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Nintendo plots next-gen console 'Revolution'

Will codename prove hard to live up to?

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Nintendo's next console release has been codenamed 'Revolution', the company's president, Satoru Iwata, revealed this week.

That said, he was very circumspect about what it is that will make the console, previously known as 'N5', warrant its codename.

Like the Nintendo DS handheld console, with its touch-sensitive screen technology and Wi-Fi connectivity, Revolution's design is more likely to focus on gameplay features than raw processing power, Iwata suggested.

"We're thinking of an innovative idea for our next generation console that's completely different from consoles in the past," Iwata said at a Tokyo press conference this week. "It will be clearly distinct from the other next-generation consoles that competing companies will develop. What's important isn't a next-generation technology, but a next-generation way of playing games."

Both IBM and ATI have already signalled that their products will be used in the new machine, just as they provided processor and graphics chip technology, respectively, for the Nintendo's current console, GameCube.

Since both companies have also signed similar deals with Microsoft, presumably for Xbox 2, we wonder whether the two next-generation consoles might not be one and the same - or at least two takes on the same basic platform.

That's just a hunch, and only time will tell if it's a correct one.

There are arguments against it. Only this week, for example, Nintendo Europe managing director David Gosen slammed Microsoft for pushing the industry toward next-generation technology too quickly.

Speaking at the ELSPA Games Summit in London, Gosen alleged Microsoft's "key motivation" in launching Xbox 2 next year, four years after the original's debut, was not profitability.

"In every cycle, some manufacturer not profiting from the current cycle is eager to kick-start the next one," he said. ®

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