LOS ANGELES – Nintendo Co. Ltd. said on Tuesday its next-generation video game console, called Wii, will be available in the fourth quarter of 2006.
Nintendo is taking a markedly different approach to the war for dominance in the nearly $30 billion global video-game market as it prepares to launch its new console.
The company is known for cartoon-like characters, rather than photorealism, and relatively nonviolent games compared to the alien battles and war scenarios common in the industry.
And Unlike Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) new Xbox 360 and Sony Corp.'s (SNE) upcoming PlayStation 3 — which take leaps in power and boast high-definition graphics — Nintendo hopes to gain share by luring new audiences with an affordably priced console and ground-breaking games.
High on that list is the next version of the popular "Legend of Zelda" video game, which will be available at the time of Wii's launch, said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales and marketing.
The company will announce pricing later, he told a news conference ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles this week.
The Wii, which will have just slightly more power than the company's current GameCube system and no high-definition graphics, is expected to sell for roughly half the price of next-generation systems by Microsoft and Sony.
Wii is pronounced "we" and the console is also known by its code name "Revolution."
"Regardless of age, gender or game experience, anyone can understand Wii," Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said.
The company was the first to announce a motion-sensor enabled controller, which will allow users to direct action on the screen by swinging it like a bat, a sword, or a racquet or club in a sports game.
Sony on Monday unveiled a controller that also uses motion-sensing technology, surprising game makers and enthusiasts.
Nintendo has captured the attention of game fans with its double-screened Nintendo DS hand-held player and innovative games such as "Nintendogs," which have lured players outside the core audience of young male gamers.
"The graveyard of any industry is filled with the headstones of companies doing things the same way," Fils-Aime said.