CES - Nintendo puts Game Boy in autos with Visteon

Nintendo's Game Boy Advance titles will soon be playable on a portable in-car entertainment system.

Nintendo Co. has licensed its Game Boy Advance technology to automotive electronics supplier Visteon to use as part of a new portable gaming system for bored passengers, the companies announced Thursday at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show.

Dubbed the "ultimate backseat babysitter" by Visteon's Greg Gyllstrom, vice president and general manager for the company's North American aftermarket business, the Dockable Family Entertainment System will now play game cartridges for Nintendo's Game Boy Advance as well as DVDs, executives said at a press conference.

The Dockable Entertainment system resembles a small laptop computer or portable DVD player, with a 10.2-inch screen. It can be used as a laptop, or docked into a port on the inside roof of a car. The system hangs upside-down when docked into its port, with the screen folding down like other portable automotive DVD players.

A wireless controller and wireless headseats come standard with the system, Gyllstrom said. Users can play any of their Game Boy Advance titles on the system, or plug in another Game Boy to allow two players to compete against each other for bragging rights or the honor of choosing the restaurant at the next rest area on their journey.

Nintendo has licensed its games and other technology to other device makers in the past, such as for use in hotel entertainment systems or on airlines, said Peter Eck, director of Nintendo Gateway Products for Nintendo of America. But this is the first time Nintendo has licensed the technology to a portable device maker, he said.

Visteon will not formally release the Dockable Entertainment featuring Game Boy Advance until April, and the company does not plan to release pricing information until then, Gyllstrom said. He likewise declined to name any automotive manufacturers that have contracted for the system, but Visteon already has BMW Group and Nissan Motor Corp. as customers for its Dockable Family Entertainment System, he said.

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Tom Krazit

IDG News Service
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