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Nintendo Revolution: first picture and details revealed

With just hours to go until Nintendo's pre-E3 conference kicks of in LA, newspaper USA Today has published the first picture of the company's next-generation console, Revolution.

It's a slim and sleek design, no bigger than a pile of three DVD cases, and features a front-loading disc tray. Like Microsoft and Sony's offerings, the console can be positioned horizontally or vertically.

USA Today has also confirmed that the Revolution is backwards compatible with GameCube games, and - a first for Nintendo - will play DVDs. An Xbox Live-style online service is planned, and will offer downloadable versions of almost all the games in Nintendo's back catalogue, from classics such as Donkey Kong to more recent titles including Mario Sunshine. There's no word on a pricing system, however.

The console is said to offer two or three times the power of the GameCube - a somewhat humble claim compared to the figures Microsoft and Sony have been quoting. But "It's not all about having 'turbo power'," Nintendo exec Perrin Kaplan is quoted as saying. "It's about what you do with it."

"We've built Revolution around the concept of 'all-access gaming'," Kaplan continues - meaning developers should find it easy to create games for the console, and all types of gamers should find something in it that appeals to them. "We're about sticking to the soul of gaming," Kaplan states.

It's also worth noting that Nintendo has traditionally cited more realistic figures for the performance of its consoles than Microsoft or Sony - who both tend to manipulate the figures in ways which are by no means untruthful, but which don't give a realistic view of how the systems will perform in real world conditions.

Last generation, for example, Nintendo's graphics performance figures for GameCube were significantly lower than the PS2 and Xbox figures - simply because Nintendo cited figures for fully textured and lit polygons per second, while its rivals cited raw throughput figures that would never be achievable in a real videogame.

As such, assuming that Revolution will be enormously less powerful than its rivals is no safe bet. Nintendo certainly isn't aiming for the performance crown like Sony is, but their console is unlikely to be completely out of the league that PS3 and Xbox 360 are in, as these figures would seem to suggest.

The Nintendo conference kicks off at 4.30pm UK time.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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