Following a strong rumour that Nintendo’s next console has been shown to developers and will hit at E3, new details claim the machine is “significantly” more powerful than both 360 and PS3, and is codenamed “Project Café”.
Nintendo’s next – the rumours
To be shown at E3.
Rumored to be codenamed “Project Café”.
Supposedly more powerful than 360 and PS3.
HD up to 1080p.
Motion-sensing “better than Move”.
Controller with built-in screen.
Blu-ray drive included.
E3 or “sooner”
Game Informer started the ball rolling last night, with a report that the console in question supports HD resolutions, and that it’s considered to be competitive to both 360 and PS3.
According to the various sources, Nintendo is already showing the new console to third-party developers in order to get them excited, and provide the firms with plenty of time to create titles before it hits the market in 2012, supposedly.
“Nintendo is doing this one right,” said one anonymous source. “[It’s] not a gimmick like the Wii.”
It is unknown at present whether the system will feature a regular controller as the main configuration, but it is assumed motion controllers will be part of the package. It is being reported, though, that the system is more than just an “HD Wii.”
This new rumor may lead some credence to earlier rumors of a Wii price drop on May 15, which will allow the company to move remaining stock of the console.
No word on whether the new console will be backwards compatible with current Wii titles is know either at present, or if it will even include Wii branding.
“Significantly more powerful” than PS3 and 360, controller with screen
Following the Game Informer report, however, IGN sources have done away with the whole “comparable to PS3 and Xbox 360” line: they allege that Nintendo’s next big thing will blow both out of the water. Apparently, it’s “significantly more powerful.”
Why the ideological 180? According to the sources, this is Nintendo’s bid to “recapture” the hardcore market, and 1080p support will come part and parcel with that.
Unsurprisingly, an all-new controller will also be part of the package, but details are still scarce. It will, however, apparently have its own built-in touch screen.
French website 01.net is rumoring that the console’s codename is “Project Café”, and contains similar to Xbox 360, but is a bit more powerful, and will make porting current titles designed for 360 easy to port over to the new Nintendo System.
It’s even reporting that it could be retro-compatible with GameCube and will, like last night’s rumors, support Wii games and peripherals.
According to 01.net, the console specs include a custom IBM PowerPC CPU with three cores, a GPU from the ATI R700 family, a version 4.1 shader unit, and at least 512 Mb of RAM.
The site also concurs that the controller is a touch tablet, with moderate , sub-HD graphic output with a single-touch 6-inch screen, a front camera which acts as a Wii sensor bar, two d-pads, two bumpers, and possibly more than two triggers.
A rumored release puts the console on Japanese retail shelves in June 2012, and around the holidays elsewhere. At any rate, a “pre-announcement” is rumored for this month, so Nintendo’s mystery machine may not remain a question for too much longer.
In addition, Edge is reporting that sources have said the machine will have motion-sensing “capabilities that are ‘better than Move,'” and that dev kits have been with the likes of Ubisoft, EA and Activision for “months”.
Just for fun, Blu-ray.com is rumouring the machine will have a nice blue laser.
Is it a little too late?
Whatever the firm decides to put under the hood though, analysts are of the opinion Nintendo waited too late to bring a new home console to the market.
Speaking with Eurogamer, Wedbush Morgan’s Michael Pachter said: “I think the right time for the console was in front of Kinect and Move, and think that Nintendo has forever lost one customer for each Kinect and Move unit sold,” he said. “That means they should have launched the Wii 2 in Fall 2009, and at the latest in Fall 2010, so a launch in 2011 is late.
“With that said, it’s never ‘too’ late, since they can retain the lion’s share of the market by inducing current Wii owners to upgrade, and by capturing undecided consumers who have either not yet purchased a console or who have not yet bought Kinect or Move.”
M2 Research analyst Billy Pidgeon agreed that Nintendo needs to hurry if it is to succeed with a new console in the market.
“Nintendo needs to launch first in the next generation, as Wii is somewhat saturated and the console’s low resolution graphics lag in the current generation,” he explained to EG. “I expect the next Nintendo console in 2012 at the latest, so a 2011 E3 launch announcement is a strong possibility. There will be some risk for Nintendo in the next generation – Wii has a huge installed base and Nintendo should work to keep that base active as long as possible.”
Pidgeon speculates that the next console from Nintendo will include improvements in motion control, and possibly even a Kinect type of camera. That said, the analyst admitted he would be “disappointed if it didn’t have some off-the-wall innovation that pushes the medium forward in an unforeseen direction.”
Finally, EEDAR VP Jesse Divnich offered the opinion that when it comes to creating consoles, Nintendo “doesn’t go with the flow, they never have, and gamers can expect Nintendo to continue to be original and offer up an experience that simply cannot be found or matched on other platforms.”
As for anything further, Divnich couldn’t speculate as to what the firm has up its sleeves.
“Unfortunately I cannot speculate on what a Wii 2 will have,” he said, “I literally have no information on it, so anything I speculate will surely be wrong [but] a Wii 2 announcement [at E3] certainly wouldn’t be a shocker if they plan for a 2012 holiday release.”
“Stay tuned,” says NOA
In response to these new rumors, a NOA representative wouldn’t comment on the matter to Game Informer, but slyly told the site to “stay tuned.”
Pachter agrees that E3 will be the stage for the announcement, because if Nintendo doesn’t “don’t do it this year, then it might be too late next year.”
Supposedly, the firm also has another big surprise for E3 they can’t talk about just yet, according to 01.net.
E3, then. Better bring your game face, folks.