Nintendo talks 'Revolution' for next-gen

Iwata bangs the drum again for innovation over technology.

The next-generation home console from Nintendo is codenamed "Revolution," company president Satoru Iwata has revealed at a conference in Tokyo where he once again championed the firm's focus on innovation rather than technology.

The only concrete detail which emerged about "Revolution" at the conference is the fact that the new device will include the ability to connect up to PC monitors as well as TV sets, without the need for any additional hardware.

Beyond that, Iwata kept his talk about the system vague - largely repeating his own mantra about the need to innovate in the next generation in order to interest consumers, and the importance of providing new gameplay rather than just focusing on more advanced technology.

"However it might have been in the past," he told the audience, "increased hardware efficiency isn't connected to the consumer's enjoyment any more" - and went on to say that "in the next generation, gameplay is what's important."

He presented the Nintendo DS as an example of what he was talking about, describing it as a device which used technology in new and exciting ways rather than simply doing the same things on faster hardware.

"We at Nintendo aren't brushing off the need for high technology," he said, "but we think there are other ways of taking advantage of it. The Nintendo DS' double screen or touch sensitive panel isn't particularly new, but there weren't any other companies that thought of using them in video game machines."

This way of thinking is being pushed on the GameCube as well - with a version of Mario Party which will arrive later this year set to eschew the familiar GameCube controller in favour of an entirely new interface, which is believed to be a camera similar to the Eye Toy product for the PS2.

It's on the next-generation "Revolution" console, which has also been dubbed with the somewhat less pretentious "N5" moniker, that this innovative approach is expected to really come into its own, however.

"We're thinking of an innovative idea for our next generation console that's completely different from consoles in the past," Iwata said. "It will be clearly distinct from the other next-generation consoles that competing companies will develop. What's important isn't a next-generation technology, but a next-generation way of playing games."

Despite the downplaying of the technical capabilities of Revolution, it's widely expected that the forthcoming device will be based on cutting edge graphics and processor technology, and well capable of holding its own against its rivals in the console market. Processors based on IBM's Power5 architecture will sit at the heart of the system - as they will on Xbox 2 - while an ATI graphics solution is believed to be in development for the console.

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