Monday, April 25, 2011
There's something about Nintendo which sparks rumors to an extent greater than most companies. I'm not entirely sure what it is - it's not just because of how much of a game changer the Wii turned out to be, though those rumors certainly hit a high watermark. Now we're faced with the successor of the insanely popular Wii, now confirmed by the big N, and the rumor mill is churning at full speed.
One the big ones? That the controller will have a large, probably touchscreen, LCD display jammed into the middle of it. Something a like the picture to the left ... which was actually a rumored leaked image circulated for the Wii (or Revolution as it was called before being branded). Other rumors? That the Revolution would have a large hard drive, that it would have graphics comparable to the Xbox, and even that it would sport a 3D interface. I think someone even did a mockup of Revolution with a big holographic display in the middle - a la a Star Wars chess game.
The new controller rumors have decent weight behind them - and it may fit well into Nintendo trying to think out of the box. Of course, I'm an old Dreamcast guy ... so I don't find the idea overly revolutionary - but I do think Nintendo could make it work much better than the old white box did.
Otherwise, the rumors for Cafe are fairly reserved. That Nintendo would want to surpass the current generation of consoles is a bit of a no-brainer - when the Wii first faced off with the 360 and PS3, the HD generation was still expanding into critical mass. Now, HD sets are cheap and easily available - and Sony is even moving on to push 3D on the people. How much muscle Nintendo will throw down is an interesting question - since they're getting out of the gate earlier than Sony and Microsoft - they may be attempting a 360 strategy where their graphics will be good enough that they could soak up the early adopter marketshare. To make that work, they'll certainly need to bite the hard drive bullet - which given how cheap hard drive space is these days, seems a certainty.
On a geeky side, I have to wonder what Nintendo will use as a disc format. This could almost be the first console to not use a disc format, but that seems a stretch even for Nintendo. It wouldn't be a bad idea for Nintendo to embrace Blu-Ray, but Blu-Ray is probably not enough of a dominant HD format to justify licensing it from a competitor.
In fact, I'm not even all that interested in the Cafe hardware. Where Nintendo really needs to compete is on software. Both PSN and XBLA are excellent gamer networks, and if Nintendo was incapable of generating at least a worthy clone - the Cafe is going to have trouble out of the gate.
And the other thing Nintendo needs to fix, which I think has been mentioned in most of the previews up till now - is third party support. I'm not going to buy another piece of Nintendo hardware just to play the next Zelda or Metroid game. They're great franchises, sure, but they don't offer anything new to the table in the same way that, say, Little Big Planet or even Gears of War does. Nintendo needs to join the Call of Duty crowd for this generation - because while the old Nintendo mascots may have some of the most loyal following in the world, I don't see their numbers increasingly drastically in 2012.