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Nintendo DS handheld sales surpass 5 million

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Nintendo Co., the video-game machine maker trying to recover from an annual loss, said its 3DS portable console surpassed more than 5 million units sold in the U.S.

Nintendo in June sold more than 155,000 of the 3DS console, more than 150,000 of its older Nintendo DS portable and almost 95,000 Wiis, the company said in an e-mailed statement today, citing data from researcher NPD Group.

The company, based in Kyoto, Japan, said it held a 75 percent market share for portable-hardware sales for the second consecutive month. Early sales of the machine introduced last year, which enables users to play glasses-free 3D games, were constrained by the supply of new games and by what then were the prices for both consoles and software, Nintendo has said.

The company lost almost half a billion dollars in the fiscal year ended March 31, on declining sales of its Wii home console and competition from games players on Facebook Inc.’s social network, Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s mobile devices and other platforms.

On Aug. 19, Nintendo will begin selling the 3DS XL, which features 90 percent-larger screens, and a new “Super Mario” game, the company said. Also this year, Nintendo will begin offering Wii U, the video-game industry’s first new home console since 2006.

The company, the creator of the “The Legend of Zelda,” predicts that a 37 percent jump in sales of the 3DS, together with the introduction of its new Wii U console, will help drive a return to profit this fiscal year.

The 3DS XL’s upper screen, which can display 3-D images, will be enlarged to 4.88 inches compared with the existing model’s 3.53 inches, Nintendo said.

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