Japan's Nintendo Co. Ltd. may ignite the biggest battle yet in the video-game market with its long-awaited launch of Game Boy Advance, successor to the world's top-selling Game Boy handheld machine. The new box is small and portable like Game Boy Color, but the screen is 50 percent bigger and its 32-bit image processor is three times faster. Nintendo, whose cumulative sales of the 11-year-old original Game Boy topped 100 million units last year, plans to ship 1.1 million units of the new version starting March 21 with a target of 24 million by March 31, 2002.
There were huge queues in Japan for the release of GameBoy Advance, launched by Nintendo as it seeks to cement its lead in the market for handheld games.
Customers line up to buy the GameBoy Advance console.
The company aims to ship 1.1m new GameBoys by the end of this month, and a total of 24 million units worldwide within a year, a company spokesman said.
Analysts said a lack of competition in the sector meant Nintendo's ambitions were reachable.
The company has sold 105m of the original GameBoy Colour since it was launched in 1989.
Young and old customers
Retailing at 9,800 yen ($80, £55), the new GameBoy is not a cheap toy.
But given the even higher prices charged for some non-mobile consoles, Japanese parents were not deterred.
"If kids don't have the games, they feel alienated from their friend," said Kazuhiro Katayama, a 44-year-old father of two who bought two consoles.
Besides, not all the gaming console's fans are children.
"I can't get enough of Nintendo since I was five," said 23-year-old Gary Young, a businessman from the UK.
GameBoy's rise to fame was aided by computerised characters like the Mario Brothers and Pokemon.
More than 100 million GameBoy Colour consoles were sold last year, pushing Nintendo to the top of the league of handheld games console makers.
And its successor's reception bodes well for Nintendo's future position in the market for simple, mobile gaming consoles.
"People were lining up from 8pm on Tuesday and at any given time there were about 70-80 people lined up inside the store," said the manager of a major electronic goods store in Akihabara, Toshiyuki Fukuda.
The new GameBoy has a colour display one and a half times wider than the original.
In addition, it has a multi-player function, new software can be downloaded via mobile phones, and it has a faster central processing unit.
Old GameBoy games will be compatible with the new console, and Nintendo will immediately offer a line-up of 25 new games.
Sales in the US, Europe and Australia will begin by the end of June.
And to cap it all PSX2 outsold PSX1 by 5x on release!!!
Makes you think?. And this industry now grosses more money than film and this is supposed to be the changeover period
Well, there we go. Shell reached a new historical high this morning, BP hasn't quite made it but then they haven't bought and cancelled 96mil of their own shares.
Nevertheless approximately 20% gain in twelve weeks can't be sniffed at.
I hope my darts were not the only ones to hit the target.
Still not won the lottery though