Kidman set to train her brain with Nintendo

By Craig Zammit

JAPAN: Nintendo Co. Ltd. has announced Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman as the new face of its forthcoming Nintendo DS handheld gaming title ‘More Brain Training from Dr Kawashima: How Old Is Your Brain?’

The new game, which is the sequel to Nintendo’s runaway success DS title ‘Brain Training’, tests user’s intelligence and aptitude through a range of puzzles, questions and challenges in an attempt to improve the user’s ‘brain age’ – essentially a reflection of the user’s intellect.

The Hollywood star, who recently celebrated her 40th birthday and is set to star in the new horror/sci-fi film, ‘The Invasion’, has already shot print and TV spots to promote the title.

“I love the concept that Nintendo is reaching out to new audiences with their self improvement products like Brain Training,” said Kidman.

“Most importantly, I’ve quickly found that training my brain is a great way to keep my mind young,” she said.

Nintendo recently eclipsed Sony Corp. in market value to become one of Japan’s 10 most valuable companies, as it briefly joined global household names such as Toyota, Honda and Canon on the top-10 list before its earlier share gains were erased, ending the day lower and in 11th place.

The brief jump onto the top-10 list however signified a potential changing of the guard in the video game industry, with Sony’s decade-long dominance being truly challenged by the Kyoto-based gaming giant.

With the Wii currently outselling Sony’s PlayStation 3 console three-to-one in Nintendo-friendly Japan and two-to-one in the United States, its no surprise the company now sits on top of Panasonic maker Matsushita Electric Industrial Co in the list of Japan’s most valuable companies.

"It is becoming quite clear that Nintendo is taking back its market share from Sony in the console market while well defending its stronghold of portable games," Mizuho Securities analyst, Takeshi Koyama, told the International Business Times.

"I don’t think this is a case of Sony being in bad shape as a company. Rather, Nintendo is doing well with the Wii," Daiwa SB Investments chief strategist – equity management department, Soichiro Monji, told the IBT.

"However if you look at Nintendo’s price-to-earnings ratio it is quite high. So I think the stock has largely factored in some of the future growth."

Nintendo’s stake in the $30 billion games industry has been steadily improving since it’s move towards intorduicng gaming titles for those markets other than the traditional gamer, with titles such as ‘Brain Training’ and ‘Nintendogs’ opening up the market for the DS, and the Wii console employing an entirely unique control method Nintendo accessible to all ages.

Interestingly, Sega Sammy Holdings has announced it will cut the number of new titles in production for Sony consoles by 45 per cent to 42, while almost doubling the number of new software titles for Nintendo hardware to 49 in the year leading to March 2008.

North American NPD figures for May 2007 also revealed that the Wii console has sold more units in North America than the combined sales of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3.

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