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Spring 2005 launch for next Nintendo console?

Making good on its promise to beat MS and Sony to market.

A number of online sources are reporting that Nintendo will launch the successor to GameCube as early as Spring 2005, with the platform holder allegedly already talking about the new system with key external developers.

The rumours seemingly originate with those developers, who have been told that the hardware will debut in early 2005 (in Japan, presumably - a simultaneous worldwide release shouldn't be ruled out but does seem highly unlikely).

No details of the specifications of the system are available as yet, even in the form of vaguely credible rumours - although we do know that Nintendo recently signed a technology deal with ATI, which could indicate that the graphics company will be reprising its role on GameCube by supplying the core graphics chipset for this next console.

Several development studios are thought to be working on titles for next generation consoles already, and all three platform holders are known to have revealed select details of their next generation hardware to key second and third party developers. However, none of them have distributed any form of development kits or tools for the platforms yet, and they are not expected to do so until the middle of next year.