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Nintendo is delaying the US launch of the GameCube by two weeks to make sure its got enough units ready to make a big impact.

So after a summer in which we have heard any number of rumours claiming that the launch of Microsoft's Xbox console would be delayed by anything from manufacturing problems to trademark infringement, the boot is very much on the other foot.

The GameCube will now appear on 18 November, ten days after the Xbox. Ironically just a few months ago Nintendo of America's Peter Main was insisting in an interview with Japanese magazine Famitsu that the "Gamecube will definitely launch on schedule", adding that "Microsoft has announced November 8 as its launch date, but I don't think that's final".

This isn't the first time the GameCube's release has slipped - in its previous guise of the Dolphin it was actually expected to emerge last year, a date which has been pushed back steadily ever since. This latest delay leaves it on the back foot in the all-important run-up to Christmas, but on the bright side, Nintendo say that the delay will allow them to meet demand with a total of 700,000 Cubes in store for launch day - 200,000 more than planned. Microsoft expects to have about the same number of Xboxes available for 8 November.

Neither company has confirmed details of their European launch yet, although the Xbox is widely expected to be available some time during March.

Copyright © 2001, Eurogamer.net. All rights reserved.

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