First broke by Game Informer, the outlets have been buzzing about a potential new Nintendo console to be announced this year at E3. I don't mean to spoil Nintendo's announcement, but it's not we didn't see it coming. Society's fascination with the Wii has slowed down considerably, and Kinect has made great strides to challenge Nintendo's crown.
The project, now questionably known as Project Cafe, has piqued my interest. But I do have my concerns. We don't even know what this thing is yet, and there's reports everywhere saying different things. "Project Cafe" is quite uncreative; the GameCube was known as "Project Dolphin" and the Wii was known as the "Revolution". Maybe Nintendo is just flipping through the dictionary and picking random names. At least I hope they are. If not they need to take lessons (if such classes exist) in the study of unannounced project code names.
Over the next couple weeks every website will be spitting out articles titled "What We Want to See!" and most will say the same things (mainly those not included on the Wii). High definition capability, blu-ray, a significant increase graphically, a proper controller, and an awesome games lineup. A dream wish list; we realize Nintendo won't be able to fulfill every wish we have, but the prospect is still there to conceive a dream console.
Some details have already leaked: the controller will have a six-inch screen, and everything shown on the TV can stream on the controller. Could this mean a portable controller? One that can save data on it, and can be accessed at any point, from any console? Or one we could actually watch TV on? That last part would be undoubtedly awesome, and would seemingly act like a smartphone. Maybe an app store is in the works?
The possibilities really don't matter unless Nintendo can embrace the online revolution. Competitive multiplayer has become the norm these days, and for the leading gaming company to not have a workable online system is irresponsible. The casual audience can't carry a company forever. I pray Nintendo can get things in gear, bring back motion control and make it tolerable for both audiences, and get rid of the damn friend codes. A ridiculousness of friend codes is incomparable and has undermined the true potential of the console. Get rid of codes and add actual accounts, and you'll win us back Nintendo.
Several reports have claimed the new technology will become graphics king. I highly doubt this for two reasons. First, for Nintendo to have developed technology to overshadow the PS3 in power, that would be costly. Nintendo has an impressive history of releasing consoles cheaply, and tech like that would go against that ideal. Second, I don't think Nintendo's ambition is to make a graphical powerhouse. Further information is needed before we can see what their plans are, but their priority will surely be continuing the massive success of motion control. The casual audience's response will have a huge impact on sales and Nintendo's last wish is to alienate that audience. Finding the right balance between graphics and motion control is essential for the project's success, but it's Nintendo so they know what they are doing.
If this console truly is a successor to the Wii, it has one hell of a reputation to live up to. The Wii changed the way the world sees our beloved hobby, but I have faith in the leading gaming company to innovate. The console is expected to ship in late 2012. June has gotten fun already.