For US$20 (€) you’ll soon be able to buy a GBA cartridge containing up to 45 minutes of high-quality (well, for a 240 x160 pixel screen anyway) video and animation. Nintendo are addressing an issue that they’ve long had with their games consoles: kids keep switching them off and watching television. Admittedly, they tend to watch Nintendo cartoons, but then that might expose them to adverts for other companies’ products.
So, Nintendo have brought the cartoons to their GameBoy Advance in the form of cartridges containing between two and four episodes of popular cartoons. First up will be a selection of episodes from the Pokémon franchise, followed by other titles from other series: SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly Oddparents, Dora the Explorer and Codename: Kids Next Door, and Sonic X.
“Even by the remarkable standards of product evolution that have characterized the Game Boy franchise, this is a landmark event,” says George Harrison, Nintendo of America’s senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications, said in a statement. “Pokémon is part of the first step in revolutionizing the nature of portable video entertainment, with eventual reach targeting all demographics.”
This is a remarkably similar idea to the ZVue player we talked about a few months ago – though since Nintendo has sold more than 20 million GBA players in the USA alone, the Zvue’s prospects look somewhat diminished.