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Reporter's Notebook: E3 Show in L.A.

Staff Reporter Troy Wolverton is in Los Angeles to attend the Electronic Entertainment Exposition -- better known as E3 -- which is the video-game industry's giant annual gathering. He'll file occasional dispatches on news, rumors, sights and thoughts from the show.

Tuesday

LOS ANGELES -- Nintendo's press conference this morning was the last by the three big console makers. And in terms of details on next-generation devices, it certainly had the least of the three.

Nintendo said little about the Revolution, its upcoming replacement for the company's current GameCube console. Nintendo will release the device, which will include a main processor from IBM and a graphics chip from ATI Technologies next year. The game machine will have built-in Wi-Fi networking, and its controllers will connect wirelessly to it. As the company said earlier this year, the machine will be able to play GameCube games.

Additionally, Nintendo executives said the Revolution will be able to play games designed for previous Nintendo consoles, going back to the original Nintendo Entertainment System. However, gamers shouldn't start uncrating their old games from the attic. In terms of previous-generation games, the Revolution will be able to play only GameCube ones directly; instead of being able to plug in NES cartridges, gamers will have to download versions of NES and other system games from the Internet.

Beyond that, Nintendo said -- and showed -- little. While Sony and Microsoft have been touting 3.2GHz processors and the memory capacity and graphics power of their new machines, Nintendo gave no details about the Revolution's processor or any other technical specifications of the device.

Similarly, Nintendo showed only a couple of still images of games apparently designed for the Revolution. In contrast, at the heart of both Microsoft's and Sony's press events on Monday were moving scenes from games designed for their new devices.

Beyond saying that it will launch the Revolution next year, Nintendo gave no date or even season for the device's debut. Like its competitors, the company also kept mum on a price for the new machine.

That's not to say that Nintendo didn't have some surprises for the audience. The company showed off a new version of its popular Game Boy handheld system. This one, called the Game Boy Micro, will go on sale this fall and is about the same size as one of Apple's (AAPL) iPod mini music players. The Micro will be able to play all games made for the Game Boy Advance. Nintendo did not say how much it will cost.

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