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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 13:12 GMT
Nintendo looks to next-gen console
Nintendo GameCube
GameCube: No longer an object of desire?
Nintendo has admitted that sales of its GameCube console are flagging in the face of strong competition from Microsoft's Xbox.

The company's president, Satoru Iwata, said that 10% fewer GameCube would be sold this year than expected.

Nintendo is vying with Microsoft for the number two spot in the console market, which is dominated by Sony's PlayStation 2.

Looking to the future, Mr Iwata said Nintendo was planning to launch a next-generation console in 2005 or 2006.

Fierce battle

Sales of the GameCube have been poor during the crucial festive season, compared to those of its rivals.

The console has struggled in the US and Europe and the release of big title SuperMario Sunshine has not quite had the impact Nintendo would have been hoping for.

Nintendo GameCube
When we withdraw from the home game console, that's when we withdraw from the video game business

Sarotu Iwata, Nintendo President
Nintendo now expects its console to miss its sales target of 10 million units by 10%, with software sales falling short of a 55-million-unit goal.

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Nintendo's president attributed the poor performance of the GameCube to a weak appetite for games.

"Consumers today apparently don't want to sit in front of the television to play games for hours and hours," said Mr Iwata.

During the festive period, Sony says it sold 8.5 million PlayStation 2s, while Microsoft says gamers in France, Germany and the UK bought more than a million Xboxes.

Part of the success was due to a pre-Christmas offer that bundled top selling games in with the console.

Nintendo can draw some comfort from its GameBoy Advance, which is still proving popular, helped by a new range of Pokemon games.

New console

The company is hoping some of this success will rub off on the GameCube, with plans to release new Pokemon games for console which can be played on the GameBoy as well.

SuperMario Sunshine
SuperMario has not boosted Nintendo as hoped
Mr Iwata dismissed speculation that Nintendo would pull out of the console market, instead talking about plans for a next-generation machine.

"When we withdraw from the home game console, that's when we withdraw from the video game business," he said.

"We are developing a new home video game console with a plan to release the new system around the same time as rival makers do."

"We will get ready for a battle in 2005 although foreign game developers are now saying that rival next-generation systems won't come until 2006."

See also:

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