Reports coming in from Japan claim that Nintendo plan to release their next generation console, codenamed N5, in 2006 rather that 2005 which had been initially suggested.
According to a Nintendo executive, quoted by Japanese business media, the Japanese gaming giant has reliable information that Microsoft and Sony plan to release their respective next generation offerings in 2006 rather than the in 2005. This change in timing has allowed Nintendo to push back its own release schedule, while still sticking to their commitment, made at this year''s E3, to be the first company to come out with a next generation console.
This delay however, does mean that GameCube will have to brave the sales wasteland for a further 3 years. Considering Nintendo''s ailing console has not had much luck in its first year since release, it is surprising that the company is willing to risk falling even further behind before N5''s arrival.
One piece of positive information for the Cube however, is the extremely strong line-up for the console announced for 2004. Titles expected next year include, the delayed Final Fantasy : Crystal Chronicles, Star Fox 2, Legend of Zelda : Four Swords and Pokemon Colosseum. If such strong software support from the parent company becomes a trend there may be a stronger future for the poor GC after all.
Nintendo information also included some interesting details about the way in which the company is dealing with the imminent threat of competition in the handheld gaming console market. With Sony planning the ultra-powerful PSP and Nokia about to introduce the multi-talented, 3D gaming machine that is the N-Gage, Nintendo seems comfortable and claims that its Game Boy Advance will have sold in excess of 60 million units by the time the competing products are released.