Nintendo Revolution

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NintendoRevolution.jpg
The Nintendo Revolution as shown at 2005. Nintendo announced that this is just a prototype, and as small as it is, the final console will be even smaller.

Nintendo Revolution is the codename for Nintendo's fifth video game console and the successor to the Nintendo GameCube. Nintendo has stated that "Revolution" will not be the final name of the system and it is at this point unknown what name Nintendo will use. Historically, Nintendo said the same about the Nintendo DS but it still ended up as the system's final name. The system was unveiled at Nintendo's 2005 press conference, and while a release date has not been confirmed, it is expected to come out sometime during 2006.

The Nintendo Revolution is backward compatible with Nintendo GameCube games through the same slot-loading disc drive. Additionally, Revolution will have the ability to play all Nintendo-produced Nintendo 64, SNES/Super Famicom, and Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicom games; the software may be recompiled/ported or emulated but will be acquired via the Nintendo online download service. An "internal upgrade" was announced during the E³ 2005 press conference allowing DVD Video playback.

Nintendo has been very coy with its official release of information regarding the Revolution. This has been the cause of many attacks by the media suggesting that Nintendo just isn't prepared to compete with Microsoft and Sony. Top executives deny this and state that they are simply protecting their ideas, designs, and intellectual property from immitation by competitors before their systems can be released. Prior innovations (such as the inclusion of an analog stick as standard, and force feedback devices for controllers) have been widely disseminated following their mainstream arrival on Nintendo's machines. Nintendo has also mentioned they are not trying to tread the same path that the other companies are taking.

A major source of contention was raised when Nintendo of America's vice president of corporate affairs, Perrin Kaplan, announced there would be no HD support for their upcoming system, a feature both Xbox 360 and the PS3 will support. Kaplan stated beautiful graphics and innovative game play could be achieved without HD and that abstaining from the technology would help keep the cost of games down. In reaction, major Internet based magazines like IGN.com organized letter writing campaigns (links to NOAs email address and an appropriate subject line) to protest against Nintendo regarding the decision and urging consumers to take action[1] (http://cube.ign.com/articles/625/625423p1.html). The final outcome is unknown at this time, but massive discontent may force Nintendo to change sides on the issue.

Nintendo has been working to make it clear that it wishes for its new console to provide more than simply better graphics over its predecessor. It is still not yet known how they will achieve this, but it is speculated that it may provide new methods of interaction.

Contents

Confirmed titles

Nintendo has confirmed certain titles are or will be in development for the Revolution. The listed titles are tentative and no release dates have been released at this time.

Confirmed hardware and technology

Nintendo has announced that IBM has been working with the development of the CPU, codenamed "Broadway". IBM was previously involved with the development of the processor in Nintendo's current system, GameCube. Nintendo has also announced that Canadian graphics card maker ATI Technologies is involved with the GPU, which is codenamed "Hollywood". Before the GameCube's release, ATI had bought ArtX, the company responsible for the GameCube's GPU and whose members were made of former Silicon Graphics employees involved with the Nintendo 64. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata also announced that the Revolution will be backward compatible with GameCube games and have built-in Wi-Fi for online playing, provided by Broadcom Corporation [2] (http://cube.ign.com/articles/595/595089p1.html). MoSYS, whose 1T-SRAM memory technology was used in the GameCube, will again provide the same technology for Revolution.

Nintendo has gone on record as stating that the Revolution will use standard DVD as its medium, and the Nihon Keizai has added onto this specification by stating that the system will employ 12 cm optical discs. [3] (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/japan_nintendo_dc) It will also have the ability to play DVD movies with an "internal add-on". They also have said the console will be "sleek", approximately the thickness of three DVD cases, and stand both horizontally and vertically, as does Sony's PS2 and the more contemporarily competitive Xbox 360 and PS3 [4] (http://www.nintendo.com/newsarticle?articleid=9594f668-5342-4b38-8eb1-d6bf479c4139&page=home). Older information states that Revolution will be able to hook up to a computer monitor as well as a TV. However, Nintendo has confirmed that at this point in time, they are not supporting HDTV output for the Revolution.[5] (http://cube.ign.com/articles/624/624200p2.html) This may mean that the system will be unable to output HDTV at all, or it may mean that HDTV support will be at the developer's discretion.

Known specifications

(It should be noted that due to the relatively early stages in development, some "known" specs may change before the console's final release.)

  • Processors:
  • Memory:
    • 1T-SRAM by MoSys
      • No further details.
    • 512 MB of internal flash memory
      • Replaces the function of an internal hardrive.
      • Will be used to store:
        • Revolution game save data
        • Downloaded games
        • Game demos
        • Patches or upgrades
  • Ports and peripherals:
    • Two USB 2.0 ports.
    • Wireless controllers.
    • A single proprietary output for video and audio.
    • No serial ports announced (All Nintendo consoles to date have expansion serial ports).
    • A dongle enabling DVD playback will plug into the front.
    • 4 Gamecube controller ports and 2 Gamecube memory card ports (for compatibility).
  • Media:
    • Slot loading DVD drive capable of handling both 12 cm and 8 cm DVDs (again, for GameCube compatibility). A first for slot loading drives.
    • 2 front loading SD memory card slots.
  • Networking:
  • Final version is to be smaller than the presented E³ prototype.

Backward compatibility

The Nintendo Revolution has been designed to be completely compatible with the Nintendo Gamecube software and peripherals. Standing vertically, the top of the new console has 4 Gamecube controller ports that will allow the system to be compatible with the original controllers, the Nintendo Wavebird, the DK Bongos, the Nintendo Gamecube Mic and the GCN to GBA link cable. It also features two memory card slots that should be fully compatible with all generations of GCN cards ("MEMORY CARD 59-1019"). The system will directly accept the proprietary 8cm DVD Gamecube discs through the slot-loading drive that will also load Revolution game discs. The Revolution will essentially be a Gamecube as well as an entirely new console, although it is not yet known if it will be compatable with the Game Boy Player accessory.

"Virtual Console"

Nintendo has announced that the Revolution will be able to run (possibily through emulation) all the previous home console games made by the company over the past 20 years. Nintendo will offer games for these consoles via its download service. Mr. Iwata refers to this feature as the "Virtual Console". Nintendo announced that the downloadable games may be redesigned so that gameplay would be the same but it would be possible "that with Revolution, we may be able to see the old games with new looks." Also, for some of the 3D games to "'look sharper' when played on Revolution."[6] (http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3141582) How much the games will cost has not been specified as of yet. And while details about what specific titles will become available are unknown, there are currently 221 potential titles that Nintendo could release.[7] (http://www.nintendojo.com//infocus/index.php#1118163832) It has been confirmed that there will be a fee involved with downloading from Nintendo's back catalog. However, Nintendo has suggested they may give some of them away with Nintendo products or through other special offers.[8] (http://www.cnet.com.au/games/hardware/0,39029706,40055184,00.htm) According to a Japanese press release, "all downloaded games will be stored on the 512 flash memory built into the system."[9] (http://www.nintendojo.com//infocus/index.php#1118165596) To prevent illegal copying, downloaded games will feature a proprietary DRM system.

There has not been any indications as to the availability of games from other developers. Nor has Nintendo said that this is not a possibility. Yuji Naka - the mind behind Sonic the Hedgehog at Sega - stated in an interview with Famitsu "It's also great that we'll be able to play Famicom and other games via download. I hope Sega games will be playable as well." Please note that a number of the older Sega games have been released for Nintendo consoles in the past by Sunsoft.

Many see Nintendo trying to repeat the success that the music industry had with illegal music downloads. Since computers have been powerful enough to emulate past generation home consoles and the Internet provided an easy, fast and widely accessible distribution path for ROMs, (a file which contains the data for a game which can then be played via a program that emulates the console) illegal ROM downloading has been rampant. The music industry's most successful method of reducing illegal music downloading has been offering people a way of downloading music legally for a small cost. If Nintendo is successful at repeating this, they may be able to reduce the rampant illegal ROM downloading and open up a new revenue stream. This backward-compatibility feature also stands as a new unique selling point against the Revolution's competitors.

Rumors & speculation

Missing image
Nintendo-revolution7.jpg
The Nintendo Revolution logo and 5 different colored prototype Revolution systems
  • Nintendo has has confirmed multiple colors for the Revolution. 5 possible colors were shown at :
  • Nintendo may be aiming for a November 2006 release date for the Revolution.
  • The Revolution may have connectivity with the Nintendo DS or Nintendo's next Game Boy system. Nintendo Power magazine has said this is likely in its July 2005 issue. A reported interview with Mr. Miyamoto seems to confirm this, however, the legitimacy of the source is unknown.[10] (http://www.aussie-nintendo.com/content/news_archives/gen_nin.php?subaction=showfull&id=1118895694&archive=&s%20tart_from=&ucat=5)
  • Several publications are citing an anonymous source inside Nintendo that claims the system will be renamed "Revo". The source has released images of what could be the offical logo (a stylized R), images of a slightly smaller system and as well as some advertisment material. Currently, there is no evidence substantiating such claims.[11] (http://www.computerandvideogames.com/r/?http://www.computerandvideogames.com/news/news_story.php(que)id=120698)
  • It has also been hinted that the Revolution's graphics may be holographic, using technology that will be featured in upcoming movies.[12] (http://cube.ign.com/articles/607/607437p1.html) This has been debunked by the company which was supposedly developing the technology for Nintendo.[13] (http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=58931)
  • For Nintendo DS, Nintendo plans to install many Wi-Fi booths around Japan so the DS can go online. Many people believe these booths will be used for the Revolution's online capabilities as well.
  • A rumor on its specs: "... the console will boast four 2.5 GHz IBM G5 Custom cores, with 128 KB of level 1 cache and a 512 KB shared level 2 cache, while the graphics will be powered by a dual core ATI RN520 chipset, with 16 MB of on-board eDRAM for the frame buffer."[14] (http://www.gamesindustry.biz/news.php?aid=8658) Current rumors from the same website provides new, as well as contradictory, details to the first report: "The specifications [...] suggest that the system will be powered by two 1.8Ghz IBM PowerPC G5 processors, a 600Mhz graphics chip from ATI and a 7.1 Digital Sound chipset. The console will apparently sport 128MB of high speed 1T-SRAM as main memory, along with 256MB of slower DRAM, while the graphics chip has 12MB of on-board high speed RAM. 6GB proprietary DVD-size discs, designed by Panasonic, would be used for Revolution's games."[15] (http://www.nintendojo.com/infocus/view_item.php?1118705713) The contradictions make it evident that some, if not all the information presented by this source, is incorrect.
  • There is speculation that there will be 50 games ready for launch. A third Super Smash Bros. game is said to be bundled in with the Revolution. The latter rumor may have been seeded by comments during the E³ press conference, in which the director of the Smash Bros. series revealed he hoped to develop such a title for the Revolution, and Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata made some comments that he wanted to play Reggie Fils-Aime in an online Smash Bros. game, for Revolution. He also said he would push for an online Smash Brothers to be a launch title.
  • Sega might have games to download along side Nintendo games. This could mean games from the Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Sega 32x, and Sega Saturn could be available for download.

Controller

Nintendo's plan is to reveal the controller by the end of the year and is speculated to be Revolution's largest innovation. There is a rumor from a magazine in Japan called "The Diamond Weekly" that the new console's controllers will not have the traditional A and B Buttons or the D-pad, which have been present since the NES era in the mid-1980s. It is also worth noting that Nintendo has, since 2001, invested a great deal of money and resources into the company Gyration, which focuses on creating controllers for the PC using gyroscopes. Nintendo has previously included motion-sensors in the game cartridges for titles in the Wario Ware and Kirby franchises. It is also rumored that the Revolution's controllers will have sensitive nubs on them to replace the directional pad, or that it will be some form of helmet.

Another theory was that the controller of the Revolution would be touch sensitive, in similar fashion to the Nintendo DS. In Issue #144 (April 2005) of Game Informer, there was a brief reiteration that the Revolution's controllers would indeed be touch screens. However, at a June 2004 analyst briefing in Japan, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata stated, "We have no intention of making a two-screen console akin to the [Nintendo] DS." He did not specifically confirm or deny the possibility of a touch-based interface.

Considering a quote by Reginald Fils-Aime during E³ 2005 regarding that "[Nintendo] announced the ability to download and play the best NES games, S-NES games, N64 games, in addition to Revolution games and GameCube games, if you put those controllers all lined up together, they're all very different. So think about what kind of device is going to allow you to play all those different types of games. It's pretty interesting." It may be possible that the controllers will allow the user to place each button in their own desired place.

Nevertheless, it is still evident that the controller will be significantly different from those of other Nintendo systems; the Revolution will include 4 GameCube controller ports. It is unknown if a GameCube controller will be required to play GameCube games and/or downloaded pre-GameCube games (see above); the ports may just be included for those who find older games easier to play with the controller/controller-style for which they were originally designed. It is worth noting that the GameCube controller ports and GameCube memory card ports have their own covers, so that one could be opened and the other left closed. This may suggest that a user could play a GameCube game while using their GameCube memory card, but choose to use the Revolution's controller, or vice versa. It was believed that Nintendo was going to show the controller at E³ 2005 — however, it did not. It has since been established in interviews that the controller is still being designed.[16] (http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=59550)

Gallery

See also

References

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