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Thursday, January 19, 2006
Revolution Available in North America by Thanksgiving


Nintendo's President said that the Revolution game console will ship in North America in time for the Thanksgiving holiday sales period.

Speaking to the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun, Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata said: "We can't disclose the Revolution's release period yet, but we have no plans to miss out on the year-end sales battle."

"As for North America, we need to release it by Thanksgiving, or otherwise we won't receive support from the retail industry. So the Revolution will be released prior to that period." (Gamespot.com report)

Speaking about pricing, Itawa just said that th edevice will be "affordable".

"The amount of money that people are willing to spend on video games is getting less every year," he said. "Even if it's a superb machine, it's not going to sell if it's JYen 50,000 (US $435). We plan to make [Revolution] an affordable price."

Microsoft's Xbox 360 has adopted a two-tier price strategy ($299 for a bare bones version and $399 for a souped-up machine). Sony, meanwhile, has shouted from the rooftops the PS3 would be a pricey piece of equipment. Nintendo, though, seems ready to lowball its competitors on the retail front.

"Value has been a key card for us this generation and we'll continue to play it," Reggie Fils-Aime, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Nintendo of America had hinted in an interview last December. "Do I expect us to be at a lower price point than our competition? Yes I do. Have we determined a price yet? No we haven't."

Nintendo employed this price strategy at the beginning of this round of the console wars in 2001. While Sony and Microsoft released their video game machines at $299, the GameCube initially sold for $100 lower. Ultimately, the move didn't work as well as hoped. The GameCube is third in hardware sales, behind PlayStation 2 and Xbox, a position typically blamed on a weaker portfolio of third-party games and (initially, at least) the machine's boxy design, which even senior officials acknowledge looks childlike.

"I think there were some lessons we learned with the GameCube that we need to apply to the Revolution," said Fils-Aime. "First, we've got make sure that the titles in the first six months are strong and can drive sales. We've also got to make sure the console is attractive visually. And we've got to deliver on the right consumer needs. With GameCube, at the time, portability was thought to be a big factor that's why it has a handle. Obviously, that wasn't the case."

The Revolution is aimed at a wider audience than the GameCube or any of Nintendo's previous systems. While it will play DVD movies, its primary focus will be games. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 will focus strongly on games as well, of course, but have their eyes on a bigger prize - digital domination of the living room. Nintendo has said it wants, instead, to attract people who do not consider themselves gamers.

The device will not support high definition video, a marked divergence from the path Microsoft and Sony are taking. And it's not something the company is re-thinking, despite the fervent hopes of some hardcore gaming fans.

The Revolution is expected to be showcased at next year's E3, at Nintendo's pre-E3 press event, on May 9, 2006.


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