Nintendo blazes into new market territory with a very interesting product.
China is well known as a breeding ground for software pirates and pirating tools, a fact Nintendo is all too familiar with. With its large population China is potentially a very lucrative market, however, and Nintendo proved its determination to reach Chinese homes yesterday at the Tokyo Games Show 2003 with its untraditional new console, the iQue Player. See the controller for yourself in this photo, provided by GAME Watch
Set for release in mid-October, The iQue Player, co-developed by Nintendo and iQue Ltd., addresses two major hurdles that have held console manufacturers back in China for years: price and piracy. Most Chinese families cannot afford current-generation hardware with their relatively low budget. Therefore, the iQue Player will retail at a modest 498 yuan (around $60). But how can Nintendo and iQue make a profit at such a price? Simple: the iQue Player will feature games originally made for the SNES and N64 downloaded to the iQue’s proprietary flash memory card for 48 yuan ($5.80) a piece at participating retail kiosks. This memory card is included with the console and doubles as the system’s anti-piracy mechanism, as a memory card will only work with the very same unit with which it was sold. Nintendo is confident this technology will prevent the illegal copying and distribution of its games.
Although Nintendo has stated the iQue Player will launch with around 10 games, including at least one Super Mario title, no specific SNES or N64 games have been mentioned. However, iQue's website features Mario, Link, Peach and Star Fox on the front page, which certainly suggests that the iQue will feature Star Fox 64 and at least one of the N64 Zelda games as well. iQue will be responsible for manufacturing, localizing and distributing the iQue Player. Nintendo’s bold new Chinese console will premiere in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu.