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Nintendo deal could mean big PowerPC presence in home

Matsushita-Nintendo link to put consoles at centre of home networks

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IBM's PowerPC deal with Nintendo, announced yesterday, could turn out to be a lot bigger than $1 billion. A related deal also announced yesterday, between Japanese giant Matsushita and Nintendo, could give PowerPC a giant heave into the home electronics/networking arena. The two companies have agreed to "a comprehensive collaboration in the area of digitally networked home electronics." This means convergence products, with Matsushita providing the DVD technology for the new Nintendo machines, and Nintendo extending the functionality of those machines into home electronics and entertainment, including areas such as broadcasting, telecoms and storage. The deal probably also takes Nintendo into the set-top box arena (Matsushita builds them already, and pointedly also mentions its claimed expertise in digital video cameras, mobile phones and broadcast systems. Matsushita has already been pushing its Home Information Infrastructure (HII) home networking plans in Japan, and suggests the addition of game functions to DVD products will add the ability to distribute and receive games, music and other media. The new Nintendo machine, meanwhile, looks plausible. It will be out late next year, and will have a 400MHz custom PowerPC chip, manufactured at 0.18 micron using copper technology. Graphics will come from a 200MHz custom chip designed with ArtX and it will use high-speed memory technology with bandwidth of 3.2GBps. ®

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