Unveils New System Details
[NEWS STORY REPUBLISHED FROM
During the Nintendo press briefing Wednesday, chairman Howard
Lincoln announced the first details on a partnership between
Nintendo and IBM that will see a new Nintendo console system. The
announcement of the system in development, currently code named
"Dolphin," was summarized in one succinct phrase
delivered by Lincoln: "fast, powerful, and inexpensive."
The Dolphin, currently being planned for a worldwide release by
the 2000 holiday season, is being prepared to go directly
head-to-head with Sony's next-generation PlayStation system. At
its press briefing, Nintendo claimed that the Dolphin hardware
will be able to equal - and in many cases exceed - anything that
the PlayStation 2 hardware will be capable of.
Nintendo's one-billion-dollar agreement with IBM involves IBM
designing and manufacturing a unique 400MHz central processor
featuring IBM's 0.18 micron copper technology. The chip, dubbed
the "Gekko" processor, is an extension of the IBM
Nintendo also announced, amid a round of enthusiastic applause,
that the Dolphin will not be a cartridge-based system, but rather
a DVD-driven unit. Matsushita will develop, manufacture, and
supply DVDs for Nintendo. The proprietary DVD format will play
movie and music DVDs, and it will be counterfeit proof and
competitively priced, according to Lincoln. Without commitment of
details, Lincoln mentioned Nintendo's interest in extending
Dolphin and Matsushita technology to other products. It was also
hinted that future Matsushita and Panasonic DVD players will
employ the Dolphin hardware, letting Nintendo capture the market
VM Labs is hoping to conquer with its NUON system.
The system's graphics will be supplied by a custom graphics chip
from ArtX. This chip will run at 200MHz. While there was a brief
Q&A session after the press conference, further information
such as RAM could not be made available at that time.
Besides DVD and a hefty processor, Nintendo also plans to make the
new unit Internet capable; however, details were not given, as the
company plans to keep some plans secret, "There are more
surprises to come," said Lincoln, "for you, and
especially for our competitors."