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Nintendo Revolution and Game Boy Micro unveiled

Small but powerful is beautiful

Nintendo has given the media its first look at a prototype of their new Revolution console, due out in 2006. Details were scarce, however - Nintendo made no attempt to offer performance specifications or pricing. They also introduced the Game Boy Micro, an iPod mini-sized handheld game system capable of playing Game Boy Advance titles.

The Revolution uses an IBM PowerPC-derived CPU code-named "Broadway" and a graphics chip set designed by ATi. called "Hollywood". The system is the smallest game console yet designed by Nintendo, about the size of three standard DVD cases stacked together.

The Revolution uses a slot-loading drive that plays new 12in optical discs containing Revolution games, but it will also accept GameCube discs. And with a "small, self-contained attachment," the Revolution will play DVDs.

The controllers are wireless using technology developed by Broadcom.

Backwards-compatibility doesn't end with GameCube support - Nintendo describes the Revolution as being a "virtual console" capable of playing Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 games as well. Nintendo plans to release downloadable versions of the games for these older systems, and the Revolution will sport Nintendo's own form of digital rights management to "deter sharing of intellectual property".

The Revolution features 512MB of internal flash memory, wireless controllers, two USB 2.0 ports and built in support for Wi-Fi wireless networking. There's a bay for an SD memory card to expand internal flash memory.

Nintendo plans to leverage its previously announced Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service, a partnership it is developing with GameSpy, to offer online gaming connectivity for Revolution players. The company said there are a number of companies who will be developing Wi-Fi compatible games, and Nintendo is working on making Wi-Fi compatible titles with key franchise characters.

Nintendo also revealed a new handheld gaming system, the Game Boy Micro. The tiny gaming system is "just a hair bigger and two thirds the weight of an iPod mini,” a spokesperson said. The system measures 4x2x0.7in, and weighs 80g.

It has the same processing power as a Game Boy Advance SP, and contains the brightest screen Nintendo's ever put in a handheld, according to Fils-Aime. The screen also features brightness adjustability for indoor and outdoor play.

The Game Boy Micro will be released this fall. Pricing was not announced.

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