In the wake of news from Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo yesterday revealed its next-generation Revolution console, and confirmed its powered by a PowerPC chip from IBM.
Like Apple, all three antagonists in the battle for console platform dominance have now turned to the PowerPC processor in some form, and all the chips are supplied by IBM.
While Nintendo made no attempt to offer performance specifications or pricing, it did discuss plans for WiFi connectivity for the popular DS handheld system and introduced the handheld Game Boy Micro.
Everybody's trying to change the world
"And now you say you want a Revolution. Well, we've got one," said Nintendo president Satoru Iwata.
The Revolution uses an IBM PowerPC-derived CPU code-named "Broadway" and "Hollywood", a graphics chip set designed by ATI.
Iwata showed a prototype unit, which he said may not be the final design of the Revolution when it debuts next year. The system is Nintendo's smallest game console yet.
It uses a slot-loading drive that plays new 12-inch optical discs containing Revolution games, but it will also accept GameCube discs. And with a "small, self-contained attachment," the Revolution will play DVDs. Game controllers are wireless using technology developed by Broadcom.
WiFi - Nintendo's unique selling point?
Nintendo describes the Revolution as being a "virtual console" capable of playing Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 games as well.
It has 512MB of internal flash memory (expandable with an SD memory card), wireless controllers, two USB 2.0 ports and built-in WiFi support.
WiFi is a key feature to Revolution. It will offer wireless online gaming connectivity and WiFi-compatible games. "I am pushing our team to make sure Super Smash Bros. is one of them," said Iwata.
Nintendo executive vice president of sales and marketing Reggie Fils-Aime didn't focus on performance but on the rich number of games the company has in the works.
More games and new handheld
GameCube titles include. "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess", Battalion Wars, Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix, Mario Baseball, New Super Mario Bros. and Pokemon XD. Planned Game Boy Advance games include Donkey Kong Country 3, Dynasty Warriors Advance and more.
Fils-Aime also revealed a new handheld gaming system, the Game Boy Micro. He compared it to Apple's iPod mini, saying the tiny gaming system was "just a hair bigger and two thirds the weight of an iPod mini." The system measures 4-x-2-x-0.7 inches, and weighs 2.8 ounces. It has the same processing power as a Game Boy Advance SP, and contains the brightest screen Nintendo's ever put in a handheld, according to Fils-Aime. The screen also features brightness adjustability for indoor and outdoor play.
Removable faceplates will let Game Boy Micro users customize the look of their systems. The Game Boy Micro draws its power from a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. And, in a move away from the design of the DS, Nintendo is equipping the Game Boy Micro with a standard headphone jack. It ships in autumn.