Nintendo to delay GameCube launch

Japanese release put back two months, but no indication given of whether the European launch will be later than next spring

Gamers were warned on Wednesday that the launch of Nintendo's next-generation GameCube console would be later than previously expected.

The GameCube is the successor to the Nintendo 64 console. It will now go on sale in Japan on 14 September 2001, two months later than planned, while the US launch has been postponed one month to November 2001. It is unclear whether the console's European debut -- previously planned for spring 2002 -- has also been put back.

Once on sale, the GameCube will compete with the Sony PlayStation2 (PS2) and Microsoft's forthcoming Xbox console. The PS2, which went on sale in Japan last March, was hit by supply problems and did not reach shops in the UK until late November, initially in limited quantities.

Microsoft has already warned that the Xbox, which should be released in America and Japan in time for this Christmas, will not be available in Europe until early 2002.

Nintendo's shares plunged almost five percent in trading in Japan on Wednesday after a newspaper report that its operating profit had fallen 41 percent in the last year. They recovered after the company announced that its net profit for the year would actually be likely to be greater than expected, but that sales would be more than seven percent lower than forecast.

For complete gaming news, see GameSpot UK.

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