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Last Updated: Friday, 20 May 2005, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Long wait for Nintendo Revolution
Alfred Hermida
Technology editor, BBC News website, in Los Angeles

Nintendo Revolution
Nintendo is considering various colours but has not settled on one
Gamers could be in for a long wait before they get a chance to see Nintendo's new home console in action.

Nintendo officials at the E3 games expo in Los Angeles suggested that the first opportunity to try out the Revolution would be at next year's show.

The machine was unveiled on Tuesday but few details were given about the machine or when it would go on sale.

In contrast, rivals Sony and Microsoft have provided detailed technical information about their new consoles.

Just ramping up the specs does not guarantee success. Being the first one out of the box also does not guarantee success
Jim Merrick, Nintendo

Both feature powerful processors, as well as advanced graphics and display capabilities.

"Nintendo doesn't want to get into a specification shouting match," said Jim Merrick, the company's European Marketing Director. "I just don't think that it is relevant."

Numbers battle

The Japanese games giant has let some details trickle out about the Revolution. At its core will be a new processor from IBM, codenamed Broadway, and a graphics chip from ATI.

It will also be able to play DVDs, have built-in wi-fi, an SD memory card slot, and 512Mb of flash memory.

Absent from E3 have been any technical demonstrations of the technology, or any trailers of games for the console.

Microsoft's Xbox 360
Microsoft's Xbox 360 will be in the shops by Christmas
"Right now the battle is all theoretical, the battle is all about numbers that are really without a basis for the consumer, so we don't feel the need to jump into that," Mr Merrick told the BBC.

"Nintendo is not just trying to take the current paradigm for gaming to the next logical step, putting the processor of the month, the graphics chip of the week and as much memory as you can afford.

"That is not where we are going," said Mr Merrick.

Look and leap

Nintendo lags behind its rivals in the number of consoles sold.

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.

But Mr Merrick pointed out that this was more than just a numbers game. He said that Microsoft may have sold more consoles, but at a loss, whereas Nintendo was making a profit.

He said this was "a time of profitability" for the GameCube, as millions of people own the console and were buying games.

Sony PlayStation 3
Sony's PlayStation 3 is dubbed a "supercomputer for entertainment"
And the company seems in no rush to leap into the next generation of consoles.

"Just ramping up the specs does not guarantee success," said Mr Merrick.

"Being the first one out of the box also does not guarantee success," he added, citing past consoles that had fallen by the wayside.

Microsoft is rushing to be the first. Its Xbox 360 is due to hit stores worldwide before Christmas.

Sony is planning to release its PlayStation 3 in the spring of 2006. But is has not said whether this just applies to Japan or the rest of the world.

Nintendo has said the Nintendo will come in 2006, without offering any clues as to when during the year.


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