Mario Bros. creator Nintendo will show off its GameCube in Tokyo on Thursday. Joining Nintendo on stage will be Big Blue, announcing that each video game console will sport a logo promoting IBM--a first for the computing giant as it tries to boost its profile as a supplier of technology components.
IBM's PowerPC processor will be the engine for the console, which is scheduled for release Sept. 14 in Japan. In North America, the device was originally schedule to ship on Nov. 5, but the company announced late Wednesday that it would delay the launch for about two weeks.
Although IBM is best known for branded products such as its ThinkPad laptops, it also supplies chips and other parts for a number of outside companies. Its PowerPC chips run devices ranging from television set-top boxes to mobile phones.
IBM wants to keep its brand strong and help give manufacturing partners an edge as computing continues to move beyond the PC to special-function devices, said Mark Lefebvre, director of marketing for IBM Microelectronics. He said that after its debut on the GameCube, the "IBM Technology" label will appear on a variety of devices, such as mobile phones, digital cameras and handheld computers.
IBM will work together on marketing with some manufacturers. "The end user in the consumer space is not necessarily concerned about the specific technology," he said. "But they do identify with the idea that IBM represents quality and innovation in technology, so the IBM name carries some weight when they make a purchasing decision."
Nintendo is relying on the GameCube to help it maintain its No. 2 position in the video game market as competition heats up. Microsoft will enter the market Nov. 8 with its Xbox console. Despite the two-week delay, Nintendo still expects to sell 4 million GameCube units by the end of its fiscal year on March 31.
The GameCube is on display this week in Tokyo at Space World, Nintendo's annual fan fair and media event.
Analysts see GameCube as a worthy competitor to Xbox and Sony's already-popular PlayStation 2 for a number of reasons, including game software based on exclusive Nintendo characters such as Pokemon and the gorilla-challenged tradesmen, the Mario Bros.
At $199, the GameCube will GameBoy Advance portable game player.$100 less than its two competitors. It will also connect to Nintendo's market-leading
Reuters contributed to this report.