Yesterday, IGN64 got an exclusive interview with Nintendo's Software Engineering Manager Jim Merrick, and Nintendo's mysterious silence was revealed to be strategic, not due to inactivity. After talking about how much life is left in the Nintendo 64, they went into why Nintendo has not announced the full statistics of their upcoming system, still codenamed "Dolphin." Basically, he said that they felt no need to, since Sony's announcement already rained on Sega's parade. Nintendo has decided to wait for when they have some games to show, and will only show it when it would be best.. like right before the launch of Playstation 2. One of the other things that he revealed is that there ARE Dolphin development kits out, and that Nintendo is still aiming for a holiday 2000 release, including a decent amount of launch titles. Another thing that they hinted at was that the online capabilities would be available, but would most likely not be included with the system at launch, as Nintendo wants to keep the price low and leave such upgrades at the discretion of the buyer. As much as that sounds like a Sega CD, if the price is as low as they've been hinting it will be, it won't be much of a hassle. To read the full interview, just click here.
In other news, Nintendorks interviewed a source "close to Game Boy Advance's American hardware engineers" and they stated that the Game Boy Advance would be available in Japan in Summer of 2000, but would not be available outside of Japan until 2001. They state that the reason is Pokémon, and due to the sales of the popular franchise and the Game Boy Color systems themselves, there is no reason to release a new system that would simply cause Nintendo to compete with itself. This full interview is available here.
Now, as for the Pokémon part, it's not hard to believe, but for more reasons than they're saying. There has been a lot of talk that there will definitely be a Pokémon game at the system's launch, and that would not be a surprise. In fact, not having one would be a huge mistake. If the U.S. were to get a new Pokémon game this summer with a new system, that would interfere with Nintendo's release of Pokémon Silver and Gold next fall. Hopefully there will be more information released on Nintendo's plans for Game Boy Advance and the launch games soon.