Consumers copy Nintendo games at Japanese convenience stores

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TOKYO -- Japanese video games devotees will no longer need to worry about not being able to get their hands on copies of popular games. Nintendo and Lawson, Japan's second largest convenience store after Seven Eleven, will start a new service next summer offering games-on-demand shopping for Super Famicon 16-bit games, using rewriteable flash memory cartridges. Consumers can make a copy of almost any Super Famicon game at Lawson's 5,904 outlets instantly.

Nintendo has sold 116 million units of Super Famicon in Japan so far. Both Nintendo and Lawson expect demand to continue for 16-bit games even though 64-bit games are taking over the market.

A game software recorder will be installed at every outlet of Lawson and game titles will be supplied from Nintendo by CD-ROMs. A flash memory cartridge will be sold for about 5,000 yen and the consumer pays between 1,000 yen and 4,000 yen to copy a game.

Test marketing will start in April and by the summer almost every Lawson outlet will provide the service. Lawson is the exclusively convenience store retailer, although Nintendo is looking for other retail channels to team up with to offer the service.

Copyright November 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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