Nintendo Co Ltd reported a 46.5 percent fall in nine-month profit, as sales of its aging DS handheld device tumbled ahead of the launch of a new, 3D-capable model.

April-December operating profit at Nintendo, which competes with Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp, was 158.8 billion yen ($1.93 billion), compared with 296.7 billion yen a year ago.

For the year to March, Nintendo left its operating profit forecast at 210 billion yen, down from 356.6 billion yen the previous year and compared with a consensus of 203.5 billion yen in a poll of 25 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company revised down its annual profit forecast by a third last September, blaming the strong yen and because it did not have the much-anticipated 3DS ready for the year-end shopping season.

Nintendo shares closed 0.9 percent higher ahead of the results announcement. The Nikkei average gained 0.7 percent.

(Reporting Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Anshuman Daga)