewing without the need for special glasses, missing the Christmas season and forcing the group to slash its full-year profit forecasts.

The 3DS will launch in Japan at the end of February, costing ¥25,000 (£189) before arriving in the US, Australia and Europe the following month. Nintendo said the company did not feel the device was fully ready to hit the shops before Christmas.

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's president said: "At first we thought it would be desirable to launch the 3DS within the year, so we made our forecasts on that basis. At this point it is clear that if we launch within the year, we will not be able to supply enough units."

At the same time it revealed it had cut net profit forecasts from ¥200bn to ¥90bn. The gaming giant blamed the "stronger-than-expected yen appreciation, current sales performance, the sales outlook for the holiday season and the decided release conditions for the Nintendo 3DS".

Despite the downbeat profit forecast, the company was still bullish over sales expectations for the 3D device, predicting sales of four million devices in its first month.

The group is backing the 3DS to boost sales, as the initial DS – which was launched six years ago – and its Wii console have lost momentum. It also faces increased competition from gaming on smartphones.

The 3DS was unveiled at the gaming industry showpiece event E3 in Los Angeles, this June.

At the analysts presentation yesterday, Mr Iwata also revealed Nintendo has a partnership with Fuji TV to stream 3D video content to the handheld.

The console market is increasingly competitive, as Sony and Microsoft are set to launch motion-sensing gaming to rival Nintendo's Wii in time for Christmas.