Nintendo, Konami venture aimed at mobile gaming
(IDG) -- Nintendo and Konami will establish a joint venture to develop gaming software for next-generation video game systems, the companies announced yesterday.
Kyoto-based Nintendo, known for its Nintendo-64 game console and its handheld Game Boy, and leading software maker Konami said that they will each invest 150 million yen (US$1.4 million) in the joint venture.
The two gaming giants plan to offer shares in the new venture, to be named Mobile 21, to the public within two years of its October opening date.
Mobile 21 will develop game software for two new Nintendo products that are now on the drawing board -- the Game Boy Advance, planned to be released in Japan in August 2000, and the tentatively named Dolphin console, scheduled to hit stores in December of that same year, according to a release.
When connected to a cellular phone, the handheld Game Boy Advance machine will offer a host of Internet functions, including Net surfing and online gaming, according to the companies. The device will be equipped with a digital camera so that online combatants can see each other while gaming.
The new Game Boy will run on a 32-bit RISC-CPU (reduced instruction set central processing unit) designed by ARM Ltd. of the U.K. It is scheduled to ship outside Japan by the end of 2000, the companies said.
The Dolphin gaming console is being jointly developed with electronics maker Matsushita Electric Industrial. It will run on a 400MHz PowerPC-based processor built by IBM especially for the new machine.
The Dolphin console is widely seen as Nintendo's attempt to challenge Sony's highly anticipated PlayStation 2, due out in Japan later this year. Sony, which is planning to show a model of the machine on Sept. 13, says the PlayStation 2 will have the graphics processing power of a high-end workstation and will use a processor three-times faster than Intel's Pentium III.
Mobile 21 will initially be staffed by software engineers from Nintendo and Konami, the companies said.
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