The Game Boy Advance (ゲームボーイアドバンス Hepburn: Gēmu Bōi Adobansu) (GBA) is a 32-bit handheld game console developed, manufactured and marketed by Nintendo as the successor to the Game Boy Color. It was released in Japan on March 21, 2001, in North America on June 11, 2001, in Australia and Europe on June 22, 2001, and in mainland China on June 8, 2004 as iQue Game Boy Advance. The GBA is part of the sixth generation of video game consoles. The original model does not have an illuminated screen; Nintendo addressed that with the release of a redesigned model with a frontlit screen, the Game Boy Advance SP, in 2003. A newer revision of the redesign was released in 2005, with a backlit screen. The final redesign, the Game Boy Micro, was released in 2005. Nintendo continues to manufacture and repair GBA units to this day, even after it was discontinued.
As of June 30, 2010, the Game Boy Advance series has sold 81.51 million units worldwide. Its successor, the Nintendo DS, was released in November 2004 and is also compatible with Game Boy Advance software.
Contrary to the previous Game Boy models, which have the "portrait" form factor of the original Game Boy (designed by Gunpei Yokoi), the Game Boy Advance was designed in a "landscape" form factor, putting the buttons to the sides of the device instead of below the screen. The Game Boy Advance was designed by the French designer Gwénaël Nicolas and his Tokyo-based design studio Curiosity Inc.
News of a successor to the Game Boy Color (GBC) first emerged at the Nintendo Space World trade show in late August 1999, where it was reported that two new handheld systems were in development. An improved version of the GBC with wireless online connectivity was codenamed the Advanced Game Boy (AGB), and a brand-new 32-bit system was not set for release until the following year. On September 1, 1999, Nintendo officially announced the Game Boy Advance, revealing details about the system's specifications including online connectivity through a cellular device and an improved model of the Game Boy Camera. Nintendo teased that the handheld would first be released in Japan in August 2000, with the North American and European launch dates slated for the end of the same year. Simultaneously, Nintendo announced a partnership with Konami to form Mobile 21, a development studio that would focus on creating technology for the GBA to interact with the GameCube, Nintendo's home console which was also in development at the time under the name "Dolphin". On August 21, 2000, IGN showed off images of a GBA development kit running a demonstrational port of Yoshi Story, and on August 22, pre-production images of the GBA were revealed in an issue of Famitsu magazine in Japan. On August 24, Nintendo officially revealed the console to the public in a presentation, revealing the Japanese and North American launch dates, in addition to revealing that 10 games would be available as launch titles for the system. The GBA was then featured at Nintendo Space World 2000 from August 24 to 26 alongside several peripherals for the system, including the GBA Link cable, the GameCube - Game Boy Advance link cable, a rechargable battery pack for the system, and an infrared communications adaptor which would allow systems to exchange data with each other. In March 2001, Nintendo revealed details about the system's North American launch, including the suggested price of $99.99 and the 15 launch games. Nintendo estimated that around 60 games would be made available for the system by the end of 2001.
In 1996, magazines including Electronic Gaming Monthly, Next Generation, issues 53 and 54 of Total! and the July 1996 issue of Game Informer featured reports of a new Game Boy, codenamed Project Atlantis. Although Nintendo's expectations of releasing the system in at least one territory by the end of 1996 would make that machine seem to be the Game Boy Color, it was described as having a 32-bit RISC processor, a 3-by-2-inch color LCD screen, and a link port—a description that more closely matches the Game Boy Advance. It also may have referred to the unnamed, unreleased Game Boy Color successor prototype that was revealed at 2009's Game Developers Conference. It was announced that Nintendo of Japan was working on a game for the system called Mario's Castle, ultimately unreleased. Nintendo suspended the project in 1997, since the original Game Boy's 80% of the handheld market share was too high to merit the release of a successor.