Recently, Nintendo of America's Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Reggie Fils-Aime revealed to tech blog Engadget that over a thousand Revolution controller development kits have been sent out to various studios. In a follow-up story, IGN spoke with developers about these kits regarding their power, price and functionality.
The developers stated that the console's SDK costs a relatively meager $2000. By comparison, the PlayStation 2 SDK was priced about $20,000 per kit at the console's launch. Even the original PlayStation's SDK weighed in between $4000-5000 at the beginning of that system's life span. Notably, the inexpensive nature of the SDK is in line with Nintendo's goal of lowering development costs.
Apparently, developers have cycled through three development kit revisions. The first development kit was a GameCube console with a wired Revolution controller attached. The second was similar, with a few minor tweaks. The third prototype, shipped out approximately a month ago, adhered to the same structure, but also showed some boosts in CPU power. The latest kit, sent out to only top publishers, displays a more 'next-generation' snapshot and comes with a wireless Revolution controller. However, for uncommitted third parties, it will be several weeks before they receive this kit.
Developers preparing playable Revolution software for E3 2006 will soon be receiving the fourth SDK which should provide 90-95% of the final system's achievable performance. According to IGN's development sources, final developments kits are expected to be made widely available around June of this year.
A number of software houses admitted that studios familiar with GameCube achitecture would find little difficulty in getting their Revolution projects up and running with due speed. In regards to Revolution's horsepower, many developers were finding it to be quite sufficient, also saying that the uniqueness of the controller made up for any lower amount of raw power.
On a final note, most studios working on Revolution titles think the console could retail under $200 US, possibly as low as $150.
If the developers are happy with the Revolution power so far, then no one should be worried about any kind of "lack" of power. The final SDK's will most likely be even more powerful and then developer's will see all the aspects of the Revolution. Great news for sure.