For those of you not in the know, Nintendo has been telling various press outlets that they’ll be announcing a new console at this year’s E3. Nintendo claims that this console will be a powerhouse of digital entertainment, sporting technology that exceeds that of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. In that claim, Nintendo says their console will be capable of 1080p resolutions. According to them, this is their shot at regaining the hardcore gaming market.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Nintendo hasn’t officially confirmed anything, but sources are numerous and reliable.
Let me say, I’m all for the idea of Nintendo recapturing me. However, I’m not thinking that this new console is the ticket – at least, not for me. In their release, they said that the next-generation console of theirs will be backwards compatible. That actually scares me. I think it would be important for any other console to tout their backwards capable console, but Nintendo is notorious for doing the same gimmicky thing, time and time again. By taking such a deliberate stance right away, it kind of seems to me that they’re likely to keep with this same motion control gimmick.
I’d like to believe that Nintendo’s goal is to regain the attention of gamers like myself, but it sounds more like that notion plays second fiddle. What sounds most likely is that they’ll appeal to very same casual market they do now and try to simultaneously garner a bit more attention from the other side. I think that second notion will eventually fall wayside, just as it has now. If anything, I think Nintendo is hoping to get attention using alluring statements, but I’d have to see it to believe it. It’s because of this that I refer to the console as the Wii 2, despite its true and unannounced title.
How does Nintendo actually plan to recapture the wayward gamers that have deserted them? Well, by the sounds of it, they believe the tech speaks volumes. Granted, their release so far is sparse. While they haven’t said much, the boldest statement is that the console will be more powerful than other current-gen consoles. What does that really mean in terms of processing power, graphical capabilities, and features? Only time may tell, but as it stands, it sounds like they expect to compete with their opponents in graphical fidelity by touting its 1080p output. Yet, their statement pits their next-gen console against current-gen technology.
Even now, current-gen consoles support DVD and even Blu-Ray playback. 1080p fidelity sounds good and all, but if Nintendo follows their trend of single-sightedness, I can’t imagine 1080p being as valuable to this new console as it is to PlayStation 3. 1080p, as it stands, is somewhat of a misnomer, anyhow. While both Xbox and PlayStation support 1080p, most games run at about 640p and are upscaled. This could change in the next generation, but I’m still really skeptical as to whether or not the 1080p will be fully realized on Nintendo’s new console.
Perhaps the processing power of the next-gen console will be outstanding on the whole, but I’m not holding my breath. What it really comes down to is Nintendo’s games and their strategy. My biggest trouble with Nintendo is their lack of enticing titles and true innovation. Their strategy has been largely the same for years; find something that works and run it into the ground. Obviously we can expect more Mario, Zelda, and Metroid titles, but what is the new console going to do for them that they haven’t done before? What does 1080p Mario Bros. look like, and more importantly, what does it play like?
Those titles that Nintendo puts at the forefront of their brand. There are plenty of other titles that are great, but don’t really challenge the idea of where gaming is and could be. Motion control and 3D are not the future, and Nintendo has been the one to show us that with a lack of critical success in their Wii and 3DS hardware (see: financial vs. critical success). So what half-realized feature are they going to spew on us now that hardcore gamers don’t care about? Nintendo may have heard our complaints about their underwhelming hardware, but I have to see the specifications to believe it.
In all of this, my biggest concern is Nintendo and their way. While their tech has been disappointing, it’s not really the problem; it’s just indicative of Nintendo’s problem as a whole. They really don’t push the envelope. Sony gave us Blu-Ray and Metal Gear Solid 4, and Microsoft Studios gave us Mass Effect and Xbox Live. Nintendo gave us… well, a handheld that is just okay (see 3DS), the same Mario games over and over again, and a ton of ill-conceived gimmicks. Again, I’m ready and willing to be wowed by Nintendo, but I’m not convinced as of yet. Hopefully future announcements bear better insight , and hardcore gamers may find what they were looking for from Nintendo all along. In the meantime, this just gets me more jazzed to hear about what other companies are going to announce next in retaliation.