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News > Companies
Gamecube to debut Nov. 5
May 16, 2001: 4:37 p.m. ET

Nintendo shows off the first footage of its next-generation console
By Staff Writer Chris Morris
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LOS ANGELES (CNNfn) - After nearly two years of silence, Nintendo has thrown the curtain back on the GameCube. The console system will hit U.S. stores November 5 beating Microsoft's Xbox to market by three days.

The U.S. launch comes roughly 60 days after the system's Sept. 14 launch in Japan. The GameCube will be available in Europe early next year.

Nintendo declined to reveal initial retail prices, saying it would announce those on May 24 at its annual meeting. It did, however, show the first in-game footage of the GameCube games, demonstrating the incredible power of its system. Graphics were truly on par with, if not better than, the Toy Story movies. The jagged lines that appear in so many of today's games were nowhere to be seen. And the crowd of reporters, analysts and industry insiders hooted and howled with approval.

"We are expecting the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance to be huge successes, no matter what other manufacturers are doing," said Peter Main, executive vice president of Nintendo of America.

Nintendo signaled its intention to come out fighting in the upcoming console wars. It enters the fight with default control of a key segment of the video gaming industry: the children's market. Neither Microsoft nor Sony has shown a great interest in making software for younger gamers. And Nintendo's stable of franchises, which includes Pokemon, Mario, and the Legend of Zelda, is bound to appeal to that segment of the market.

graphicMain said the company doesn't plan to focus just on young gamers, however. Speaking of the key gaming demographic (players in their late teens and early 20s), he said "we may have been a little soft with this market before, but Nintendo has its sites set on them now."

Ultimately, it's likely to be the games that help consumers decide which system to buy. Mindful of that, Nintendo is unleashing some of its heavy hitters to coincide with the Gamecube's launch. Leading the charge when the GameCube hits streets will be new games featuring Mario, Donkey Kong, Pokemon and others.

While Microsoft and Sony hasten to remind consumers about the DVD and other multimedia capabilities of their consoles, Nintendo said it is focusing solely on games.

Sole focus on games

"Nintendo has strong views on how we should run our company," said Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo. "We consider ourselves, above all else, as a gaming company. We believe other companies (in the console marketplace) see themselves primarily as technology companies."

To further this philosophy, the GameCube lacks a DVD drive, instead loading games from a proprietary disk just 8 cm wide, which can hold 1.5 Gigabytes of data. (That's less than a DVD, but 190 times as much data as a Nintendo 64 cartridge.)

Also, the processor fueling the GameCube is significantly slower than its competitors, something Nintendo has downplayed, saying the chip (a 405 MHz IBM chip dubbed the "Gekko") is tailored specifically for games.

The GameCube does offer a few innovative twists for the gaming industry. The system's controller will be wireless, allowing players to enjoy games from up to 30 feet away, without having to worry about tripping up family members trying to cross the living room. The machine will also feature a digital video cable outlet, making it compatible with high-definition televisions. And the Game Boy Advance will do double duty as a controller for the GameCube.

(The GameBoy Advance is set to hit U.S. shelves on June 11. It sold more than 1.6 million units and had software sales of 3.1 million titles in its first month in Japan.)

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The GameCube is much smaller than traditional console systems (Courtesy: Nintendo)
The GameCube also features an adaptor for both a 56K modem, which will be available at launch, and broadband connections, which will launch subsequently.

More important, though, the GameCube has the Nintendo stable of games to support it. Titles like Mario and Zelda are familiar, proven brands to gamers. And Nintendo is counting on the loyalty of that fan base to help drive its sales numbers.

Among the titles in the works are "Super Smash Bros. Melee" (pitting the superstars of the Nintendo world against each other), "Luigi's Mansion" (the latest Mario game, which pits the plumber as something of a ghostbuster, "Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II" and the sci-fi epic "Metroid Prime."

For a small system (it's roughly half the size of the Xbox), the GameCube packs a strong punch. Nintendo's master game designer Shigeru Miyamoto (the man behind the "Zelda" series, among others) grinned as he declared, "Let me introduce you to our new baby. Like all babies, it's small, but it will make a lot of noise." graphic





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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.