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Nintendo Last in Line (revealing)

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LOS ANGELES(AP) Let the battle for the digital den begin _ again. Nintendo Co. on Tuesday was the last of the three major video game console makers to preview its next-generation system, called Revolution. The Japanese company had a tiny surprise, too.

Revolution will face stiff competition from Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 and Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3 as the manufacturers vie to attract a more diverse audience with products that serve as digital entertainment hubs instead of just serving up video games.

After years of promoting their existing consoles with big-budget games, the three companies touted sleek new technology this week on the eve of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, an annual industry meeting that begins Wednesday.

The ability to play older games was addressed by all three makers, with backward compatibility meaning owners of the new systems will be able to play games created for the existing Nintendo GameCube, Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation 2.

Nintendo went a step further, announcing Tuesday to applause and cheers that Revolution's built-in wireless Internet will provide downloadable access to the thousands of games in company's 20-year-old library, going back to the original Nintendo Entertainment System.

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's president, did not provide many details on the Revolution but he showed an enthusiastic audience a black prototype box with a blue, front-loading disc drive as well as a picture of several possible color schemes, ranging from silver to bright yellow.

He said the final box will be about the size of a stack of three DVD cases.

Details on Revolution's high-tech innards were less specific than what is being provided by Microsoft and Sony.

Aside from the included Wi-Fi networking, the Revolution will have wireless controllers, two USB 2.0 ports and slots for DS memory cards. Nintendo did not say anything about the processor or graphics chips that will be used to power the machine, other than that they are being developed by IBM Corp. and ATI Technologies Inc.

"This is the console where the big idea can prevail over big budgets," Iwata said.

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