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September 19, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

Nintendo Co Ltd has finally launched its long-promised virtual reality sunglasses-and-console pack, Virtual Boy. Built for immersive combat with three-dimensional video games, the sets should kick up a storm this Christmas. The race is on between Nintendo and its major rivals – Sega Enterprises Ltd, Sony Corp and Atari Corp – for which can catch the biggest piece of the new 64-bit gaming pie. While there’s certainly a lot of competition out there, we think that we have the most unique (game) platform, said George Harrison, vice-president of marketing for Nintendo. The kit comprises a pair of goggles mounted on a small tripod and connected to a two-handed control panel. The player sits at a table, puts his eyes up to the goggles and plays using the game controller. Although the action is three-dimensional, the only colour used on-screen is red, which helped bring the price into a manageable bracket. Retailing for between $180 and $1,000, Virtual Boy is expensive but considerably cheaper than early models which came in at between $2,400 and $10,000. Prices quickly leap upwards from $180 for full-fledged headsets, but the experience is reported to be much more akin to watching three-dimensional, full colour television in a dark room with the screen only a few feet away. The console has headphones built in for stereo sound. Some industry experts have dismissed Virtual Boy as a defensive product to divert attention from competitors’ machines while Nintendo prepares for a 1996 launch of its own 64-bit player, the Nintendo Ultra. However, Nintendo strongly denied this. We really never do things defensively, Harrison told Reuters. (Virtual Boy) is a whole new experience. Nintendo has forecast sales of Virtual Boy to reach as high as 1.5m units by the end of this year.

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