According to online reports from the press-only 'Nintendo Friends' exhibition in Madrid, Spain, Nintendo has confirmed for the first time that it is planning to release the Play-Yan peripheral in Spain (and, likely, other European territories) later this year, the first time the media player will be available outside of Japan.
The Play-Yan (or alternatively Play-Chan, depending on the translation), is an add-on device for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS which plays music and movie files from SD cards, supporting both the MP3 and MPEG4 formats. The device is also able to play games, with Nintendo making special downloadable games (most smaller than 1MB in file size) available in Japan, which are transferred from a PC to the Play-Yan via a SD card.
The device has proven popular in Japan, and is in significant demand via import stores, but is currently officially available via Nintendo’s Internet store. No indication had ever been made as to whether the device would be sold outside of Japan, with the new Spanish announcement, by Nintendo Spain's head of marketing Nicolás Wegnez and reported via website MeriStation.com, seeming to indicate a wider roll-out for the device, which mirrors many of the media playing functions of Sony's PSP.
The Spanish announcement has been made in conjunction with confirmation that the Game Boy Micro will be launched in that country this November. This mirrors earlier unconfirmed reports that Nintendo of America was planning to release the Play-Yan at the same time as, or in conjunction with, the new slim-line Game Boy Micro, though no official announcement has yet been made.
According to European reports, Nintendo of Spain are considering releasing two versions of the Play-Yan, one of which would only play MP3s, and the other a more expensive model that would have full video and audio functionality, and likely be targeted towards Nintendo DS users.
At the same time as these announcements, Nintendo of Spain also revealed that 150,000 units of the Nintendo DS have been sold in Spain since the console’s launch in March, exceeding initial expectations.