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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 May, 2005, 21:29 GMT 22:29 UK
Nintendo reveals its Revolution
Alfred Hermida
Technology editor, BBC News website, in Los Angeles

Nintendo Revolution
Nintendo is considering various colours but has not settled on one yet
Nintendo has offered fans a first look at its new home console, the Revolution, and announced a new model of its GameBoy handheld.

At a news briefing in Los Angeles, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata held aloft a prototype of the console that is due out next year.

Few technical details were given about the compact rectangular machine.

Nintendo is the last of the big three console makers to unveil its plans for a next-generation console.

Microsoft showcased its future console, the Xbox 360, last week, and Sony presented its PlayStation 3 on Monday.

All eyes are on Los Angeles this week for the world's largest video game show, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, E3.

Every year, thousands involved in the games business gather here to see what the future holds for the millions of gamers across the world.

Pocket gaming

In an attempt to grab some of the media attention surrounding Microsoft and Sony's new consoles, Nintendo talked up its accomplishments in the world of gaming.

In a event packed with fans at the Kodak Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, the Japanese games giant emphasised how it "owned the portable gaming space".

Nintendo GameBoy console
The new GameBoy will fit in the tightest jeans, Nintendo promises
Nintendo surprised many by unveiling a new version of its best-selling GameBoy, called the GameBoy Micro, due to go on sale in the autumn.

The tiny game player is just slightly bigger than an iPod Mini, but two-thirds the weight.

"No matter how tight your jeans are, the GameBoy Micro will fit in them," said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales and marketing.

"This is another morphing of the GameBoy for the fashion-conscious consumer."

Teasing fans

Those hoping for a close-up look at Nintendo's new console were left wanting.

President Iwata Satoru showed off a prototype of the Revolution, which will be significantly smaller than its rivals.

The key here is not what you are playing but how you are playing. We expect the Revolution will create entirely new genres to expand the definition of video games
Iwata Satoru, Nintendo

Nintendo aims to make it the size of several stacked DVD cases and the colour has yet to be decided.

The Revolution will play DVDs, have built-in wi-fi, an SD memory card slot, and 512Mb of flash memory.

But Mr Iwata was coy about providing detailed information about the technology powering the console.

Instead he said Nintendo was working with computer giant IBM and graphics firm ATI to ensure graphics that would make gamers "say wow".

He also tantalised fans by suggesting that the wireless controllers would be unique, without going into details.

"It is the game experience that will most separate the Revolution from its competitors," said Mr Iwata.

"The key here is not what you are playing but how you are playing.

"We expect the Revolution will create entirely new genres to expand the definition of video games," he said to loud cheers in the hall.

Third place

In a move designed to please fans, Nintendo said GameCube titles will be playable on the new console.

Players will also be able to download 20 years of Nintendo games from earlier consoles.

Legend of Zelda game
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is due for release at the end of the year
The Revolution is crucial to Nintendo. The company leads the way in portable gaming devices, but lags behind when it comes to home consoles.

According to analyst firm Jupiter Research, Sony's PlayStation 2 leads the way in the US with 43% of the games console market.

Microsoft's Xbox is in second place with 19%, and Nintendo's GameCube has 14% of the market.

To show there is still life in the GameCube, Nintendo said 60 new titles were coming out this year for the console.

Among them are four games featuring Nintendo's cute plumber Mario.

Officials also played a trailer for the latest in the popular Zelda franchise, entitled Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

The highly anticipated game is due to be released towards the end of the year.


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