Nintendo said Thursday that it plans to delay the launch of its next-generation vidgame console GameCube in order to meet consumer demand and avoid errors made by Sony when it launched PlayStation 2 last year.
But the move to bow GameCube on Nov. 18, now means that Nintendo loses the chance to beat Microsoft’s new Xbox console to store shelves by two weeks. Xbox bows Nov. 8, although rumors have recently hit the industry speculating that Microsoft may have to delay the launch.
“The change really was to make sure we avoided somebody else’s misstep,” said Peter Main, vice president of sales and marketing for Nintendo of America. “We’re noting the misfire that occurred one year ago when somebody came to market with 400,000 units. The launch date was entirely a discretionary call. It just makes sense to make sure this is the most successful launch we’ve ever had.”
Nintendo now plans to have 700,000 GameCubes ready to sell in North America, 200,000 more than it had originally planned. Plans for a Sept. 14 Japanese launch with 500,000 units remain unchanged, as does Nintendo’s schedule to have 4 million units in America by the end of March 2002.
At $199, the GameCube will be $100 less than its two competitors. It will also connect to Nintendo’s market-leading GameBoy portable game player.
Separately, Nintendo also said Thursday that computing giant IBM will power GameCube with its PowerPC processor, meaning that each device will sport the IBM logo and help boost its image as a supplier of technology components. Its PowerPC chips run devices ranging from television set-top boxes to mobile phones.
And while Microsoft and Sony are touting the online capabilities of their consoles, Nintendo said GameCube titles will support online play when consumer demand warrants it.