Gamecube readies for launch.

Nintendo releases its Gamecube console in Japan today in what is set to be one of the largest hardware launches in history. CVG examines the machine's global prospects on the eve of this momentous event

No out-of-box Internet readiness; no built in DVD capabilities; no Mario title for launch. In many ways, the launch of Nintendo's Gamecube is its most controversial yet, but does this really spell trouble for the company, or has it put its faith behind hardware and software that is set to be a raging success?

Two reports via Reuters in the South China Morning Post have raised issues regarding the imminent launch of Gamecube. One story points out that "the machine will lack something its rivals are eager to offer" – instant Internet capabilities – while the other quotes the editor of Japan's respected Famitsu magazine, who states that Nintendo's focus towards the younger market could hamper sales. To deal with the Internet aspect first, it's certainly true that the focus of PS2 and Xbox is far more orientated towards online gaming. Indeed, broadband was the primary focus of Microsoft's E3 Xbox conference in which Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer, asserted: "It's gonna be fast because it's gonna be broadband."

Nintendo's stance, however, is that, although already working on online gaming (Phantasy Star Online, for example), it does not believe the time is right to make it a focus. When CVG interviewed Satoru Iwata, director and general manager of corporate planning division for NCL, he explained this position: "We don't believe we are behind any of our competitors in terms of online strategy. Having said that, however, it's a matter of what is more important to the company. Nintendo's position is not to put the biggest priority on online gaming."

News source: computerandvideogames

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