Nintendo's president acknowledged Thursday the just-launched Wii video-game machine may have a problem with a strap that secures its trademark wandlike remote-controller to the player's wrist.
President Satoru Iwata also said Nintendo may raise its sales target for the Wii, which is selling out at retailers since it went on sale in recent weeks in the U.S. and Japan.
The console from the maker of the Pokemon and Super Mario games is locked in a fierce three-way battle with Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360.
"We are investigating," Iwata said of reports about the Wii's strap coming off as players swung around the controller, at times causing the remote to fly out of their hands.
Players use the Wii remote like a tennis racket, sword and other devices to play games.
"Some people are getting a lot more excited than we'd expected," Iwata said. "We need to better communicate to people how to deal with Wii as a new form of entertainment."
The company has not decided on any specific measures to change the strap, Nintendo spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa said.
Iwata said he first wants to see how Christmas sales go before revising Nintendo's sales target for 6 million Wii consoles by the end of March.
"I'm not ruling that out entirely, but it's premature to say it now," he said at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo.
Nintendo has delivered more machines so far to consumers than Sony Corp. has, partly because of Sony's production problems.
Nintendo has shipped about 400,000 Wii machines in Japan and more than 600,000 in North America. The machine went on sale Thursday in Australia and is set to go on sale Friday in Europe.
Sony readied just 100,000 PlayStation 3 machines for the Japan launch, and 400,000 consoles for its U.S. debut. Its European launch has been pushed back until March.
Sony has promised 2 million PS3 machines by the end of the year, while Nintendo is targeting 4 million in global shipments of Wii during the same period. Both Sony and Nintendo are projecting selling 6 million by the end of March.
Selling machines in numbers is crucial in the gaming business because hot-selling formats attract software companies to make more games, which in turn boost machine sales.
Iwata denied that Nintendo was competing against Sony. It's more important to attract novice players and to reach out to older people and others usually not associated with games, he said.
Analysts say Wii appeals to inexperienced players and has a price advantage at 25,000 yen or US$250 -- about half of the PlayStation 3.
Analysts expect Wii to mount a serious challenge to market-leader Sony, which has sold more than 200 million PlayStation series machines worldwide over the years, although they say the verdict on next-generation machines is still out for a couple of years.
Sony is expecting to rack up 200 billion yen (US$1.7 billion) in red ink in its game unit for the fiscal year ending March 2007, much of it in startup costs for PlayStation 3.
Nintendo is forecasting profit of 100 billion yen (US$845 million) for the fiscal year, as Wii buoys earnings in the second half. (AP)