Nintendo Ships Game Boy Advance
Game Boy Advance, Nintendo's high-powered portable video game player, made a limited debut in the United States Monday with availability quickly spreading nationwide.
The new model carries a suggested retail price of $99.95 and quadruples the power of its predecessor, the Game Boy Color, which sells for about $30 less.
Big retailers such as Best Buy and Toys R Us expect to have units for sale in all stores by Wednesday at the latest. However, those initial stocks could disappear quickly as gamers of all ages line up to upgrade to the newest entry in the 10-year-old Game Boy line.
"We do expect to have people waiting in lines Wednesday and we expect to sell out of hardware units on launch day," says Jenny Bohuslazsky, spokesperson for Best Buy.
Pre-release interest and pre-sales offers at Toysrus.com also indicate high demand, but retailers did not provide any specific numbers.
"Subscriptions to our 'Nintendo Delivers' e-mail program jumped significantly when we began featuring Game Boy Advance pre-order opportunities, contests, exclusive code, and news," says John Sullivan, vice president and general merchandise manager for Toysrus.com.
Nintendo is forecasting 1 million sales of the Game Boy Advance in the United States by the end of June, a slightly better pace than Game Boy Advance's March release in Japan, where it sold 1.6 million units in its first five weeks on the market.
"We expect it to do very well," says Beth Llewelyn, Nintendo's director of Corporate Communications. "We expect intense demand."
To quench gamers' thirst, Nintendo plans to ship 23 million units from now through next March.
The Game Boy Advance comes in three color schemes--violet, transparent blue, and white--with a 32-bit processor that pumps out a dizzying array of 32,768 colors onto a 2.9-inch LCD screen.
In a radical departure from earlier portable players, the Advance mimics a console game controller with a horizontal format and shoulder buttons for easier two-handed action. Also new for 2001 is the ability to link up to four Advance systems together for head-to-head competition.
A handful of games from Nintendo, including Super Mario Bros. and F-Zero Maximum Velocity, plus third-party software titles such as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, Chu Chu Rocket, and Rayman Advance are available this week. Dozens of other titles will appear over the next few months, in plenty of time for pre-Christmas sales.
Game Boy Advance is backward-compatible with just about every Game Boy and Game Boy Color currently on the market. The new Advance software titles, however, will not work with the older Game Boy systems.
The Game Boy Advance will be compatible with the Nintendo GameCube, a compact console game that will be introduced on November 5. Compatability with the Game Boy Advance will be an advantage for the GameCube in its