Nintendo Japan has made a shock announcement overnight in Japan, announcing exactly when and where the GameCube’s successor will be shown to the public for the first time.
In an open letter to the Japanese press, Nintendo’s head of global PR Yasuhiro Minagawa stated that the new hardware will be shown to the public at E3 2005. Minagawa also claimed that yesterday’s public relations disaster - that saw reports that Nintendo would be bowing out of the hardware business - was inaccurate, and was merely meant to refer to the predicted launch period of all next generation machines. This echoed frantic denials that were heard from both Nintendo America and Nintendo Europe.
Reports have highlighted the release gap in the market as the reason for Sony’s current market dominance, though this may ultimately be revealed as a poor analysis of the situation. Of course, at launch, the PlayStation 2 was better than the Nintendo 64, and though the Dreamcast beat the PS2 to the mark in terms of release date, Sony managed to offset the time deficit with powerful scare marketing. Their ploy… "Don’t buy the Dreamcast, just wait for the PlayStation 2, it will be a much better machine and well worth the wait", echoed the situation with the Saturn and the original PlayStation.
In reality, a slow start to the release schedule meant that the PlayStation 2 took over a year to get up to speed with what the Sega machine was able to offer. But once The PS2 was released people could see the PS2’s clear hardware advantage, and were prepared to wait for the games to come on tap. The battle - indeed the war - was won. People did wait, didn’t buy a Dreamcast, and that was the end of that.
It is certain that if SCE fails to launch the PlayStation 3 before Xbox 2 or the next Nintendo machine, it will play this very same card again. And, depending on launch price and the consumer’s ability to support multiple platforms, will most likely triumph.
It is clear that if Nintendo hope to achieve the market share they enjoyed in the past, they will have to time the release of GameCube 2 very carefully, and market it more effectively than they did with the original GameCube.