Upon calling the Nintendo-Hotline (1-425-885-7529), a friend to one of our Nintendo Now Executives uncovered a recorded comment which states and I quote, that the Revolution will arrive “in the later half of 2006.”
The complete recorded statement is as follows:
"As the company with the strongest heritage of innovation, Nintendo moves the bar for all next-gen systems by employing a wide-ranging strategy that will attract more kinds of gamers to more kinds of games. When Nintendo's new console, codenamed Revolution, arrives in the later half of 2006, everyone will discover the meaning of all-access gaming."
To make this even more intriguing, back at E3 2005, Nintendo released this same exact statement in an official press release. The only difference between the two was that it merely stated 2006 and nothing more. This seemingly non-important fact actually has some further implications tied to it. More specifically, the recording from Nintendo’s Hotline went on to further explain the recently announced "freestyle" controller for the Nintendo Revolution. This means that the recording was done after the Tokyo Game Show. In other words, sometime between E3 2005 and TGS 2005, Nintendo added the "later half" qualification to "2006".
Now, I was unable to verify this statement since I´m not at home. But I guess the recording does exist. However, I regard information from a consumer hotline only as somewhat trustworthy. If the comment in the financial report can be verified after all, that would be the more reliable source, no doubt. From experience, though, I would expect a launch no earlier than summer 2006 myself. This is simply how long it will take for a sufficient number of third party titles to be ready for launch. So I expect the financial report claims to be wrong. And regardless of how unusual it is to have a hotline break some real news, the claims do coincide with my own predictions.
EDIT Oh, and of course it´s also a possibility that the financial report may relate to a Japanese launch date, while the US hotline would talk about a US launch date. Thanks to Infendo for helping my tired little head consider the obvious ;P But, again, unlikely when you consider a possible launch line-up.