NEW YORK -Nintendo announced during Toy Fair, here, that it will release its next-generation handheld game platform Game Boy Advance on June 11, a month earlier than originally planned.
According to a company statement, "The system was originally scheduled to roll out later in the summer, but huge demand prompted the moved-up date."
Nintendo believes the next-generation handheld will be a runaway success. It features a larger screen, a left-and-right button layout, and a 32-bit color graphics engine, capable of running 512 colors simultaneously with graphics roughly comparable to the old Super NES home console.
Additionally, the new platform will be "fully compatible with all pre-existing Game Boy and Game Boy Color games." It will offer the ability to link up to four Game Boy Advance units for multiplayer action, and each unit will have the ability to serve as a controller for the forthcoming Nintendo Gamecube home-based console, due this fall.
The prior Game Boy unit "represented 47 percent of all hardware systems sold through in 2000, nearly as many as all consoles combined," Nintendo points out. The company estimates a global penetration of 120 million Game Boy devices to date.