Thursday, February 23, 2006

Rev easy to develop for and could sell for $149, say developers

Fourth generation development kits are being sent out and studios are commenting on the kits in detail for the first time. They cost only a fraction of the competitor´s systems and suggest that the Revolution is twice as powerful as the Gamecube. However, the innovative controller and the ease of development more than make up for that, developers say. The low price of the dev kits makes some studios wonder if the actual console could cost as little as $149 or even $99. IGN has now spoken to six studios about the current state of dev kits. Here´s their report:
Developers we spoke to confirm that - at least so far - three revisions of the development kits have been sent out to studios. The first development kit was, quite literally, a GameCube console with a wired Revolution controller attached. The second was the same with a few minor tweaks. And the third prototype, which was shipped to most studios about a month ago, follows the same structure, but also shows some boosts in CPU power, according to sources.

Insiders allege that some big-name publishers have recently received a more complete Revolution development kit - we call it revision three and a half -- complete with internal hardware more reflective of the 'new generation' system and a wireless Revolution controller. However, most uncommitted third parties will not gain access to this unit for several weeks, if not longer.

Developers making Revolution software that will show up at E3 2006 in playable form - high profile companies like EA and Ubisoft, to name a few - will soon be sent the official fourth SDK prototype, which promises to deliver between 90% and 95% of the final system's performance.

Software houses tell IGN that any studio familiar with GameCube's architecture will find that they can get their Revolution projects up and running in no time. The make-up of the systems is very similar, although Revolution will be roughly twice as powerful.

Asked whether or not Revolution's horsepower was insufficient, one development source said no. "At first, we were discouraged that it would be less powerful than Xbox 360, but once we got everything working with the controller, our concerns faded," he explained.

Other studios IGN Revolution has been in contact with have echoed this enthusiasm, always admitting that Nintendo's new console will be less powerful, but stressing that with the emphasis on the innovative controller it simply won't matter.

Final, completely finished development kits are expected to be made widely available this June, according to sources we contacted.

Every studio insider we queried said that they believed Revolution could launch for under $200, and possibly as low as $150 - a figure that would amazingly put Nintendo's new console at a price point hundreds of dollars cheaper than any competitor.

Nintendo itself has not yet commented on a Revolution price point, except to confirm that it would sell for less than $299. However, if the price of Revolution development hardware is any indication, the system could be very cheap indeed. Studios tell IGN that Revolution SDKs sell for about $2,000, which is thousands of dollars cheaper than a PSP SDK, let alone an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 one.

The rumour of a launch price lower than $199 is nothing new. Avid readers of this blog will remember that it started right here on this blog as an exclusive, before big sites like Joystiq picked up my story. This seems to verify those rumours. I would be surprised now if Nintendo opted for a price tag higher than $149.

Source: IGN
Thanks to: Joystiq, Joystiq


Anonymous said...

What i don't like about Nintendos price policy in general:
While the hardware prices are def. more than fair, games are too expensive. For example: why does a both brilliant and simple DS game such as Zookeeper cost 40 Euro? Why not 10 or 15 Euro in order to mass-market it as a "standard" for the DS? I have no idea of development costs but it is obvious that developping Mario Kart DS WiFi must be way more costly than porting an existing flash-game to the DS platform. Both games cost the same price. Another thing that's annoying at least in Germany (altough I don't know whether there is Nintendo policy behind it): you can rent PS2, Xbox, Xbox360 games in every regular video store for little money in order to check them out. They don't stock Nintendo products though, neither for Gamecube, nor for the DS or Gameboy.

Magnus Kleditzsch said...

Keep in mind that Nintendo has to pay the controller in the package, too. So with all the periphals inside the box (incl. the nunchuk & maybe the "wavebird"-shell) the system maybe launched at a 200 - 250 US$ price tag nevertheless.

Und: Hört euch an :)

Falafelkid said...

Hi Magnus. First of all, no way will a Nintendo system launch for more than $199. Nonen ever did to my knowledge and the Revolution will definitely be cheaper. Secondly, the developer´s price estimates obviously do take the controller into account. I don´t see why controller, analogue stick and shell should cost a great deal. Again, I am expecting $149.

Anonymous said...

I would be completely satisified if the system sold for $250 or so. Reason being is that Nintendo could get back to video gaming roots and actually "include" a game with the system. Maybe an extra controller or controller shell, too.

Regardless, I can't remember the last time I got this excited about a next generation console. Nintendo has put the fun back in gaming.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be a bad idea for nintendo to not include a game with the system. Don't rely on the gaming public, especially those who are new gamers(that they want to bring in), to be able to make an educated decision on what a good game is. If they pick up a bad launch title instead of having nintendo package something that will definitely show off the revolution remote then it would be a less effective launch.

ColdBlooder said...

well they could bring 2 diffrent packages of revolution. one with the console, the controller and that analoge think in it and another one that includes a game, the classic shell and propably something like a "credit card" to get 2 or 3 games of your choice for free from the visual console service. i think that would be fair. and much better than that stupid "premium and core" stuff that microsoft did.

bluelight said...

Well, I think the Revolution console is going to retail for $199 because imo $149 accounts for the hardware only. Nintendo is going to include per unit marketing costs in the price of the console among other overheads, like all the other companies do, so that's why I think it's going to be $199. But I would be really surprised if it comes for $149.

...most uncommitted third parties will not gain access to this unit for several weeks...

Why do I get the feeling that Satoru Iwata is going to reveal something (SOMETHING!) at GDC '06? Oh I hope he gives some information on the Revolution.

Oh, and keep up the good work Falafelkid!

-- bluelight from

Snoozer said...

Like the two anonymous before me, I would really like to have some games with the system. I was kind of surprised when other consoles don't do that anymore. (my last console is N64).

I'd also like to have 2 controllers, but I don't see that happening (well maybe if it was only a 2nd controller, but no peripherals to it).

I haven't been this excited about an console since... well never.

daniel said...

Launch price is going to be a lot more than $149, the early adopters will still buy it for $299 (I'd be happy to seel a kidney for a Rev right now!).

But the price drops can come fast and furious after that. Lookin' good!

Anonymous said...

You people are a bunch of idiots. Suddenly everyone here is a market analist and pricing expert. Give it a break guys, you're talking out your asshole. Everyone wants to prove how smart they are, but in reality, you have no clue what Nintendo plans to do.

Anonymous said...

hey anon above me, no were not idiots. were excited about it and want to give our thoughts. we all know were not the official word, but who knows, if big n catches wind of what players want maybe they will do it (possibly package in a game with the system).

i say it sells initially for $200 with controller/analog stick. hopefully they ship mario (hopefully its as revolutionary as mario 64) in a different bundle and sell for $240 or something (assuming games cost $50).

thats another thing. i would really like to see new game prices released cheaper, maybe around $35 to fit in with their blue ocean strategy. if that was the case i would say make the mario bundle $225.

i see no way they launch the system at $150. it would be cool, but that would essentially halt any gamecube sales at all. plus you know they want to make a profit somehow, and it helps making at least $50 per console in the beginning. hell, a gamecube with windwaker as bundled by Best Buy retails for $99 right now. a stand alone ps2 is $150.

babble said...

Hi Falafelkid,

THis is all good news, but did you hear about the new rumor that Sony would like to make the PS2 a Rev competitor?

They say they are working on their new "wand" thingy and a new version of the EyeToy.

What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks and keep up the good work.


DlphnMod said...

You are all missing the main point of this post. The important part is that developers are saying that the play experience totally makes up for lack of power.

This my friends is what we have been waiting to hear. I'd pay whatever they want for that.

Anonymous said...

anybody seen this, very very tiny pc.


Anonymous said...

Piranha plant...

I hoping all along their stance on graphics will change but sadly it doesn’t seem like it now, 720p with ability to hook it up to my 21inch TFT monitor would happen been great.
The system should been a least 5-7 times more powerful, Nintendo is too wrapped in this mainstream appeal with nextgen gameplay similar to DS strategy, its left out high performance technology in a big way, it may bite them back 2-3 years, when consider than most casual gamers just love the football, racing, fps games that’s way EA is the No. 1 publisher in the world.

I don’t understand why the cheap strategy didn’t work the first time (gamecube) why it make a big difference now, people are always willing to pay a bit more when they think a product is more superior, what else can explain the 100 millionth PS2 sold…

I am sure I will be blown away by the Metroid prime 3 gameplay but maybe not the Graphics after seeing maybe halo 3….

Anonymous said...

Oh please, that think looks like shit. The Apple Mac Mini is much better in design, and even smaller.

Anonymous said...

You guys kill me. If I put the same "Halo whatever version" on two minitors, one running old Xbox and the other running Xbox 360 - I would be willing to bet my left nut - none of you could dtermine which was the 360 graphics.

Anonymous said...

Piranha plant..

"You guys kill me. If I put the same "Halo whatever version" on two monitors, one running old Xbox and the other running Xbox 360"

You’re missing the point I am a big time Nintendo fan why else would I post here, I certain the Revolution will be most Innovative console ever but why at the expanse of graphics Why! Why! Why!

Anonymous said...

You do realize you'd be betting your left nut on a 50/50 proposition????


Anonymous said...


How does this information reflect your views on projection technology in the rev?


Anonymous said...

hey anon at 6:37am,

i said "revolutionary?" because it kinda mimics the revolution shape, and packs some punch. plus, no fans.

Anonymous said...

@above: very good point!

i asked myself the same after reading this article. espacially because fal considers a 149$ price tag

no way nintendo would include some kind of projection AND all the console hardware for 149$

... so imo quite a bit contradiction in fal statements

but nevertheless great blog at all..

PorpoiseMuffins said...

I'm still betting on $200 for the simple fact that the DS Lite will probably go for $150 and the Game Boy Micro is already $100.

It just doesn't make much sense for the Revolution to be the same price or only $20 more than the DS.

Not to say it couldn't happen...

radical libre said...

I don't think it is a contradiction, in fact I see it as reinforcement of the theory, I mean come on, a DS is 129.99 dollars (and the DS lite is supposed to be about 139.99), how much will it cost if there were no touch screen????? (the strange technology that makes up for the lack of power), I think .. less, no way they're selling they're home console cheaper or at the same price than a DS.

I mean think about it, the revolution cpu, gpu etc.. etc.. technology mass produced is supposed to be something like $99 apparently... now imagine a $250 price point, that leaves around $100
to be spent on "something else" (some kind of big secret, and still winning money for each console sold)

Also I remeber reading somewhere (after searching awhile motivated by one of those crazy conspiracy theorists) that some kind of blue laser projector was supposed to hit the market at a $100 price point (to the final consumer), I mean, It could just be something like that.

radical libre said...

sorry I meant "light blue optics", I just got confused ;)

Tim said...

What i'd want:
199€ with a game (wario revolution?), a controller, a shell and credits for 1 nes game, 1 snes game, 1 n64 game.

Seperate controller: 30 €, shell 20€ - package 40€.

Not that they'd do this, but it'd make the deal unresistable for almost everybody imo.

Anonymous said...

since (mostly) everyone speculates that the system will sell for less than $200, what is everyone's thoughts on the price of new games?

i'd be willing to bet they would be cheaper, but by how much?

Falafelkid said...

Hi D-Bone

How does this information reflect your views on projection technology in the rev?

Very well, in fact. Consider that a console sold for $149 or less is a precondition to an optional peripheral that would cost $99. Good question, though.

Realmy said...

Fal, do these developers know what the last secrets are yet? I've heard some developers (anonymously, of course) make statements about not knowing it themselves. Is that even possible? Wouldn't they kinda NEED to know?

TrueBeliever said...

I already askes this question as a anonymous member, but if there were some kind of 3d projector technology in the Revolution, wouldn't the third party gamedevelopers be already aware of such an option? It seems to me like it would mean a lot for gamestudios to be aware that such an option existed in order to create games specially designed for 3d projection. I have not heard from any gamesdeveloper about such an option, although there is a lot of enthusiasm about the Revolution.

Anonymous said...

truebeliever, you're not thinking outside of the box.

3D Projection just converts the signal
itno whatever 3d alogrithm they use to make it project, just like a RAMDAC on your videocard converts data for a monitor to understand.

It's really no biggie.

Arsenis said...

Even if the knew the secret i don't think they would be hinting at it, thats probably why now they say thats even there is a lack of horsepower still they are exited.

zerorules44 said...

$150 dollars sounds great. That is the amount I originally thought the Revolution will launch for. However I think the Rev will be hurt the same way the gamecube was. If something is too cheap comparied to competitors then average people( the casual gamer) may think that it is a simple child toy and they might be turned away from it because it is inferior.

Anonymous said...

hey Falafelkid.

What impact, if any, does this new information have on the projector theory?

Does it make it more or less likely?

Falafelkid said...

Hi Realmy, hi TrueBeliever.

I've heard some developers (anonymously, of course) make statements about not knowing it themselves. Is that even possible? Wouldn't they kinda NEED to know?


I already askes this question as a anonymous member, but if there were some kind of 3d projector technology in the Revolution, wouldn't the third party gamedevelopers be already aware of such an option?

Again, good question. But let´s take steroscopic projection as an example. This technology works for all games with a 3D engine, regardless of whether they were programmed with true 3D output in mind or not. So current developers need not know that their game was to be converted into a projected stereoscopic image.

Also, consider that the NDAs Nintendo will have made everyone sign threaten developers with hefty fines if anything is leaked. So it´s also quite likely that developers do know, but just aren´t telling. Revealing the price of the SDK and this kind of stuff is one thing and will not be fiercely investigated by Nintendo, while revealing anything about the last secret would.

Falafelkid said...

Hi Anonym. See above.

Falafelkid said...

Hi zerorules44.

A low price may be seen as a weakness, but perhaps not when you offer something so unique. Nintendo´s Revolution will not be directly comparable to PS3 or Xbox360, so it could just be seen as the console that is both different and cheaper.

trip1eX said...

How anyone can believe in a $150 pricepoint and 3d projection is beyond me.

I know you all want to believe and therefore it's convenient to drop all reason to do so, but comeone.

YOu honestly think in 10 months we'll be able to play games on a 60"? 80"? 42"? diagonal screen on our walls with all the clarity of 480p TV. And for only $150 including DVD drive, state of the art gpu, cpu, memory, wi-fi, and the remote controller with attachment. What a deal!

Even more amazing is that television companies such as Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, Sanyo, Samsung, Phillips, Zenith, .... aren't releasing this technology with a TV tuner attached anytime this year. Not one of them. Wow, you'd think one of them would be on to this snake oil, whoops, I mean technology. Hell I'll take 6 projector TVS at $50 a pop for my house.

Folks I have to be the voice of reason here. I'm about the REv. I'm definitely picking one up.

I believed the rumours on the controller because they have some precendence. There were 3d gyroscopic mice on the market that sensed distance to and from the screen. Nintendo had used gyros in GBA games. Nintendo licensed tech from a 3d mouse manufacturer. The inclination too to obtain mouse-like control was obviously there as well. WE all know that consoles were missing this.

But 3d projection? AT $150? A pipe dream today and for quite awhile yet to come. There's no projector on the market that can do quality 480i/p TV at $150. There's no projector on the market that's not more than 3 or 4x the size of the REvolution on the market right.

And yet this tech is supposed to be in the Rev console and the whole thing is supposed to hit $150?

Who's smoking the crackpipe here?

iMoron said...

Felafel... I think that the N64 did came out at $249 for the first few months... here in the US... I remember that well...

So... they could realeased the Revolution for that price... since it would be "below $299" range Iwata said it will sell for...

Tyler said...

Great blog Falafel. I was just wondering, how do you get an image as the title of your blog, like you have? I can't figure it out. Thanks.

Blizz419 said...

@ trip1eX, i also do not believe we will have 3D projection either, but i think you have something confused about 3D Projection, it's actually 3D so you dont display it on your wall, it would appear almost like it was floating in the air, that is one reason why the TV tuner idea wouldnt be big for that technology, atleast just yet, becouse television is in 2D.

910do said...

trip1eX, I agree with you , 3d proj is out of question, but simple projection could be possible, given the fact that the technology is out there "PVpro", really cheap, small, but still , even this thory is a bit "sci-fi",kinda like when Nintendo announced the DS as a dual screened hanheld, people went nuts with crazy theories like 3D screens ....etc, and the real thing was so simple " a touch screen" , I beleive that Revo secret " if there's any " will something really simple , noone guessed it.

trip1eX said...

@blizz419 - It's going to project stuff in 3d in the middle of my room? And what we're going to play on the TV at the same time? Or just use the 3d stuff? How come no one else (retailers, corporations, ...) use this 3d projection stuff to setup displays for advertising and what not if it's so cheap? You'd think if this stuff can now hit a $150 pricepoint (including console btw) that maybe at the $1000 pricepoint we'd see this used in shopping malls and events everywhere already.

And just what kind of quality are the people pushing this theory expecting the 3d to be? Will the images look as good as the average 480p TV?

If so a 3d projector could easily project on a wall in 2d.


I don't think it's projection either. I don't think it's possible at $150. There's also a big difference projecting simple images on the screen and projecting 480p on your wall. The problem wtih that technology is folks assume now they can instantly project 480p screens on the wall with a device the size of a wristwatch. Come on folks. If this was true you'd see this stuff at the Mall already. Stores would have tiny little projectors projecting images on the wall. Hey I'm sure in the future this stuff will be reality. But going from nearly zero reality today to reality in 10 months in a $150 console that's supposed to inviting and ease to use and setup well then that's where you lose your common sense and reason.

I tend to think it will be someting simple too. It will be a technology or something that's in existence commercially on the cheap that hasn't been incorporated into a console. Touchscreens were in PDAs for years. The technology in the remote controller was around for years. In commercial form at cheap pricepoints. You have to crawl before you can walk.

The only far-out thing I can see is Goggles. And that's only because Nintendo has done them before. Still given the success of the Virtual Boy. And the fact goggles run counter to Nintendo's 'invite the non-gamer too' strategy I don't believe it will be goggles either.

The way Nintendo talks there is more to the REv than just one more big secret. They sorta hint at their being other perhaps smaller innovations as well.

Anyway it's not projection or 3d projection. If you disagree I challenge you to lay out how this would go down from an end-users point of view. Where would we have to put the console? What kind of image can we expect to see? ie the quality of the image? Would we have to wear glasses? Is this floating in the middle of the room or rising out from a wall? Is Nintendo going to sell official Nintendo extension cords so I can throw the console on a stand in the middle of my room? Or will the cord be 20' long? Do all this without explaining any of the technology. Just describe the setup and the look of the games.

Blizz419 said...

@ trip1eX it is new technology, it does exist and can cost under $100 when mass produced, but like you i doubt it will be in the rev, for one its too new, second it would only work in dark rooms, 3rd the color one isnt even been completely developed yet.

trip1eX said...

Well I think you're smoking some crack there, but it also sounds like you don't hit the pipe too often. :)

The truth is no one knows if it can be mass produced for $100. That was a pretty weak quote Falafekid has there that sounded like the guy was just saying yeah it's possible because yes in the future it will be possible.

The guy next steered him into thinking it would be more for arcades and that was probably because of cost and setup.

It's a very weak point to hang a far-out theory on. When you talk with sales people and people out hoping to get their into market you get the absolutely best fantastic most wonderful scenario from them. Usually quite a bit ahead of the truth.

And like you added and I suspected dark rooms and not color yet and probably not strong enough to do a big display.