IBM Inside the New Wii U from Nintendo

Tech company IBM says it will provide the microprocessors that will serve as the heart of the new Wii U system from Nintendo. Unveiled Tuesday at the E3 trade show, Nintendo plans for its new console to hit store shelves in 2012.

The new Power-based microprocessor will pack IBM technology into an energy-saving silicon package that will power Nintendo’s new entertainment experience for consumers worldwide.

IBM’s embedded DRAM, for example, is capable of feeding the multi-core processor large chunks of data to make for a smooth entertainment experience, says the company.

Nintendo, of late, has been adding more value to its gaming solutions. It has just announced the first major system update for the hand-held Nintendo 3DS system. By installing the free update via a wireless broadband Internet connection, Nintendo 3DS users will have access to an Internet browser and the Nintendo eShop. (Read: Nintendo Offering Internet Browser, Online Store)

The gaming solutions company has also introduced portable entertainment in 3D – without the need for special glasses. The Nintendo 3DS at a suggested retail price of $249.99 comes with a collection of pre-installed games and fun features. (Read: New Nintendo 3DS for Portable Entertainment)

IBM plans to produce millions of chips for Nintendo featuring IBM Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technology at 45 nanometers (45 billionths of a meter).

The custom-designed chips will be made at IBM’s 300mm semiconductor development and manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, N.Y.

The relationship between IBM and Nintendo dates to May 1999, when IBM was selected to design and manufacture the central microprocessor for the Nintendo GameCube system. Since 2006, IBM has shipped more than 90 million chips for Nintendo Wii systems.

“IBM has been a terrific partner for many years. We truly value IBM’s commitment to support Nintendo in delivering an entirely new kind of gaming and entertainment experience for consumers around the world,” said Genyo Takeda, senior managing director, Integrated Research and Development, at Nintendo Co., Ltd.  

“We’re very proud to have delivered to Nintendo consistent technology advancements for three generations of entertainment consoles,” said Elmer Corbin, director, IBM’s custom chip business.

IBM made the announcement Tuesday, June 7.

RMN News

Rakesh Raman