LOS ANGELES (CNN/Money) -
Redesigning the Game Boy Advance once worked well for Nintendo. Now the company's hoping it can strike gold again.
The company unveiled the Game Boy Micro Tuesday, a smaller, lighter version of its most popular system. Measuring just four inches wide, two inches tall and less than an inch deep, the Micro weighs just 2.8 ounces, roughly the same as 80 paper clips. The machine will go on sale this fall. The company did not announce a sale price.
"This is not a new technology," said Reggie Fils-Aime, executive vice president at Nintendo of America. "It is a new look in that it has the best and brightest screen we've ever put in a handheld. It's also a new look in that no matter how tight your jeans are, it will still fit in your pocket."
The Micro will also be more customizable than previous versions of the Game Boy, with a removeable face plate, much like today's cell phones.
Nintendo hopes the Micro will help it maintain its leadership position in the handheld gaming space. The Game Boy (in all of its various forms) has sold over 177 million units since it was first introduced in 1989. The Game Boy Advance has sold over 28 million units in North America alone.
Previous competitors, including the Atari Lynx and Sega Game Gear, have fallen by the wayside, but the arrival of Sony's (Research) PSP may have changed the battle.
Released in March to critical acclaim, the PSP has not been quite as big a hit with consumers as some expected, likely due to its $250 price tag. Still, analysts expect the company to sell more than 7 million units worldwide by the end of 2005.
This will be the third handheld gaming system in as many years for Nintendo. Last year's Nintendo DS was a hot holiday gift, selling 500,000 units in its first seven days on store shelves. (Globally, more than 5 million DS units have sold.)