TOKYO:  The phenomenally successful Wii console has helped Nintendo to defy the downturn with a 9.9% sales increase to 1.839 trillion yen and an 8.5% profit increase to the equivalent of $2.8bn (€3.1bn, £4.2bn) against $2.5bn last year.

The Wii, which has a wand-like remote controller, has now caught up Ninendo's former best seller the DS console, each shipping around 26 million units in the year to March 2009. Nintendo also sold 220m Wii games, the most popular including Brain Age 2, Mario Kart Wii and Pokemon Platinum Version.

Wii has now breached the 50bn units barrier in just over two years, making it the fastest-selling games console to date.

The company is planning to broaden Wii's appeal by adding internet and video on demand to its offer. One of its marketing objectives is to persuade an older market, who will not necessarily be games players, to see it as part of the necessary furniture for a digital living room.

Announcing its results Nintendo acknowledged tougher economic times but said “the video game industry remained relatively stable in spite of the large consumer spending decline.”

However, the company is forecasting lower sales of 1.81 billion yen this financial year but predicts profits will rise 7.5% to reach $3bn.

Data sourced from Associated Press; additional content by WARC staff