IBM ships first microchips for Nintendo Wii

IBM has announced that the microprocessors that will serve as the digital heartbeat of Nintendo’s upcoming Wii video game console are being shipped from IBM’s state-of-the-art East Fishkill, N.Y., fabrication facility.

Earlier this year, IBM and Nintendo signed a multi-year microchip production agreement to support the upcoming launch of Nintendo’s eagerly anticipated Wii video game console. The chip, code-named “Broadway,” will deliver experiences not previously possible on video game consoles.

“The first chips are in our possession,” said Genyo Takeda, Senior Managing Director/General Manager, Integrated Research & Development Division, Nintendo Co., Ltd., in the press release. “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.”

Under the terms of the agreement, IBM will produce millions of fully tested, Power Architecture-based chips featuring IBM Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technology at 90 nanometers (90 billionths of a meter), based on the specifications of the custom design agreement previously agreed upon by the two companies. The chip is being produced at IBM’s state-of-the-art 300mm semiconductor development and manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, N.Y.

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.
Microchips based on the Power Architecture are the electronic brain of devices large and small, and are inside automotive safety systems, printers, routers, servers and the world’s most powerful supercomputers.

“The IBM team has worked hard to design, develop and deliver this customized Power microprocessor for the worldwide launch of Nintendo’s new system,” said Ron Martino, director, IBM Technology Collaboration Solutions, in the press release. “When millions of gamers take the controls of Wii this holiday season, the IBM logo will once again be front and center on this innovative new product.”

The relationship between IBM and Nintendo dates to May 1999, when IBM announced a comprehensive technology agreement to design and manufacture the central microprocessor, often referred to as the “Gekko” chip, for the Nintendo GameCube™ system from its Burlington, Vt., production facility.

Nintendo’s Wii — pronounced “we” — is promised for the final quarter of the calendar year, but the release date and price haven’t been announced.

MacDailyNews Note: Not Apple-related, but may be interesting to some MDN readers. We’re going to follow the story of Nintendo’s Wii for pretty obvious reasons.

Related articles:
Can Nintendo’s Wii end up number one in market share? – July 18, 2006
Nintendo Wii wins E3 ‘Best of Show’ award – June 01, 2006
Nintendo’s Wii steals show at Electronic Entertainment Expo – May 12, 2006

21 Comments

  1. Uh yeah the Wii is so much more interesting than Xbox and PS3.

    With all the Wii’s sold how can anyone come to any other conclusion?

    Isn’t this the same logic that assures the M$ pundits that Vista is better than OS X?

  2. Mike,

    Sorry I forgot that MDN is an abbreviation for:

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  3. It appears that Nintendo’s strategy to refine their GameCube hardware in the form of Wii will pay off with a steady and reliable production of relatively cheap consoles. SONY’s strategy of being at the bleeding edge has backfired because all the sophisticated components of the PS3, namely the Cell processor and Blue Ray laser, have lead to limited supplies, high prices and a compromised launch.

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