Game Boy looks to Internet access

Summary:Forget Net-connected consoles. Soon you'll be able to get online through your Game Boy, if Nintendo has anything to say about it.

Nintendo is looking to enhance its popular Game Boy handheld video game system by adding Internet capabilities that will allow the user download email and play multiplayer games. Nintendo is hoping to have this product available to the US market by the fourth quarter of 2000.

While some may scoff at a child's toy such as the Gameboy being used for tasks typically performed by high powered PCs, remember that handheld games such as Gameboy are much more popular than handheld computers such as the PalmPilot and its Windows CE brethren. Over 23 percent (12 million) of US households with PCs also have a handheld video game while less than 2 percent of US households with PCs have PalmPilots.

Are these PC households that have handheld video games different than households without. Yes and no:

Yes ---> Income is similar within PC households with handheld video games and without.

No ---> Households with handheld video games tend to be less educated.

Nevertheless, Nintendo has a strong handheld client base to build on. Price points for the enhanced Game Boy rendition have not yet been released, but the current model costs less than $100. Undoubtedly, the new Gameboy is poised to compete with a gaggle of other net devices offering Internet capabilities at extremely low prices. The forthcoming holiday season is the opportune time for Nintendo and others to penetrate the market.

For a breakdown of the numbers, click here to go to ZDNet's InfoBeads.

Topics: Networking

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