A new Nintendo console in the offing? A tablet-like controller? Codenamed 'Project Café'? And we'll see it at E3 in June? Time for a rumor roundup!
Here's what we think we know:
Nintendo's next console supports high-definition TVs (See: Game Informer): What a surprise! This one's like claiming new cars come with air bags, or that Charlie Sheen's on drugs. Of course it'll support high-definition gaming. That's because high-definition's all but standard definition anymore. The only place you'll find SDTVs for sale these days is on Craigslist or eBay, and the only place you'll find an SDTV-only future game console is in someone's imagination.
It'll come with a new tablet-style controller (See: 01net). A new controller from Nintendo's like predicting, well, see above. But here's the part that's not obvious: It's a tablet with a built-in screen. What for? Who knows, but if we're talking motion-sensing gaming, adding off-screen visual distractions sounds counterintuitive, and maybe that's because we're not talking motion-sensing gaming.
It's more powerful than the Xbox 360 or PS3. (See: Game Informer): Are we really having this conversation? Seriously? Is it 2011 or 1991?
It's less powerful than the Xbox 360 or PS3. (See: Game Informer): See above (or below *).
It may include a Blu-ray drive. (See: Blu-ray.com): Would Nintendo license a PlayStation 3 selling point? Sony technology? For Blu-ray video playback? With alternatives like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix?
Backward compatibility with the Wii! (See: 01net): What else is there to say, except "maybe" GameCube, too.
We won't call it 'Wii 2'. (See: 01net): Nintendo likes to change up names, thus the Game Boy became the DS, the DS spawned the DSi, and the DSi begat the 3DS. On the console side, we've leapt from Super Nintendo to Nintendo 64 to GameCube to Wii. And while I wouldn't rule out "Wii" in the title for branding continuity, you can probably scratch "Super Wii," "Wii 64" "3DWii," or "Wii Boy." In the meantime, French game site 01net claims it's codenamed "Project Café."
We won't be able to buy one until 2012. (See: 01net): Nintendo needs time to pull together a strong launch lineup, a point its 3DS handheld makes clearer than ever. While the 3DS hardware launched big, it only averaged one game sold per system, probably because most of the 3DS launch titles were mediocre. That said, I've seen reports from writers citing "sources" claiming the system could launch anywhere from "March 2012" to the very end of next year.
And here's the (mostly obvious) stuff we think Nintendo's next console needs:
Games that don't require motion controls. Sometimes we want to stand up and dance, sometimes we don't. Motion-control gaming's fine, but sometimes you just want to play a game with a gamepad. Nothing wrong (or retro-thinking) about that.
New Nintendo first-party game ideas. We're expecting Mario and Zelda and Donkey Kong, but what's next? Give us a sign!
Better Nintendo third-party support. Why shouldn't Nintendo be the place you go for Assassin's Creed 3 and Grand Theft Auto V, right?
* If you must know, the rumor mill says the new system includes a custom triple-core IBM PowerPC processor, possibly an AMD graphics process (think ATI R700 or "4000 series" GPU family), and--extrapolating "logically"--512MB memory, placing it performance-wise, well, anywhere really.