Nintendo GameCube follow-up not due until 2006?

Expecting new Sony, Microsoft consoles to come later

A report in a Japanese business magazine has suggested that Nintendo may release its next home console later than expected, although the company still plans to be first to market in the next-generation console race.

Speaking to business publication Diamond Loop, a Nintendo executive is quoted as saying that it is "not an absolute" that the next Nintendo console (aka "N5") will arrive in 2005. That date emerged in response to widespread belief that Sony and Microsoft would release their next systems in late 2005, with Nintendo pledging at E3 this year that it would beat both of its rivals to market.

However, Nintendo now believes that its rivals will not launch their systems until 2006, and as a result the timescale for the N5 has apparently been pushed back slightly.

The onus on Nintendo, then, is to ensure that the Cube is strong enough to survive in the market through three more Christmases - although gamers surveying the situation in Europe at the moment might question whether the console will make it through Christmas 2003 unscathed, never mind 2004 and 2005.

More promising, however, are the prospects for the Game Boy Advance. In the same interview, the Nintendo executive claimed that the company is not particularly worried about competition from Sony's upcoming PSP handheld - stating a confident belief that shipments of the GBA will have exceeded a massive 60 million units by the time Sony's challenger enters the ring. ®

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