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Nintendo Delays GameCube Launch

Nintendo has announced that it plans to delay the launch of its next-generation console GameCube, which gives Microsoft's Xbox a two-week leg-up on the highly coveted holiday buying season. GameCube will be released on November 18, where as Xbox is scheduled to launch on November 8, 2000. Nintendo says the move is to meet consumer demand and avoid glitches like Sony had with PlayStation 2 last year. "The change really was to make sure we avoided somebody else's misstep," said Peter Main, vice president of sales and marketing for Nintendo of America. "We're noting the misfire that occurred one year ago when somebody came to market with 400,000 units. The launch date was entirely a discretionary call. It just makes sense to make sure this is the most successful launch we've ever had." As part of the delay, Nintendo has upped the number of units for its North America debut from 500,000 to 700,000. The September 14 Japanese launch of 500,000 units has not changed. Nintendo still plans to have 4 million units in America by the end of March 2002. In addition, Nintendo also announced that IBM will power GameCube with its PowerPC processor, which run devices ranging from television set-top boxes to mobile phones. Unlike PlayStation 2 and Xbox that support online game play, Nintendo said they would support online play when consumer demand reaches a higher rate. However, GameCube's US$199 price tag does have a leg-up on PlayStation 2 and Xbox, which are priced at $100 more. Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced a delay in the launch of Xbox in Japan to 2002, giving Nintendo an advantage in its homeland.

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