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Nintendo’s Project Café: what we know, what we want

Tuesday, 26 April 2011 08:11 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Nintendo’s confirmed its next machine will be unveiled at E3. Keza MacDonald looks at everything we’d like to see from the new console, and what we know so far.

What is Project Café?

Nintendo’s successor to Wii.

It’ll launch in calendar 2012, but after March 31, missing fiscal 2012 and jumping into FY2013.

Will be unveiled at E3 this June in Los Angeles.

With Wii release schedules drying up, it’s been obvious for a while that Nintendo has had something up its sleeve. Whatever it is will be revealed at E3. Pro tip: it’s almost certainly not this or this. The first is based on a supposedly leaked slide whose wording (as well as the design) is distinctly un-Nintendo, and those controllers look both prohibitively expensive and stupid. But with this company, we can’t rule anything out completely – to a lot of people, Wii looked stupid too.

Anything you read about Project Café before E3 is obviously going to be 90 percent conjecture. We’ll refrain from speculating wildly on the thing’s specs and round up all the facts so far, along with some ideas about what we’d love to see.

What we know

  • It’ll be released in calendar year 2012. We’d usually bet on an autumn or winter launch, but the 3DS schedule has shown that Nintendo is willing to deviate from convention. It could be here within a year.
  • It will have touch-screen controllers. We have it from good sources that this is definitely happening, though nobody knows what form it will take. The first (completely fake) mock-ups show Gamecube-like conventional controllers with six-inch touchscreens plonked down in the middle like a Wavebird keyboard, but we can be almost certain it’ll be something more inventive than that. Digital Foundry has speculated on the streaming technology that could be used to pump HD video to an independent touch-screen controller – as always with Digital Foundry articles, I understand about one in three words, but you might get something out of it.
  • Expect the unexpected. This is a company that has consistently surprised everybody with its hardware. At last year’s E3, 3DS stunned the show with its quality and inventiveness. Don’t rule anything out.

What we don’t know

  • The price. Unlike Sony or, to an even greater extent, Microsoft, Nintendo has never sold hardware at a loss. It’s one of the reasons it’s always weathered the lean times: every Nintendo product sold makes the company money. Based on absolutely no information at all, EEDAR analyst Jessie Divinch reportedly told NowGamer that he would expect a price of $299 to $349, which is certainly not outwith the realms of possibility for a Nintendo hardware launch.
  • The specs. Rumours have been flying around about the new machine’s power for weeks. Sites’ sources have claimed that it will be more powerful than the Xbox 360 or PS3, but I don’t think we can lock that down as known information yet – this wouldn’t be the first time that Nintendo has prioritised technical innovation over horsepower. IGN looks to have had the best stab at this so far.

What we think

  • The Wii Vitality Sensor disappeared quickly after its announcement – it wouldn’t be surprising to see it implemented in some form into a new console, whether as an add-on or an integrated feature. A universal Virtual Console platform is also surely a must – if Project Café does not build upon the foundations that the Wii has laid in this area, allowing you to transfer your purchases of SNES, NES, N64, Megadrive games, et cetera, onto a new and better platform, it will be a huge mistake.
  • No 3D. After spending so much time and money pushing the glasses-less 3DS, and using freedom from unattractive extra eyewear as a selling point in all their advertising, I’d be enormously surprised if Nintendo suddenly started pushing 3D as a feature in a home console. It has to play on people’s TVs, after all, and there’s no mainstream glasses-free 3D big screen yet.
  • MotionPlus technology out of the box. Nintendo’s new console has the potential to be the first with modern motion-sensing technology right out of the box, which would be a big step along the technology’s path from “expensive add-on” to “standard functionality”.

What we need

  • It’s finally time for online. Now 3DS has finally, finally embraced wireless connectivity properly, it’s time for Nintendo’s home consoles to follow suit. Wii has had some good ideas here – Everybody Votes, the Nintendo Channel, Iwata Asks content and more – but actually playing games online is still practically impossible. It really is time for that to change.
  • Better digital delivery. Although the Virtual Console has been successful, the same can’t be said for WiiWare. It’s cumbersome and off-putting to use, and compared to PSN and, especially, Xbox Live Arcade, it’s hardly an attractive prospect for developers. Nintendo will need to improve and better integrate its digital delivery service, and offer games at lower price points.

What we want

Starfox’s absence has been keenly felt since the Gamecube’s Starfox titles. A new game in this classic space-fighter series would be well-suited to showing off Project Cafe’s extra graphical grunt. A new Pikmin game has been announced, then denied, then sort of announced again for years now, and would be a very welcome addition to the roster. Nintendo has been hinting at a new Miyamoto IP since 2006, but it hasn’t yet emerged, so it’s possible we’ll see that as well. Animal Crossing is due another update, too, and it’s a property that has traditionally been at the forefront of Nintendo innovation, from the N64 through to Wii.

Project Café talking points

It’ll feature a touch-screen controller.

3D will most likely not be included, according to comments by Satoru Iwata.

Metroid and Donkey Kong: Country Returns dev Retro Studios thought to be working on title for system.

EEDAR predicting a $299 to $349 price range for the tech.

I think it will be a while before we see new Zelda and Mario games, though. Skyward Sword isn’t even out yet, and with Mario 3DS in the works it’s unlikely the team will double up.

3DS connectivity should be there. Nintendo has been supporting connectivity between its portable and home consoles for three generations now – the N64 and Game Boy with Pokemon Stadium, the GameCube and GBA with Zelda: Four Swords, Animal Crossing and Pac-Man Vs., and the Wii and DS with… actually, I can’t think of any game at all that used that wireless connectivity in any significant way. But if the controllers are indeed independent portable touch-screen devices in themselves, it’s probable that any 3DS connectivity would take a back seat. Do expect it to happen, though.

It’s all go for E3 – we’ll be there at the conference when this thing is announced, fighting against the finger-paralysing excitement to liveblog the whole thing. In the meantime, though, let’s all work ourselves into a frothing frenzy about what it might be, and what we want to happen. It’s all part of the fun.

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15 Comments

  1. James Mac

    Rouge Squadron?

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    *salute*

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Hunam

    I think the rule of thumb for Nintendo now is that unless everyone thinks the console is stupid and will fail from the first announcement it wont sell. If everyone is floored and thinks it’s going to change the world it’ll struggle to meet that expectation.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. CptKurk

    Wii’s successor will miss FY2011 (April 2011 – March 2012), not FY2012 (April 2012 – March 2013).

    #4 4 years ago
  5. StolenGlory

    Yep, totally booking off days from work to blog this bad boy :)

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Patrick Garratt

    @4 – Ta. I’ll change it.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Blerk

    Unless the third parties really pick it up and run with it, I remain indifferent.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Blerk

    Also, less waggly bullshit, please.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Rudderless

    I’d like to see something as disruptive as Wii was. I don’t see the point in having a console that’s identical to two I already own with perhaps slightly better graphics, and I’m not entirely sure why people seem to want exactly that.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Hunam

    @9 I agree with you. Having 3 identical versions of the next, next Call of Duty just seems insane, rather than the standard 2. Then again we had 3 versions of every game last gen yet, somehow, the prospect still seems stupid.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. mathare92

    I’m quite interested to see how they’ll fit a touch-screen, dual-analog controls and precise motion-sensing into one controller. Is that even ergonomically possible?

    #11 4 years ago
  12. daytripper

    superb article, pretty much agree with everything written, especially starfox

    #12 4 years ago
  13. 2plus2equals5

    Obviously i’m curious about it, but i’m not interested at all.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. StolenGlory

    They’ll get my interest if, as Blerk says, they really run with some decent non-shovelware software support.

    Well, that and a decently robust and comprehensive online offering comparable to Xbox Live and PS… No, just Xbox Live.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. ManuOtaku

    #14 well PSN is good for a free service,i want microsoft to come with something that good for free, or something free just to have a choice too, if the new nintendo online offering is on those lines iam more than happy.
    P.S that and keep the opera browser i do enjoy surfing the net on my tv.

    #15 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Sony has dropped the price of the PS4 in the UK. For a limited time only, you can grab the console for £299.99 from Argos, Game, Tesco and Very. Go to Amazon.co.uk and you’ll get it for £289. You’ve only got until April 28, then it goes back up to £349. Go, go, go. For […]

  • Mad Max: first ever gameplay footage revealed

    Today, we get to finally take our first look at gameplay from Mad Max. Avalanche and Warner Bros. have shown off the first gameplay trailer for Mad Max today. The trailer below offers a look at melee combat, car combat, customisation and much more. Give it a watch below: There are a few new screenshots […]

  • Overlord: Fellowship of Evil has four-player co-op like we figured

    Codemasters has pulled the veil back on the next Overlord game, and its a four-player co-op game called Overlord: Fellowship of Evil. Rhianna Pratchett is back to write the story. The game may be co-op at its core, but it can still be played single-player. Each of the four playable character have strengths and weaknesses, […]

  • Update now available for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon X and Y

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire along with Pokemon X and Y are being updated by Nintendo to fix a few bugs and in-game text. There’s also the possibility of a few hacks and exploits being fixed. Per Nintendo Life (via Serebii), both patches are 250-270 blocks in size, and it’s a mandatory update which […]

  • Side-scrolling cover shooter Not a Hero gets a demo

    Not a Hero, the upcoming game from OlliOlli developer Roll7, has received a demo. The demo for Not a Hero was made available today on Steam. In the game, you play as Steve, the campaign manager for BunnyLord. A time-travelling rabbit who’s running for mayor of London. Think this is an absurd premise? This trailer […]

  • You have until April 30 to export your Green Day: Rock Band tracks to Rock Band 3

    Harmonix has announced that those looking to export their song collection from Green Day: Rock Band into Rock Band 3 can only do so until the end of the month. April 30 will be the cutoff date for anyone who wants to export tracks from Green Day: Rock Band into their Rock Band 3 library, […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight minimum, recommended, and ultra PC specs revealed

    Batman: Arkham Knight is looking like it’s going to be quite a taxing game. Nvidia has released a list of the minimum, recommended, and ultra PC requirements for Batman: Arkham Knight. Here’s the full thing: Minimum OS: Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required) Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz | AMD Phenom […]

  • Bloodborne patch 1.03 is live, reduces loading times, fixes suspend/resume bugs, more

    Patch 1.03 is now live for Bloodborne. The patch reduces loading times, adds item descriptions to loading screens, and fixes other various bugs. From Software has pushed update 1.03 live to all Bloodborne owners. As promised, it reduces loading times by approximately 5 to 15 seconds. Another new addition is showing item descriptions instead of […]

  • Battlefield 4: first look at Community Map in action

    Get your first look at the map designed by the community of Battlefield 4. Battlefield 4′s community-designed map is a reality. DICE has recently updated CTE to include an early version of the map. It’s not fully textured as Westie is about to show you, but the layout is nearly finalised. Westie goes over the […]

  • Microsoft apologises for uploading misleading Witcher 3: Wild Hunt footage

    Xbox’s YouTube channel uploaded a video of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt yesterday that was captured from the PC build. The most recent gameplay video for the The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt appeared on the Xbox YouTube channel and showed a quest from the game’s opening section. A few minutes after it had gone live, […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator’s new game is Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey

    Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is the game Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets has been working on. Patrice Desilets has just announced that the next game his indie studio Panache Digital Games is making is called Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. The announcement comes from Desilets’s keynote at the Reboot Develop event in Croatia. The trailer started […]

  • Bloodborne: Cathedral Ward closed door mystery solved

    The mystery of the locked door at the bottom of the Cathedral Ward in Bloodborne has been solved. Bloodborne, like earlier From Software games, is filled with doors that don’t open the first time you try them. Some will give you “locked” messages, others “does not open from this side”. Some of these will open […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets is revealing his next game now [UPDATE: ended]

    Patrice Desilets, one of the original creators of Assassin’s Creed is hosting a presentation where he’s expected to talk about his next project. Patrice Desilets has emerged once again. This time he’s attending development conference in Croatia. Desilets is giving a live keynote and there’s a good chance we’re going to hear about his next […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: everything you need to know about gear upgrades & The Reef

    Bungie revealed plenty of important details in last night’s Destiny stream. Let’s go over everything. Alex wants to make sure you don’t miss any of the information revealed yesterday. Most of it affects all Destiny players too, even those who don’t intend on buying House of Wolves. During the first stream, Bungie explained the armour […]

  • Mod-friendly Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access in May

    Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access next month for a full release, Stardok has announced. The developer called the game the “largest and most diverse strategy sandbox to date,” as players have a variety of tools such as diplomatic treaties to resource exchanges, and United Planets resolutions to hundreds of research directions for […]

  • Ys 6: The Ark of Napishtim is out next week on PC – here’s the pre-order trailer

    Ys 6: The Ark of Napishtim will be released next week on PC, and today, we have a pre-order trailer for you. The game will be made available on April 28 for $19.99/€17.99/£13.99 on GOG, the Humble Store and Steam. Along with improvements over the original PSP version, it will contain less backtracking, controller support […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – full gear set up to level 34 in PvP and PvE, upgrades, more

    The Destiny: House of Wolves livestream this afternoon was chock full of information. Read onward for our full report. According to Bungie, Petra Venj, who serves the Queen, is the main story agent who leads the player through the main series of quests. Players who complete bounties will be able to level up in her […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – watch the livestream right here

    Bungie will host a Destiny: House of Wolves livestream at 2pm EDT today, and you can watch it right here. Watch live video from Bungie on www.twitch.tv The stream will introduce the new social space, The Reef, as well as gear upgrade paths. House of Wolves contains new Strike missions, The Prison of Elders three-player […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team: week of April 22 team includes Barcelona, Chelsea players

    This week’s FIFA 15 Team of the Week is now available for FIFA Ultimate Team players. Each team member, as with previous weeks, is selected base on the previous weekend’s matches. Here’s the list of players now available: Starting GK: Claudio Bravo – FC Barcelona (Spain) CB: Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus (Italy) CB: Ömer Toprak […]

  • Sony’s Spring Fever Sale winds down with Shovel Knight and Call of Duty discounts

    It’s the final week of Sony’s Spring Fever Sale which means more games have been added to the mix. Shovel Knight, which launches today is one offer, and the rest are all Cal of Duty titles. The Taken movie series is on sale as well. With Shovel Knight available today on PlayStation 3, PS4 and […]

  • Drivers for Xbox controllers, voice messages, more features available in Xbox One preview

    Microsoft has announced new features coming to Xbox One and the Xbox App on Windows 10 through the preview program this month. Some of the new features have been requested by the community for both Xbox One and Xbox One SmartGlass. Here’s what to expect, straight from the horse’s mouth: Xbox on Windows 10 Game […]

  • Total War: Warhammer has been announced for PC, Mac, SteamOS

    Total War: Warhammer has been announced after previous teases from The Creative Assembly touched upon it. The game will contain “gigantic monsters, flying creatures, legendary heroes and storms of magical power.” It is also the first in a trilogy which includes two additional standalone titles and extra content packs. It will feature thousands of warriors […]

  • This video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt features a quest from the prologue

    A new video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been released, showing off the Precious Cargo quest contained in the game’s prologue. The quest tasks Geralt with helping a merchant retrieve a mysterious box from the swamps. The scene looks familiar, but we’ve seen so many videos for the game it’s hard to tell […]

  • Limited public beta for The Elder Scrolls Online kicks off tomorrow on consoles

    The limited public beta for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited will launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One tomorrow, and Sony has provided details on the tester for those who’ve been invited to participate. The beta test contains the full version of the game and will run from April 23-27, and will start and […]

  • Dying Light debuts in second place on Media Create charts

    Techland’s Dying Light made its debut in Japan lats week, coming in a respectable second place behind Nintendo’s Girls Mode 3: Kirakira Code. The zombie shooter sold 25,530 units on PlayStation 4, while the top earner for the week moved a little over 55,000 units on 3DS. Another western release when landed on the chart, […]

  • Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven will release in the west this June

    Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven has been given a release date by XSEED Games, which announced the localization back in February. The title will launch for 3DS in North America on June 2 digitally and through retail. It will be an eShop only title in Europe and Australia when it releases on June 4. A […]

  • This Overlord video teases four new faces of evil

    A new Overlord game is in the works, going by the previous teasing and this video – which teases the possibility of four-payer co-op. Or just four characters to choose from. We don’t know just yet – all we know is the team is asking you to “join the fellowship.” A new entry in the […]

  • GTA movie will star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar’s Sam Houser, the BBC confirms

    The GTA movie Game Changer will star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar co-founder and president Sam Houser, theBBC has confirmed. The BBC also confirmed Bill Paxton will play Jack Thompson, a role Paxton already confirmed last week when speaking with Deadline. Here’s the synopsis per the BBC: “Conceived for an adult audience, this special 90-minute drama […]

  • Take a look at Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold’s Classic Mode

    Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold’s Classic Mode has received a trailer today. Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold will come with two modes, Classic and Story. Classic Mode was trailered today and in it, you’ll get to make your party by choosing from 13 classes. You’ll be able to customise them too using the character creation tool. Revamped […]

  • Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows to come with new challenge mode

    Shovel Knight’s upcoming expansion Plague of Shadows will bring with it a new challenge mode. Shovel Knight developer Yacht Club Games has revealed the challenge mode, one of the new additions coming to the game with the free Plague of Shadows expansion. “Are you more into digging than distillation? Already have your Feats book long […]

  • Nvidia releases complete graphical guide for GTA 5

    Those with GeForce cards will be happy to know that Nvidia has released a comprehensive graphical tweaks guide for GTA 5. Nvidia usually produces graphical guides for the big AAA games, and GTA 5 is no different. Their guides offer in-depth coverage of each in-game setting, how much they affect framerate, if they can be […]