Nintendo to announce "new game product" in spring

GameCube successor?

Nintendo will reveal details of a "new game product" in spring next year, president Satoru Iwata has told a Japanese news conference while discussing the Kyoto-based firm's ongoing business strategy.

This would tie in with what he told Reuters earlier this year about launching a next-generation console in 2005 or 2006, and perhaps even with recent development rumours that suggested the console could be ready by spring 2005.

However it is possible that this is not the mythical N5 console at all, and in fact some other form of device. The fact that Iwata-san has spoken of a "successor to GameCube" in the past and reportedly did not do so on this occasion could be significant.

He also reportedly told the news conference on Thursday that Nintendo will introduce a points scheme similar to air miles, in which consumers accumulate points buying Nintendo products.

This sounds similar to the Stars system currently at work here in Europe, whereby punters accumulate points by typing a unique code bundled with software and hardware into the Nintendo-Europe.com website. Each code adds a certain amount of points, as do other pro-Nintendo activities like browsing the website or using its discussion forum, and points can be traded for baubles like screensavers, wallpapers and iron-on T-shirt transfers.

Previously it had been possible to swap Stars for physical games and hardware (such as the WaveBird wireless controller), but that option was removed recently without explanation.

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