USA Today Reveals The Revolution

Nintendo reveals details Tuesday of its new system, code-named Revolution, after Sony’s announcement of the PlayStation 3 console Monday and Microsoft’s unveiling of Xbox 360 on an MTV special last Thursday.

All the action is taking place before the annual E3 Expo, which begins Wednesday. The three gaming giants will unveil the systems there. Microsoft is expected to have the Xbox 360 in stores first, in time for the holidays. Nintendo and Sony will follow in 2006. No prices have been set, and release dates have not been locked in.

Nintendo, whose GameCube sales have lagged, hopes to gain ground, particularly among the fast-growing older-gaming market. Revolution is about the size of a stack of three DVD cases and has no visible knobs, buttons or ports for joysticks. The system will use only wireless controllers, and it sits flat or stands vertically.

With its front-loading slot for discs, it will play games on full-size DVDs as well as older GameCube games on mini-DVDs. Like Xbox and PlayStation 2, it will play DVD movies.

Nintendo, which mostly ignored the Net with GameCube, also is catching up with the online wave. Revolution will offer broadband access to a free Internet-based player matching service, similar to Xbox Live, that also will have downloadable versions of nearly every Nintendo game — from arcade classic Donkey Kong through current titles such as Mario Sunshine. (Nintendo hasn’t decided whether downloading will be free.)

Xbox spokesmen have pointed out that 360’s specifications are 10 to 13 times more powerful than those of the original Xbox; Sony said Monday that the processor in Play-Station 3, which will come in several colors and be out next spring, will be 35 times more powerful than the PS2 processor.

Nintendo makes more modest claims that Revolution is two or three times more powerful than GameCube. “It’s not all about having ‘turbo power,’ ” Nintendo’s Perrin Kaplan says. “It’s about what you do with it.”

Analyst Richard Doherty of The Envisioneering Group says one of Revolution’s chief advantages is that designers will find it far easier to create games for Revolution than for competing systems. “They do not need to make major changes from the games they were designing,” he says. “They have better performance without having to do a lot of extra work.”

Says Kaplan “We’ve built Revolution around the concept of ‘all-access gaming,’ ” a term Nintendo uses to mean the system is easily adapted to by both gamers and designers. “We’re about sticking to the soul of gaming.”

[align=right][size=7]Source USA Today[/align][/size]