IBM said on Thursday it has begun shipping the microchips for Nintendo's new Wii console.
Nintendo, which has said the Wii will be on store shelves in time for the holidays, has not provided a specific launch date or pricing for its widely anticipated new game machine.
Earlier this year, IBM and Nintendo signed a multi-year microchip production agreement to support the upcoming launch of Nintendo?s Wii video game console. The chip, code-named ?Broadway,? will deliver experiences not previously possible on video game consoles.
?The first chips are in our possession,? said Genyo Takeda, Senior Managing Director/General Manager, Integrated Research & Development Division, Nintendo Co., Ltd. ?Today?s milestone marks the final stage of our drive to reach both core and nontraditional gamers with an inviting, inclusive and remarkable gaming experience.?
Under the terms of the agreement, IBM will produce millions Power Architecture-based chips featuring IBM Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technology at 90 nanometers (90 billionths of a meter), based on the specifications of the custom design agreement previously agreed upon by the two companies. The chip is being produced at IBM?s 300mm semiconductor development and manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, N.Y.
Silicon on Insulator technology from IBM helps deliver to Nintendo a generous improvement in processing power while achieving a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption.
Microchips based on the Power Architecture are the electronic brain of devices large and small, and are inside automotive safety systems, printers, routers, servers and the world?s most powerful supercomputers.
The relationship between IBM and Nintendo dates to May 1999, when IBM announced a comprehensive technology agreement to design and manufacture the central microprocessor, often referred to as the ?Gekko? chip, for the Nintendo GameCube system from its Burlington, Vt., production facility.
The Wii will compete with new Microsoft's already released Xbox 360 and Sony Corp.'s upcoming PlayStation 3. Nintendo has said it plans to ship 6 million units of its new Wii by year end.