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IBM Announces Wii Chips In Nintendo Hands 258

Posted by Zonk
from the next-gen-consoles-will-send-me-to-an-early-grave dept.
simoniker writes "IBM has announced that the 'Broadway' CPUs created for the Nintendo Wii have been shipping from the company's East Fishkill, N.Y., fabrication facility since earlier this year. Nintendo, it would seem, is ramping up for the launch of their next-gen console in a month or two." Joystiq and Kotaku have the news as well. From the article: "Nintendo has also confirmed their reception of IBM's chip: 'The first chips are in our possession,' said Genyo Takeda, Senior Managing Director/General Manager, Integrated Research & Development Division, Nintendo Co., Ltd. 'Today's milestone marks the final stage of our drive to reach both core and nontraditional gamers with an inviting, inclusive and remarkable gaming experience.'"
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IBM Announces Wii Chips In Nintendo Hands

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  • Digitizers? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by headkase (533448) on Friday September 08, 2006 @12:30AM (#16064157)
    I'm wondering whether or not the wimote will work with my setup. I have a tv card with a built-in mpeg decoder. So when I'm pointing the thing at my lcd monitor the raster information has been lost - no more timing signal at 60hz. Am I confused or does the wimote work in such a setup?
    • Re:Digitizers? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 08, 2006 @12:34AM (#16064175)
      The Wii will work on any kind of TV, because the TV has nothing to do with the controller. There is a small (about the size of a couple pencils glued together) sensor bar you place near the TV. It doesn't matter where you put it, but that general area is where you'll be pointing the remote. So put it near the TV, and it seems like the distance you are from the TV affects the sensitivity of the controller. The closer you are to the bar, the higher the sensitivity.
      • Not quite... (Score:4, Informative)

        by GFLPraxis (745118) on Friday September 08, 2006 @02:38AM (#16064516) Homepage Journal
        "The closer you are to the bar, the higher the sensitivity."

        Opposite, actually. Getting too close (within a couple feet) of the TV tends to make it hard for it to get exactly where you are pointing. I tried putting the Wiimote close to the TV to see if it helped me aim when I was playing it at E3, and when it made the pointer go nuts the representative told me that it loses sensitivity when you get that close and to stand back.

        I could aim better from a distance.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by fithmo (854772)

        As long as it works better than the sensors I had to strap to the television for the Power Glove. I bought it new, I still have it, it still works, and I still don't know how to use it. Worst use of allowance ever.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stesch (12896)
        But using something like iTheatre (portable video glasses) could be a bit difficult, am I right?
    • by headkase (533448)
      Preview! Preview! Preview!
      decoder = encoder
      • by fm6 (162816)
        You're assuming he knows the difference between an en and a de.
        • Re:Digitizers? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by headkase (533448) on Friday September 08, 2006 @02:36AM (#16064511)
          My first computer was a Radio Shack TRS-80. I didn't have any storage mediums (not even tape) so I had to write something for it to do each time I turned it on. Sometimes I would press the reset button really fast to occasionaly cause a bad initialization. I really do remember the days of going uphill both ways to the computer shop. When I upgraded to a Commodore 128 (which I used almost exclusively in 64 mode) I unfortunately purchased an MSD brand hard drive instead of a 1541 drive which almost every piece of software depended on for copy protection purposes. So I had to reverse engineer my software to remove the copy protection before I could play it. One of the last protections on the 1541 was called V-Max (for Verify Maximum) and as a cracker I loved it because it was a third party product - once I cracked it it was the same protection for all titles.
          Been there done that. :p
      • You might have other problems playing the Wii (or any video game) through that then. The extra encoding time might cause you some short but crucial amount of lag between the console output and the image appearing on the monitor.

        I ran into this some years back when I had a similar setup.
    • Re:Digitizers? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MadUndergrad (950779) on Friday September 08, 2006 @12:35AM (#16064178)
      You seem to be talking about some sort of lightgun setup. My understanding is that the Wii comes with a sensor that you place near your tv (or monitor) that triangulates the position and orientation of the wii, plus of course the accelerometer and gyroscope in the offhand attachment. So I shouldn't think you would have any problems.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bombcar (16057)
      The Wiimote doesn't work like the light guns of the past; it uses the two bars you sometimes see in the pictures, one goes beneath the screen and one goes on the side.

      See this [nintendo.com].
    • The sibling posts say it all... but keep in mind the Wii is supposed to have a direct monitor connection port. So I'd think it would support LCDs. :)
    • Re:Digitizers? (Score:4, Informative)

      by QuantumFTL (197300) * <justin,wick&gmail,com> on Friday September 08, 2006 @03:32AM (#16064628)
      According to the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org], the Wiimote uses a 1 megapixel imaging sensor to detect (what is most likely) IR light from the "sensor bar" that's placed at the bottom of your screen. To see how that works, try pointing a remote control at a digital camera or a camcorder - if you press buttons the remote, it will light up brilliantly, yet not be a distraction to humans.

      To be honest, I'm not sure how they plan to get full positioning information from a horizontal bar, as I don't think any of their other sensors are absolute, which could lead to serious drift problems. They likely use Kalman filtering or some such to minimize the error, but I really do want to know how they stabilize this.

      I suppose it would be theoretically possible for the Wiimote to also lock on to the display (the frequency would not matter, just the overall size and shape) and use that to reduce uncertainty, but for now we can only speculate on the inner workings. I for one can't wait to get my hands on one!
  • So we had to decide. Do we want video games or fish?
  • Wii launch date (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DeanCubed (814869) on Friday September 08, 2006 @12:37AM (#16064189)
    Well, most analysts have predicted that the Wii would launch either mid-November (the 15th being thrown around a lot), November 1st, or sometime around Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. With this news that production has been going strong for almost two months, I think the earlier date is much more likely. If Nintendo can take advantage of a month's head start on the actual holiday season, it pretty much guarantees them second place worldwide behind the 360 until at least the end of summer 2007, and likely well into 2008. If the PS3 can't ship their 6 million before Nintendo ships theirs, it doesn't matter about demand. Plus, whichever console sees the most sales between November 2006 and March 2007 will undoubtedly get the most developer support, which will lead to an even stronger holiday season 2007. By January 1st 2008, the "winner" of this generation will have basically been decided. At that point, as we've seen with generations past, whoever has the most games wins.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Just releasing a product doesn't guarantee anything. It has to live up to expectations or else the first few adopters will trash it on the net and general media and then demand will dry up. Same goes for the PS3.

      It's interesting how you assume that XBOX 360 will be number 1 and that the Wii won't get past it. I know many people who would have never bought a console who are definately going to be buying a Wii. Even my girlfriend has been bugging me every week asking me when we can go buy one. This could be

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by DeanCubed (814869)
        Well, I was assuming it wouldn't get past it before 2008. There's a huge head start, and may developers are choosing the 360 over the PS3 when deciding on what platform to put their game. Many of those games won't make it to Wii based on the Wii's audience, and it's hardware capabilities. And those 360 exclusives should keep it ahead for the next couple of years. If, however, the Wii has more games than the 360 by 2008, then there's a good chance that the Wii will overtake the 360 by the end of the gene
        • by timeOday (582209)
          One risk to Wii that people here don't seem very concerned about is that it isn't very fast! As if simply being released at a certain date places a console within this "generation" of consoles. Well, I'm not so sure. A low-cost console with a catalog of low-cost games is a great thing... that's why I recently bought a PS2! I can buy any of thousands of games for $10-$15. For those who want better hardware, there's the XBox 360. With a year head-start over the Wii, will the price difference still be th
      • by shigelojoe (590080) on Friday September 08, 2006 @01:39AM (#16064365)
        Even my girlfriend has been bugging me every week asking me when we can go buy one.

        I wish *my* girlfriend looked forward to playing with my Wii with such enthusiasm.
      • by Ewan (5533)
        Quite simply, Nintendo won't manufacture enough Wiis before the end of next year to catch the 360, this is the same issue Sony are going to have.

        Microsoft plan to have shipped 15 million 360s by June 2007, Nintendo and Sony are both planning selling around 6 million by that same point. If you take a conservative estimate of 360 production for the final 6 months of 2007, around 5 million units, then both Sony and Nintendo need to make 14 million of their consoles each in 6 months and sell every one to be ahe
        • by masklinn (823351)

          Microsoft plan to have shipped 15 million 360s by June 2007, Nintendo and Sony are both planning selling around 6 million by that same point

          Wrong, they plan to sell 6 million by March 2007, definitely not June.

        • You're assuming first outta the gate wins. Compare Dreamcast to PS2.
          • The Dreamcast was a special case. Sega abandoned not one, not two, but three consoles... not a good way to build consumer goodwill.

            Normally, being first out of the gate is no small advantage. Companies make games because the 360 already has a fanbase, and the fanbase grows because companies are making games for it. It's a vicious cycle of momentum, one that I think will keep the 360 on top for a while.

            For the record the Wii is shaping up to be my favourite, and I'll probably buy a 360 a couple years d
          • by Ewan (5533)
            I'm assuming first to 15 million has a pretty good chance, did the Dreamcast sell that many in it's entire life? I had one, but I didn't know anyone else with one.

            I dont think the 360 will be totally dominant, but at this point I don't see the Playstation 3 outselling the 360 by enough to first overtake it and then make a significant lead in the market much before Microsoft after ready to launch their next generation.

            After all, give that Microsoft pushed the 360 way ahead of when the general public were exp
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I know that there's a lot of people who want to run out and buy the Wii. However, there's a lot of people who think it's just too weird. Your GF can't wait to get one. My GF on the other hand, thinks it's kind of stupid. She had enough trouble getting used to analog sticks, and still has tons of trouble playing anything that's in 3D. No Mario Sunshine for her. Too disorienting. She'd rather have sidescrollers and overhead games like bomberman (The original, Or multiplayer on Bomberman Generations).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by uvajed_ekil (914487)
      Hmm. This argument is sound and very well-reasoned, but I don't quite buy it. It works if you consider the two consoles and their projected markets to be identical. But with the PS3 being a more capable machine aimed more at hardcore gamers, and the Wii being a machine of lesser abilities hoping to cash in on casual and young gamers, you have to take more into account than release date. Even if SOny moves the PS3 relases date back to 2008, developers will still support it, and people will still buy it.

      Nin

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by KDR_11k (778916)
        I think the hardcore gamers are the ones that care the least about the PS3 because the hardcore gamers are well informed and have been complaining about graphics taking precedence over new ideas in gameplay for quite some time now. In fact I'd wager the PS3 aims more at the high-end hardware lover market, the kind that really wants HD. I wouldn't say those are hardcore gamers, a hardcore gamer is perfectly content playing a 10 year old 2d game over a modern 3d game if it offers superior gameplay. Of course
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        and the Wii being a machine of lesser abilities hoping to cash in on casual and young gamers, you have to take more into account than release date. Even if SOny moves the PS3 relases date back to 2008, developers will still support it, and people will still buy it.

        First off, I don't think the Wii is hoping to cash in on Young Gamers but that is besides the point; the Nintendo DS was a machine of lesser abilities hoping to cash in on casual and young gamers and it is leading (and extending its lead) in eve
    • I know it seems early, but i work in retail, we got the Q4 game release schedule, and theres nothing on the second, but Wii games start popping up on the 10th and 17th then. Also i guess there was a recent press release from nintendo that had launch dates for every week in Q4 except for then 2nd, Nov 20th and 27th. I dont think the Wii is gonna launch on the same day as the PS3 or after black friday, so that leaves the 2nd of october. Which, although a little earlier than everyone though, shouldnt cause pro
  • Wii, PS3, Xbox360 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by j235 (734628) on Friday September 08, 2006 @12:43AM (#16064203)
    The console wars are over before they even start. IBM wins.
    • by Danga (307709)
      I agree, I considered a 360 but then didn't get one due to the fact I was too busy with other stuff. I am very glad I waited.

      For one, I am a HUGE Zelda fan, so being able to play Twilight Princess will be AWESOME. Another big selling point for me is the virtual console since I can access NES, SNES, N64 (as well as other consoles of the past) games. I love retro gaming so having the ability to access games from all those older consoles kicks ass. I wish it could play HD-DVD's or Blu-Ray DVD's but since t
      • Re:Wii, PS3, Xbox360 (Score:5, Informative)

        by ZakuSage (874456) on Friday September 08, 2006 @01:10AM (#16064280)
        Do you not understand the point he's trying to make? IBM is manufacturing the CPUs for 360, Wii, and PS3, thereby making a killing irregardless of who "wins".
        • by Danga (307709)
          I overlooked that in my excitement. My bad. I still think the Wii will be the winner this time around, especially for the price it is supposed to be released at as well as the other points I made.
      • by mgblst (80109)
        Agreed. I like blue, but purple is a close second.

        See what I did there, started the post with the word agreed, but then went of talking about something completely different. Why should I waste time reading the article or the posts, just pick one at random and say what I came to say.

        Good one, cheeseball!
    • AMD also win - they own ATI, who make video chipsets.
  • by admactanium (670209) on Friday September 08, 2006 @01:14AM (#16064290) Homepage
    that twenty years ago people said macintoshes were toy computers and ibm's were serious business machines. now macs use some stonkin intel processors and ibm processors are behind every next generation game console.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DrXym (126579)
      Except the IBM processors are pretty stonking too. The Cell is basically a 8-core processor - one general purpose CPU and 7 GPU-like cores for handling large amounts of data. Supposedly it is much, much faster than any Intel chip at floating point calculations. This may be why Sony worked with folding@home to produce a PS3 client - to demonstrate that the thing could kick seven shades of shit out of any standard PC when it comes to intensive number crunching. I expect IBM also have their eyes on the thing f
    • by mgblst (80109)
      Yes, the world has changed in 20 years. Welcome to reality mac guy.

      We in the PC world have seen for a long time games pushing CPU technology (with GPUs).

      Ibm still make serious business machines (IBM big iron), see the other post today about IBM making the fastest mainframe with POWER chips.
  • by Korin43 (881732) on Friday September 08, 2006 @01:39AM (#16064366) Homepage
    It's like Nintendo actually expects people to buy these things and doesn't need to limit the supply to make them sell out.. Crazy!
    • well when you don't sell everything at a loss just to infiltrate people's living rooms with your branding the economics is a lot simpler:

      the more units you sell, the more money you make.

      a business model based on actually making a profit is a strange concept I know, but maybe it's just crazy enough to work!
    • by masklinn (823351)
      Seems to work with the DS' (at least in Japan) for now.
  • by revolu7ion (994315) on Friday September 08, 2006 @02:46AM (#16064534) Homepage
    oh, sorry - i misread the title...
    • by cortana (588495)
      ... and slept through English class when you should have been learning how to use apostrophes.
  • Stay tuned for next weeks news..."ACME Box Co Announces Wii shipping boxes are in Nintendo's hands"

    So they got a part...do we really need a blow-by-blow?
  • I think all of us would have naturally assumed that Nintendo would already have received the processors from IBM. As well as the rest of the parts they need from all the other various vendors. It's not like they wouldn't be getting them until a week before launch date.

  • by tygerstripes (832644) on Friday September 08, 2006 @05:15AM (#16064873)
    The first chips are in our possession,' said Genyo Takeda
    So... in other words, "All your chips are belong to us".
  • the company's East Fishkill, N.Y., fabrication facility

    Their manufacturing plant, which no doubt produces some toxic chemicals, is in a town called East Fishkill? There's gotta be an interesting story behind that name :)

    • Re:Fishkill (Score:5, Informative)

      by Y-Crate (540566) on Friday September 08, 2006 @07:03AM (#16065098)
      Their manufacturing plant, which no doubt produces some toxic chemicals, is in a town called East Fishkill? There's gotta be an interesting story behind that name :)
      "Kill" means "Fresh Water Channel" in Dutch. Since New York City was once called "New Amsterdam" for a good reason, you can understand why the word "kill" pops up all over the place. It was however, a cringe-worthy experience hearing about all of the World Trade Center debris being taken to the Fresh Kills landfill five years ago. I could imagine how people all over the country were reacting to hearing the name over and over again, without any explanation from newscasters as to what "kill" meant in this particular context.

      To those unknowledgeable about the origins of the word, it sounded like New Yorkers had particularly horrific taste.
      • by Chris Burke (6130)
        To those unknowledgeable about the origins of the word, it sounded like New Yorkers had particularly horrific taste.

        That's pretty dang funny. Particularly because, instead of what at first seems like a bizarre and violent name for a landfill, it turns out to be the completely commonplace convention of naming a development after what you destroyed to put it there (naming a housing complex "Cedar Grove", a landfill "Fresh Water").
  • FTFA: According to the company, Silicon on Insulator technology from IBM helps deliver to Nintendo a generous improvement in processing power, while achieving a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption compared to the 'Gekko'.

    Less energy consumption usually means less heat. If there is less heat could we be seeing a higher clocked version of the chip than the one shown at E3?
  • These are essentially upgraded versions of the Gamecube chip after all, right? With about twice the processing power and 30% less energy usage.

    Sony's Cell architecture comes off as being a whole lot more complex. I don't know if IBM delivered for them on time or on budget, or how much more time they spent on architecture development. The point is that if IBM missed timely delivery on the new Wii chips, I'd be pretty surprised.

    • by DrXym (126579)
      These are essentially upgraded versions of the Gamecube chip after all, right? With about twice the processing power and 30% less energy usage.

      The specs are still unannounced, but I'd doubt they would blow anyone away. It does sound like a low power consumption powerpc chip - the kind of thing that might have seen light of day in a Mac Mini or a laptop if Apple had stuck with the PPC architecture. The Wii is very unlikely to need the computing power of either the XBox 360 or PS3 though since it has a lowe

  • by Chacham (981) *
    "IBM has announced that the 'Broadway' CPUs created for the Nintendo Wii have been shipping from the company's East Fishkill, N.Y., fabrication facility since earlier this year.

    I knew it. The double-ewe aye aye stupid name change isn't true. Indeed, IBM even admitted it was a fabrication. Long live the Nintendo Revolution!
  • Forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't the East Fishkill [techweb.com] plant the one that Sony just invested millions of dollars upgrading to support fabricating Cell processors?

    I smell potential lawsuit!
  • True that no matter which wins, there are going to be IBM chips in them. But they're all interesting chips -- meaning non-Intel. And IBM (and the other fabricators) will sell bizzillions of them, and that should drive the cost of them down.

    So a few questions:

    When will we see these chips getting cheap enough to use as PCs? (How many years of production will it take to make these $100 CPUs.)

    Will people want that? They're optimized for games, and while there will be Linux ports for all of them, will they
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by uarch (637449)
      1) These chips won't be in PCs. They're a PowerPC derivitive and won't be running your x86 PC code. That being said its already possible to pickup sub-$100 CPUs if you aren't fixated on getting the fastest core out there. (Just like Nintendo didn't want the fastest possible core. They wanted good performance for low-cost)

      2) I'd be surprised if someone didn't get Linux up and running on it but I doubt it'll be a common practice.

      3) Yeah, Cell is definitely interesting to program since its parallelism is t

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