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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

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Nintendo undercut Microsoft, Sony

Launch price for GameCube unveiled

Once upon a time, consoles were relatively cheap and the games you bought for them were the expensive part. One has not-so-fond memories of shelling out £59.99 for Donkey Kong Country on the Super Nintendo a few years ago, for instance. Nowadays the games all have RRPs of about £39.99 but quickly hit £29.99 after reductions, and the budget lines clammer for your attention at £9.99-19.99. The consoles cost, though, and £299.99 is rapidly becoming the norm for launch pricing. But not so, say Nintendo, who have come out on the last day of the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3, but it deserves its full title once on this pages, I suppose) in Los Angeles and confirmed GameCube pricing for its November 5th launch in North America. The price is $199.99, 2/3s of the price Microsoft announced for Xbox and the price Sony still retails the PlayStation 2 for. In fact, although they have plans for a reduction, Sony may only lop $50 off the price later this year, which means GameCube will enter the market as the cheapest console, and it will certainly be the only console which boasts a proper complement of Japanese games. In terms of market shares, we reckon come Christmas, Nintendo will own Japan, Microsoft will be the dominant force in the States and Sony will be clinging onto Europe because it won't have either of the other consoles yet. This is mostly to do with the split in software though - Microsoft, while having Japanese developers on board, will have trouble competing with the Japanimation nuts working in Nintendo's fold, and conversely Nintendo will have difficulty drumming up support in the US that competes with Microsoft's. So who's taking bets on a White Christmas? Related Feature - Nintendo's announcement