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Thursday, 24 August, 2000, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
Nintendo reveals new GameCube
Nintendo hopes its new GameCube will overtake the Playstation
Nintendo hopes to challenge the Sony Playstation
Nintendo has moved to reassert its position in the lucrative video games market by releasing details of its new games console, the GameCube, its replacement for the Nintendo 64.

But the new, smaller machine which will offer "superlative graphics and internet access," will only be available in July 2001 in Japan and October 2001 in the United States and Europe.


We don't have the motive of spreading our machines to the public so they will be later used as multipurpose audiovisual machines

Nintendo
The GameCube, which is only the size of a shoebox, will play smaller, 3 inch (8 cm) game discs, and have an infrared, wireless connection to the controllers. Unlike the new Sony Playstation2, it will not be able to play DVDs.

Nintendo also revealed details of its new GameBoy Advance, a new version of its popular hand-held games console.

It will have a new 32-bit graphics chip, eight times faster than the GameBoy's, and a liquid crystal screen 50% larger.

The new GameBoy, which will be compatible will existing games, will be available in March in Japan and retail at approximately $90.

Nintendo will also offer adapters to allow game playing via mobile phones.

The launch of the new GameCube machine, originally code-named Dolphin and scheduled for this Christmas, was delayed by difficulties in obtaining enough computer chips, disappointing software makers.

The video game market, which is now reckoned to be larger than the movie industry, has been the subject of intense competition in recent years.

Different approach

Analysts said that Nintendo would secure its dominant position in the hand-held market, where it has sold more than 100 million units worldwide.

But it would have more difficulty in competing with industry heavyweights Sony and Microsoft in the video console market.

Sony, whose PlayStation has sold 73 million units, has already launched PlayStation2 in Japan, and plans to bring out the new console in Europe and America on 26 October.

Rival Sega launched its Dreamcast one year ago, and Microsoft is planning to bring out its X-Box games console next autumn.

Nintendo does have one advantage - its popular characters like Mario, Zelda and Pokemon, which particularly appeal to younger age groups.

"They still have a huge hold on the little kiddy market," said Zachary Liggett of WestLB Panmure in Tokyo.

"Those who are going to survive and really bang it out on the hardware market are Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft."

Analysts believe that Nintendo was wise to stick to its strategy of being a games maker, and not try to directly challenge market heavyweights in building general home electronics devices.

"We don't have the motive of spreading our machines to the public so they will be later used as multipurpose audio-visual machines," said Genyo Takeda, who oversees research at Nintendo.

"We aimed for the best possible machine for playing games."

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See also:

27 Oct 99 | The Company File
Microsoft 'to enter game console war'
16 Apr 99 | Sci/Tech
Sega Dreamcast to spark price war
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