• Kyodo

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Nintendo Co. expects cumulative global shipments of Game Boy portable video game machines to exceed 100 million units by the end of this week, company officials said Wednesday.

Nintendo, based in Kyoto, released the first model of Game Boy in April 1989. No other Japanese manufacturer has delivered more than 100 million units of a video game machine.

The popularity “may have resulted from its relatively low price and the easy-to-operate aspect,” said Nintendo Director Hiroshi Imanishi.

In 1996, sales accelerated after the release of the first version of Pokemon game software. In the four years since, more than 50 million units have been delivered, Nintendo said.

In March 1999, cumulative shipments were just less than 80 million units. Since the releases of new Pokemon games, however, sales have grown dramatically, the company said.

Nintendo has been struggling in the market for larger television-linked video game machines in the face of strong competition from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., which markets the PlayStation machines.