Nintendo announces GameCube online plans

GameCube modem and broadband adapters to be made available in the fall.


Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst

Nintendo has announced that it will sell both the dial-up and broadband adapters for the GameCube in the fall for $34.95 apiece. The first product that will be available for online play will be Sega's Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II, which is also scheduled for release in the fall. Nintendo will continue to focus on offline gaming but stated that it realizes that there is a market for online products and has deferred royalty fees from third-party publishers who produce online content for the GameCube.

"Nintendo is known for great gaming, and our first priority is to continue that legacy," explains Satoru Iwata, director of corporate planning for Nintendo Co. Ltd. "Game content developed with that sole mission will enhance the joy of video gaming."

"The profitable part of the online business is very likely several years away. Entering the business because it's the hot topic of the day doesn't make a profitable business nor satisfied customers," Iwata adds. "That's why it will be a part of Nintendo's strategy, not the mainstay, as other companies are attempting to do. There still are too many barriers for any company to greatly depend on it."

Nintendo stated that it is currently making online software development kits available to third-party developers and is investigating internal projects as well. The company is reportedly in talks with a number of developers to bring online projects to the GameCube. Nintendo hopes that its royalty-free model for online games will encourage developers to try out new ideas with their online GameCube projects. Nintendo stated that save for Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II, there will be no online projects shown or discussed at E3 for the GameCube.

"We understand the strong appeal of online gaming to a select group of video game players, and indeed, it's one way to increase their satisfaction in exploring new types of gaming," says Peter MacDougall, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Nintendo of America Inc. "To make online more appealing to the rest of the game-playing population, we're taking concrete steps to aid our development partners in overcoming some of the inherent technical and financial obstacles to successful online games."

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