The fight to pull in gamers has become so cut-throat that SNK has cut the price of its colour handheld gaming device before it even hits the shelves.
SNK said its Neogeo Pocket Colour will now retail at £59.99 instead of £69.99 when it starts shipping next month. The decision to cut the prices is in part due to Sony and Nintendo’s move to slash the price of their consoles in a bid to beat off competition from Sega’s Dreamcast, which will ship at the end of this month.
“We felt that at £69.99 it really was too close to console pricing,” said a spokesperson.
SNK was adamant at this week’s gaming expo ECTS in London, where it was debuting the Neogeo, that it “is no toy”. “It is aimed at serious gamers who have grown up with games,” commented a spokesperson for the company.
The Neogeo offers up to 40 hours of continuous gaming and can display up to 146 colours on screen from a palette of 4096. It boasts the largest portable screen on the market and is the only handheld to include a joystick.
SNK said it will have 14 titles available at launch, competitively priced at £24.99 each. Another 25 titles will be available by the end of the year. Industry watchers believe it will be high on every gamer’s Christmas list.
SNK will also have a big start over its competitor, Nintendo which has just announced a successor to its Game Boy, codenamed Game Boy Advance. The handheld will offer some mind blowing features including the ability to download games from the Internet, play games online, take part in real time chat and send and receive email.
Using a digital camera and Internet connection players will even be able to see each other while playing.
Unfortunately gamers are in for a wait. The Game Boy Advance is slated to launch in August 2000 in Japan and will be available in the US and Europe in time for Christmas.
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