Mario maker move

Nintendo, Konami team up on portable unit

TOKYO — Another chapter was added to the unfolding story of high-tech videogame alliances when leading title maker Nintendo and major game software company Konami said Thursday they will form a joint company to create software for Nintendo’s next generation of game units.

The new company, called Mobile 21, will be set up in mid-October on a 50-50 joint venture basis with capital of 300 million yen ($2.7 million).

Konami is one of the leading makers of videogame software and has numerous bestselling titles for Sony’s PlayStation. Some of the games are based on current or recent films.

Advance system

In the venture, Nintendo will launch an adapter in April that can connect its next-generation Game Boy portable unit, called Game Boy Advance, to the Internet via a cellular telephone. In addition, the joint-venture company will offer software for the platform that will take advantage of its network capabilities.

The new business entity also will develop software and a digital camera that can be hooked up to a Game Boy Advance, which Nintendo is planning to launch in August, so that players can see each other when playing games.

The Game Boy Advance will have 32-bit capability and will allow users to take home-unit games on the road with the mobile game player.

The venture also will develop software for a new Nintendo game unit that is being developed with major Japanese electronics firm Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.

Nintendo announced the Matsushita alliance in May and aims to make a next-generation videogame console to challenge Sony’s PlayStation, the industry leader. The new machine, likely to be a 256-bit player, will use Nintendo game technology in combination with Matsushita hardware such as set-top boxes and video camcorders to create a multimedia console, Matsushita said.

Next-generation rivalry

Sony will take the wraps off of its new PlayStation game unit next week in Tokyo. The platform was made in conjunction with Microsoft Corp. and Toshiba Corp., which developed the central processing unit. The new console will hit the market in 2000 and offer movie-quality graphics comparable to the animation in the Pixar movie “Toy Story,” Sony said.

Sega’s Dreamcast game unit, which will soon hit store shelves in the United States after selling 1.3 million units in Japan, runs on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows CE operating system and has components from electronics companies such as Hitachi.