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Thursday, 23 August, 2001, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Nintendo delays US GameCube launch
A test version of the GameCube
Nintendo relies heavily on the lucrative US market
Japanese game maker Nintendo has postponed the US launch of its new GameCube console by nearly two weeks to 18 November.

The postponement means that the GameCube will now appear on the crucial US market 10 days after the rival X-Box console, produced by Microsoft.

Nintendo denied persistent rumours that technical problems were behind the delay, insisting that the later launch was a more appropriate timing.

A GameCube console
The quality of GameCube games will be closely watched

"Given the favourable market reaction in the US to the GameCube at the May E3 trade show, we decided to move the launch date to make sure stores have enough product in stock to meet demand at that time," a Nintendo spokesman said.

The firm said that GameCube will launch on schedule in Japan in three weeks' time.

Nintendo, which exports 70% of its production, is heavily reliant on the US market.

Its shares have lost more than 10% of their value this month, as the dollar has weakened against the yen.

Shares in Nintendo fell by 3.75% on Thursday, heavily underperforming the Nikkei stock index.

Japan 'on schedule'

Nintendo plans to ship 500,000 of its new consoles onto the Japanese market by the 14 September launch date, and said its aim of 4 million worldwide shipments by end-March 2002 remained unchanged.

The company said three new game titles will be released for the Japanese debut, and it aimed to offer four additional titles by the end of the year.

The Xbox console
Microsoft's Xbox will debut first in the US

The quality of Nintendo's games will be crucial, since the GameCube lacks some of the sophisticated functionality of the X-Box and the Playstation 2, launched by rival Sony in March 2000.

The Sony and Microsoft consoles have the same processing power as the GameCube but also boast audio and video functions.

All three products are so-called "next generation" consoles, in that they combine some of the features of personal computers with established gaming technology.

There have been persistent worries about the launch of the GameCube, since a report earlier this month of design problems in the X-Box, and last year's glitches around the launch of the PlayStation 2.

See also:

15 Aug 01 | New Media
Microsoft denies Xbox delays
16 Jun 01 | Business
Microsoft settles Xbox dispute
28 Jun 01 | Business
Microsoft's business challenges
16 May 01 | New Media
Playstation 2 steps up its game
30 Mar 01 | New Media
X-Box steals the show
29 Mar 01 | Business
Microsoft's X-Box goes online
21 Mar 01 | Business
Nintendo launches new GameBoy
31 Jan 01 | Business
Sega scraps the Dreamcast
16 May 01 | New Media
Console wars at E3 show
07 Jan 01 | Business
Gates unveils Playstation rival
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