N5 on hold?

Full news report

OSAKA (Nikkei)–Nintendo Co. (7974.OK) has decided not to release a new video game console to follow its current GameCube for the time being, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported in its Tuesday edition.

The home-use game machine and software developer will instead diversify games and sell newly developed peripherals mainly for the GameCube. It will make games for the current model more appealing, while rivals Sony Corp. (6758.TO) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) plan to debut high-performance next-generation consoles that can be also used for non-game content such as movies and music.

Nintendo plans to release peripherals as early as 2005. Although details aren’t yet known, these devices are expected to diversify playing styles by improving the gaming experience and connections with hand-held units rather than improve graphics and sound quality.

The decision to withhold the release of a new console was made because while the game market is contracting and becoming more diverse, “customers are fully satisfied with the performance of the current model,” President Satoru Iwata said.

Nintendo will continue in-house development of a new home-use game machine for release in the future, but for the next two or three years will add functions to the GameCube.


Many forums have been reacting to the news and speculation over little parts of the news have been taken completely out of context, lets take a back seat and see what this (and I use this term cautiously) “new information” really says…..

Firstly look at the line that says “Nintendo will continue in-house development of a new home-use game machine for release in the future, but for the next two or three years will add functions to the GameCube.”

2 years = 2006, was anyone expecting the N5 any earlier and as for the “new functions” they speak of could easily be the new “DS” or extra peripherals.

Secondly where did this news come from, it came from Nikkei/Dow Jones, are these game sites? Do they know anything about that hardware end of the business? Of course they don’t, all they care about is the financial end of things. And they could easily get confused and word things wrongly.

So before you jump on the bandwagon sit back and look at the bigger picture. You probably wont see much talk from Nintendo about the next machine until next year at the earliest. (We already knew this, E3 is usually when a new console is officially announced and we already knew this was not going to happen this year)

You probably wont see a new Nintendo machine until Fall 2006 at the earliest, 2 years = February 2006, (but like I said was anyone expecting any of the next-gen consoles before then)

If Nintendo want the rest of the world to know hey we are following the exact same schedule as the other 2 vendors then they should and probably will respond to this before it gets messy.

The mainstream press could easily pick this news up and state

“Nintendo concedes defeat and will not be competing in next generation console wars” (we don’t want to be seeing mis-informed news like that now do we)

The article was very poorly worded Nintendo needs to respond to end this speculation that has started up. Other sites will read this mess that Nikkei/Dow Jones posted and spin it even further, which is bad news for everyone.

*Update – Nintendo’s Response!*

“First — much of the Nikkei article is speculation. Mr. Iwata’s comments are from a prior interview and not in direct response to the subjects raised in the article,” said Nintendo of America’s director of public relations Beth Llewlyn. “Second — We are staying in the hardware business. We’re working on our next generation console system and will launch it at the same time as our competitors.”

Asked if Nintendo would pull out of the console race, Llewlyn stated “We’re in this business for the long term. We’re not getting out of the hardware business.”

On the subject of GameCube peripherals, Llewelyn was quiet, but did offer “Specific details about accessories and their functions haven’t been made public yet. It’s far too early to make predictions about how well an accessory will do in the marketplace, but we’re confident our products will be compelling.”

“Our focus remains entertainment and game play versus chasing after technology that doesn’t truly enhance the game play experience. We’ll incorporate new technology — whether its hardware, software or accessories — if it improves the game play experience.”