Released November 2003 (delayed from its original anticipated released of September 2003), the iQue Player is a plug and play console specifically targeted at Chinese gamers. Nintendo's consoles were previously only accessible to those in developed countries and they felt it was time to create a more simple, cheaper console so their games could also be accessed by people is developing countries, especially those inland who are not as wealthy as those in coastal areas. The iQue Player's launch price was around 498 yuan (US$60).
The iQue Player is capable of playing games designed for the Nintendo 64 and Super NES and runs these games off a 64 MegaByte Flash Memory card (48pin TSOP from Samsung comes with the system). The system comes with 5 games already loaded onto the card (the full version of Doctor Mario, as well as a number of time-limited demos, such as a 10-hour demo of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a 7-hour demo of Mario 64, and 1-hour demos of Wave Race and Star Fox) and additional games can be downloaded for around 48 yuan (US$6) via Download Stations at Nintendo-affiliated game stores, CD stores and book stores throughout China (similar to the concept of Disk Writers used by the Famicom Disk System). Games may also be available for purchase via Internet download. 10 games were available for the system upon launch, which were translated into Chinese.
The iQue Player uses similar nanotechnology to the Sony PSX (a variation of the PS2 that features a hard drive and the ability to record digital video) and is the first device to use such technology. The controls are similar to the Nintendo 64 controller with A, B, L, R, Z and directional-C buttons as well as the analogue and digital controls. Being a plug and play console means that the console itself and controller are all housed in the one unit which simply connects directly to the television. It runs off an AC power adaptor (included) unlike some other plug and play consoles which use batteries.
The iQue Player's operating system is an Updateable Operating System (UOS) which gives the manufacturer the ability to change the unit's features any time and then the user can download the operating system updates to their Flash Memory card.
Nintendo took precautions when entering a console specifically into the piracy-plagued Chinese market (As Nintendo had previously not officially released their consoles in China, this market is full of unauthorised clone systems instead). Each Flash Memory card has a digital signature specific to the unit it came with so that a Flash card from one unit cannot be used with another. The Flash card also stores a download log that records what games have been purchased for use on the unit. It will prevent the downloading of games that have not been purchased, but at the same time is an advantage to the user. If a purchased game needs to be deleted to make room for a new game, the download log will remember that the game was previously purchased so that the user may re-download the game at any time free of charge. The download log is also what keeps track of the limited time demos.
Platform: iQue Player.