Nintendo confirms next-gen console

Life after GameCube

gamesindustry.biz logo Nintendo says it plans to a launch a new console to replace Gamecube in 2005 or 2006, scotching speculation that it plans to exit the console hardware marketd,

NCL president Satoru Iwata told Reuters: "When we withdraw from the home game console, that's when we withdraw from the video game business".

The GameCube is now expected to miss its sales targets for the year - falling more than 10 per cent short of its 10 million hardware unit sales target, and also missing its 55 million software unit sales target. But Nintendo remains determined to stay in the console race.

According to Iwata-san, a new Nintendo console will be ready for 2005, although he believes that rival next-generation systems from competitors Sony and Microsoft may not emerge until 2006. He is determined to launch the successor to the GameCube alongside its competitors, and believes that the late arrival of the Cube has stunted its success. "The PlayStation 2 debuted one-and-a-half years ahead of the GameCube," he told Reuters. "If we had launched the GameCube at the same time as PlayStation 2, the result would have been different."

In the meanwhile, Nintendo plans to continue pushing the GameCube, and is bringing the hugely successful Pokemon franchise into the fray, with new titles planned for the Cube which will link up with the GBA. However, he told the agency that a price cut for the console hardware was not imminent.

Although the weak performance of the GameCube is causing concern over Nintendo's financial bottom line, the company is still making significant profits from the console - underlining the reason why a withdrawal from the hardware business was never on the cards. Nintendo's business model is primarily focused on selling its own games on its own hardware, many of them to a core audience which is considered untouchable by Sony or Microsoft; effectively meaning that while the Cube may be seen as a competitor to Xbox and PS2, Nintendo isn't even really playing on the same pitch most of the time.

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