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Friday, 22 June, 2001, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
New Nintendo enters games wars
Gameboy Advance
Nintendo's Gameboy Advance: Big in Japan
The next round of the console wars has begun with Nintendo's new Game Boy Advance going on sale in Europe.

Nintendo expects to sell at least six million Game Boy Advances by the end of 2001.

Two million have already sold in Japan since its launch in March, and 500,000 units flew off the shelves in America after one week on release.

The new 32-bit Game Boy Advance represents a significant leap over its predecessor with a larger screen that can display 32,768 colours, a four player multiple link and a battery life of 15 hours.

Nintendo Gamecube
The Game Boy Advance can be used as a controller for the forthcoming GameCube
The handheld can be used as a controller with Nintendo's upcoming Gamecube console.

Console wars

The Game Boy Advance is the main source of funding for Nintendo's US branch, according to George Harrison, vice president of Nintendo of America.

"As much as 50% of our business in the US has been in the Game Boy area," Harrison said.

"It is not only important to be successful, but it will help us build a war chest for our upcoming fight with Sony and Microsoft."

The original Game Boy handheld console sold more than 110 million units since its launch in 1989, despite only having an 8-bit processor and a four colour LCD display.

Some analysts believe the upcoming console wars could be less fiercely competitive than first thought.

Nintendo is clearly aiming its products at children, whereas Sony and Microsoft are vying for the wider home entertainment market.

Sony and Microsoft's respective consoles contain DVD drives, and can be equipped for high speed internet connections. Nintendo's GameCube is cheaper, and does not play CDs or DVDs.

"You will absolutely have homes who will have more than one of these boxes," analyst Heath Terry said.

"In those homes you are going to have either an X-Box or a PS2 in the living room, but in the kids room you are definitely going to see GameCube."

Established
Mario
Nintendo: Instantly recognisable video game characters

With a strong lineage of recognisable video game characters such as Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong and Pokemon, Nintendo has managed to sustain its near total domination of the handheld market, seeing off contenders such as Sega's Game Gear and Atari's Lynx.

"Nintendo clearly owns the handheld gaming market," said financial analyst PJ McNealy.

"Nintendo has the advantages of all those established characters. That's something Microsoft doesn't have, a Mario Line that leads into the "Luigi" line, and Pokemon and so on."

The Game Boy Advance has a registered retail price of 89.99 and is on sale now.

See also:

24 May 01 | Business
Nintendo profits fall 42%
22 May 01 | Business
Nintendo GameCube to undercut rivals
18 May 01 | New Media
Nintendo steals march on X-Box
30 Mar 01 | New Media
Game Boy Advance impresses Japan
21 Mar 01 | Business
Nintendo launches new GameBoy
22 Jun 01 | Reviews
Nintendo fight back
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