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Nintendo drops aim for GameCube sales

Locked in a race with Microsoft in the lucrative video game market, the Japanese game giant says sales of its GameCube console are coming in well below forecasts.

Japanese game giant Nintendo says that sales of its GameCube console are coming in well below forecasts.

The company announced in a statement Monday that it expects to report sales of 5.6 million GameCube units for the company's fiscal year, which ended March 31. That compares with lowered sales forecasts, provided late last year, that called for sales of 10 million to 12 million units.

Nintendo has been locked in a contest with Microsoft to claim second place in the lucrative video game market, behind market leader Sony, whose PlayStation 2 console surpassed the 50 million-unit mark early this year.

Recent signs show Microsoft pulling ahead in the race, with the company saying it expects to have sold 9 million units of its Xbox console by the end of the company's fiscal year, June 30.

Several major third-party game publishers have said recently that they intend to scale back the number of GameCube titles they will offer, and major European retailers have said they may drop sales of the console.

Nintendo said in the statement that sales of its Game Boy Advance handheld player were doing better than expected, however. The company expects to report sales of 15.7 million Game Boy units for the fiscal year, slightly ahead of its target of 15 million.

The GameCube news prompted Nintendo to lower its financial outlook for the recently concluded fiscal year. The company now expects earnings of $550 million (66 billion yen) for the year, down from previous forecasts for $666 million in profit and from the $886 million it made a year ago.