Pre-Show Madness

Early this morning at separate pre-E3 press conferences, both Nintendo and Microsoft revealed the plans behind their respective entries into the next generation console wars – the Gamecube and Xbox.

Both consoles are scheduled to launch within days of one another, and both will come out before previously announced according to the respective companies.

Both companies expect to launch challenge Sony’s Playstation 2 in about six months as the X-Box has a tentative launch date of November 8. However, in a rather surprising announcement, Nintendo plans to launch the Gamecube three days earlier on November 5.

While Nintendo refused to divulge what the price of the Gamecube will be, Microsoft declared that the Xbox will debut at a price of $299, the same current price as the PS2. The Xbox will have between 600,000 to 800,000 units available at launch, with 1 to 1.5 million units available by the Christmas.

About 15-20 Xbox titles will be available at launch, but while Nintendo did not mention the exact number of titles they would have at launch, they did say that pending titles include: Luigi’s Mansion, Zelda, Super Smash Bros., Stars Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II, Melee, Wave Race Blue Storm, Raven Blade, NBA Courtside 2002, Disney’s Mickey, Donkey Kong Racing, Animal Forest, Mamokia, Eternal Darkness, Kameo: Elements of Power, Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet, Metroid Prime, as well as legendary game creator Miyamoto’s new brain-child Pikmin, a Pokemon-like game.

In the area of peripherals both companies had interesting claims. Nintendo showcased a “wireless” controller that the company claims can work up to 15 feet away from the console, while Microsoft announced its “Xbox Communicator”, which the company said will allow gamers to truly “communicate” while playing games online.

GiN will have much more coverage on Xbox, Gamecube and many other developments throughout the show.

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