(Repeats to add INTERVIEW tag)

By Mari Saito and Reiji Murai

KYOTO, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Nintendo Co Ltd's year-end sales of its Wii U games console were steady, though not as strong as when its Wii predecessor was first launched, the Japanese game maker's top executive told Reuters on Monday.

The company, which grew from making playing cards in the late 19th century into the blockbuster Super Mario video game series, is pinning its hopes on the Wii U after posting a first operating loss last year, as gamers ditch console games to play on smartphones and tablets.

"At the end of the Christmas season, it wasn't as though stores in the U.S. had no Wii U left in stock, as it was when Wii was first sold in that popular boom. But sales are not bad, and I feel it's selling steadily," Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said in an interview.

Iwata gave no details on sales or forecasts, but said Nintendo needed to focus on developing attractive software for its 3DS handheld device to draw new users, and increase Wii U sales as it battles competition from popular mobile devices. The Wii U carries video content from Netflix Inc and Hulu, and has a dedicated social gaming network called Miiverse, which allows users to interact and share games tips.

Nintendo said in October it aimed to sell 5.5 million Wii U devices by end-March. Wii U, the successor to the blockbuster Wii machine, went on sale in the United States on Nov. 18. The company later said it sold more than 400,000 of the video game consoles in the first week. Wii U is also now on sale in Europe, Australia and Japan.

Nintendo sold 638,339 Wii U consoles in Japan between Dec. 8 and 30, according to data from game magazine publisher Enterbrain. The company has sold nearly 100 million of the original Wii units since its launch in 2006.

Rival Microsoft Corp sold more than 750,000 of its Xbox 360 console during the Black Friday week in November - one of the busiest U.S. consumer shopping periods of the year, beating sales of both Sony Corp's PlayStation3 and Nintendo's Wii U.


DOUBLE CHALLENGE

Iwata acknowledged the challenge of producing two Wii U models at the same time, as most customers wanted the premium package, which sold out quickly in many places, while there was a glut of the slightly cheaper Wii U model on store shelves.

"It was the first time Nintendo released two models of the game console at the same time ... and I believe there was a challenge with balancing this. Specifically, inventory levels for the premium, deluxe package was unbalanced as many people wanted that version and couldn't find it," he said.

Iwata noted a weaker yen would have little impact on Nintendo's profits this fiscal year, but would positively impact its foreign denominated assets.

Nintendo's Osaka-listed shares earlier ended down nearly 2.1 percent on Monday at 8,980 yen, and have fallen 15 percent since the Wii U was launched. (Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

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  • A Great Tech Rivalry From Long Ago

    <blockquote>This year, buying a video-game system will be different. Super Nintendo, for example, offers two configurations: with two controllers and the Super Mario World game for $150, or with one controller and noincluded game for $100. Additional controllers sell separately for $20, and Super Mario World sells for $50. Sega is offering its Genesis system with one controller and the popular Sonic the Hedgehog game for $130; with one controller but without the game, it's $100. Sonic the Hedgehog sells separately for $55. - <a href="http://w3.nexis.com/new/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T16244389789&format=GNBFI&sort=BOOLEAN&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T16244389793&cisb=22_T16244389792&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=11802&docNo=4" target="_hplink">The Dallas Morning News, December 1992</a> </blockquote> * In 2012, the great gaming rivals are Nintendo (Wii U), Microsoft (Xbox 360) and Sony (PlayStation 3). (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ceris/2507952469/">Image via Flickr user ceris42</a>).

  • The One Gift That Every Computer Buff Truly Appreciates

    <blockquote>What is the one gift that every computer buff truly appreciates? Floppy disks! Whether the object of your Christmas spirit is a novice "hacker" or an experienced programmer, a box of disks is always welcome under the tree or stuffed into a stocking. - <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=q5tdAAAAIBAJ&sjid=yVwNAAAAIBAJ&pg=4227,3911919&dq=computer+gift+ideas&hl=en" target="_hplink">The Telegraph-Herald, December 1988</a></blockquote> * Do you remember the days when the 'Save' icon <a href="http://www.hanselman.com/blog/TheFloppyDiskMeansSaveAnd14OtherOldPeopleIconsThatDontMakeSenseAnymore.aspx">was once a real object</a>?

  • iPad, Surface, Or KayPro?

    <blockquote>For anyone aiming at portability, the Kaypro II folds up into its own case. The machine is unbeatable at its price of $1,595 and includes Perfect Writer, Perfect Speller and other software programs. With a little dickering, you can often talk the dealer into offering a large discount on a printer to go with the Kaypro II and go home with a good combination for less than $2,000. - <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=q5tdAAAAIBAJ&sjid=yVwNAAAAIBAJ&pg=4227,3911919&dq=computer+gift+ideas&hl=en" target="_hplink">The Telegraph-Herald, December 1988</a></blockquote> * Kaypro filed for bankruptcy in 1992. <a href="http://oldcomputers.net/">Image via OldComputers.net.</a>

  • I Would Prefer It If You Didn't Affectionately Call Me That

    <blockquote>Among the other offerings for hard-core computer fanatics, who are often affectionately called propeller-heads, are multicolored propeller beanies ($10) and baseball caps ($12). - <em><a href="http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1990-12-05/business/1990339052_1_computer-paper-pillowcases-spreadsheets" target="_hplink">The Baltimore Sun</a></em>, December 5, 1990. </blockquote> * "Propeller-heads" has since fallen out of use in describing computer fanatics.

  • Kids, This Is What Printer Paper Used To Look Like

    <blockquote>For those who are convinced their significant others would actually sleep with the computer if given the chance, consider Spreadsheets, cotton-polyester percale bedsheets printed to resemble the ubiquitous green-bar fan-fold computer paper found in offices, right down to simulated tractor-feed holes along the sides. (The bars appear to be periwinkle blue, however.) A twin set, including one flat sheet, one fitted sheet and one pillowcase, costs $59.95. A queen set, with two pillowcases, is $79.95. Extra pillowcases are $19.95 a pair. - <a href="http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1990-12-05/business/1990339052_1_computer-paper-pillowcases-spreadsheets" target="_hplink">The Baltimore Sun, December 1990</a></blockquote> * We couldn't find an image of the tractor-feed paper bedsheets. Anyone still sleeping on them?

  • N.W.A. Meets MS-DOS

    <blockquote>Poetry Processor: Perfect for rappers, songwriters, poets, or teachers. Contains everything you need to write formal poetry, from sonnets to villanelles. Includes form editor, rhyming dictionary, and much more, $89.95 - <a href="http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue147/72_101_great_gift_ideas.php" target="_hplink">Compute! Magazine, December 1992</a></blockquote> * "<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1988/09/27/science/personal-computers-software-to-help-you-wax-poetic.html">Poetry Processor</a>" was made by Professor Michael Newman, "a protege of poet W.H. Auden and former editor at the Paris Review," <a href="http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-12735941.html">per a 1992 Article in Computer Shopper</a>. The Poetry Processor could run on the original Macintosh PowerBook, at left, which retailed for anywhere between $2,299 to $4,599, <a href="oldcomputers.net">per OldComputers.net</a>

  • Microsoft Office Costs HOW Much??

    <blockquote>The Microsoft Office for Windows: Four business applications in one package. Microsoft Word for Windows (word processing), Microsoft Excel for Windows (spreadsheet), Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows (presentation graphics), and Microsoft Mail Windows Workstation (electronic mail for PC networks). List price, $799 - <a href="http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue147/72_101_great_gift_ideas.php" target="_hplink">Compute! Magazine, December 1992</a></blockquote> * (For an eye-opening video demonstration of Office '92, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsTydF09hbg">check out this video from CreativeNights on YouTube</a>).

  • Remember When You Had To Pay For These Things? Part 1

    <blockquote>Speaking of fiddling with Windows, several companies have recently introduced stunning and often fun screensavers. Disney Software has just come out with the Disney Collection that I haven't tried but have heard a rave from one user. The Energizer Bunny, too, is a favorite. Prices vary, but generally screensavers can be found for under $30. - <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=6gYhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ZHYFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4148,3234112&dq=computer+gift+ideas&hl=en" target="_hplink">The Hour, December 1993</a></blockquote> * A version of the Energizer Bunny screensaver, to your left, <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/87992800/energizer-bunny-screensaverwallpaper">recently sold on Etsy for $4.50</a>.

  • Remember When You Had To Pay For These Things? Part 2

    <blockquote>Sharp has a new line of electronic address books. The Sharp OZ-8000 Wizard ($360) stores up to 1,500 phone numbers. Rolodex has gone high-tech with a 4-inch invention called The Business Card-- another gadget to store phone numbers. - <a href="http://w3.nexis.com/new/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T16244389789&format=GNBFI&sort=BOOLEAN&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T16244389793&cisb=22_T16244389792&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=144576&docNo=11" target="_hplink">Palm Beach Post, 1991</a></blockquote> * Ebay seller ewcm99 <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/Four-4-Sharp-Wizard-OZ-8000-Series-Electronic-Organizers-/221134122931?">tried to sell four Sharp Wizard OZ-8000s in October</a>, starting at $50 for the set. The auction received zero bids.

  • Death, Taxes And Scarcity Of Apple Products

    <blockquote><a href="http://oldcomputers.net/appleiigs.html" target="_hplink">Apple IIGS</a>: If you can find one, the Apple IIGS will probably please anyone who likes ot show off his or her creative abilities. At around $1,000 for the basic machine, the IIGS excels in its graphics and sound capabilities... Because the machine is a very recent introduction, it is about as easy to find right now as a game of Lazer Tag. - <em><a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=6gYhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ZHYFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4148,3234112&dq=computer+gift+ideas&hl=en">The Day, December 1986</a></em></blockquote> * You can <a href="http://oldcomputers.net/appleiigs.html">read much more about the Apple IIGS on the excellent OldComputers.net</a>.

  • Try To Wrap Your Mind Around This One

    <blockquote>Pioneer is pushing something called the Laser Karaoke System. First introduced in bars and restaurants, the Karaoke systems (from $700 to $1,600) give people at home the chance to sing-along with "visually exciting music videos." - <a href="http://w3.nexis.com/new/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T16244389789&format=GNBFI&sort=BOOLEAN&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T16244389793&cisb=22_T16244389792&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=144576&docNo=11" target="_hplink">Palm Beach Post, 1991</a></blockquote> * Karaoke, obviously, only became more popular from there. LaserDiscs, however? Not so much. (<a href="http://john-the-revelator-does-karaoke.blogspot.com/2011/01/siskel-and-ebert.html">Image via John The Revelator</a>).

  • Something Tells Me This Guy Won't Be Impressed With The Kindle Fire

    <blockquote>For $500, Sony's DATA Discman plays computer-ready books on a little screen. What can you do with it? "Basically, you just read the book," Sweeney says. - <a href="http://w3.nexis.com/new/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T16244389789&format=GNBFI&sort=BOOLEAN&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T16244389793&cisb=22_T16244389792&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=144576&docNo=11" target="_hplink">Palm Beach Post, 1991</a></blockquote> * An early forerunner of the Kindle and Nook. <a href="http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/technology/1010/gallery.ereader_history/index.html">CNNMoney has a visual history of the eReader here</a>.

  • Google Fiber, Eat Your Heart Out

    <blockquote>But a modem is needed to connect. Quickcomm of Milpitas, Calif., sells its Spirit II 14,400 bps (bits per second) modem for $250. Some distributors discount it to about $200. It also comes iwth FAX software. Many modems in that speed range are priced at $400-$600. As an example, I transferred a 220,000 byte [ed: .20 MB] file -- the equivalent of about 24,000 words -- in 16 minutes at 2,400 bps. That amounts to 3.45 minutes for transferring the same file, called downloading, with a QuickComm at 14,400 bps, a real savings if it's a long distance call. - <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=7_4hAAAAIBAJ&sjid=5tIEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2285,2107382&dq=computer+gift+ideas&hl=en" target="_hplink">The News-Journal, December 1992</a></blockquote> * If you've got the need for speed in 2012, you can <a href="http://www.a1usedcomputers.com.au/shop/prodView.asp?idproduct=1661">purchase a Spirit II from A1 Used Computers in Australia for $20</a>.