While gamers in Japan will have been able to get their hands on the new Nintendo DSi on Saturday, it seems the new handheld is likely to launch in overseas markets by next summer.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, said: "Specific plans will be unveiled by our local subsidiaries, but an autumn or year-end launch would probably be too late."

We've been told previously that the DSi would probably make an appearance on our shores around spring 2009, but if we didn't see it until the summer, we wouldn't be overly surprised.

The DSi, which can take pictures and play music as well as games, is currently on sale in Japan for 18,900 yen, which is arond £120, and it is hoped will help to boost the slowing domestic sales in the run up to Christmas.

Worldwide, the handheld has been performing well - growing 3% in Q2 compared with sales a year earlier and beating Sony's PSP sales two to one.

However, in the same period in Japan, DS sales dropped 64% which in turn made Nintendo want to concentrate the DSi launch purely on its home territory before shipping worldwide.

Nintendo said it has shipped 200,000 units of the DSi for sales for the past weekend, and plans to ship an additional 100,000 units in the week starting November 4th.