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.
Thanks to: Joystiq, Joystiq