The rumor mill exploded in April with "news" about Nintendo's next console, codenamed Project Café, after Game Informer first broke the news.
While initial rumors varied, a few things seemed to remain consistent throughout:
1) Nintendo's next console will be more powerful than the Wii, and support 1080p HD games
2) There is a new controller for the system that will include a touch screen of some sort, and be more of a standard gaming controller with dual-analog sticks
3) Release date for Nintendo's next system will be in 2012, with a MSRP between $300-350
4) Nintendo will try to win back the "hardcore" gamers with this console, and is going for more third party support
5) The codename for the console "project", is Project Café
I haven't really posted many thoughts about all the Project Café rumors, though I have chatted with some of you about them. Some of you may have been wondering, "Why has Coffee not posted any thoughts on Nintendo's next console, codenamed Project Café?!"
Well, I do my best to let rumor waves settle, before jumping into the waters they come from; kind of like letting a cup of coffee cool just a bit, so as not to burn your mouth. Sure, while the Project Café rumors were freshly brewed up in April, it was also the craziest time to talk about them, because of how quickly more rumors were popping up all over the place(even now).
What do I think about some of the WiiHD/Project Café rumors, even the latest "confirmed" rumor of the controller having a 6" screen? As I am sitting here drinking a few cups of Maxwell House coffee, here are my thoughts!
The Project's Codename - I think the codename "Project Café" is awesome of course. Being that Brewster's coffee shop is in Animal Crossing: City Folk, I can see the codename for Nintendo's next console having a coffee meaning of some sort.
I wish I could say Nintendo contacted me about buying my site because of the project's "codename", but that hasn't happened...yet. Nintendo my email address is: Scott@CoffeeWithGames.com!
Touch Screen Controller - I believe it was THIS site, 01net.com, that first broke the "rumor" about Nintendo's next console having a touch screen controller. The initial rumor report said the controller has a 6 inch screen, a sensor bar implemented into it somehow, and a front-facing camera. At this point, the controller screen is basically confirmed, as the Japanese site Nikkei.com was reported to have also confirmed a 6 inch screen on the console's controller just in the last day.
As for the camera on the controller, it makes 100% sense to me as I think Nintendo will expand the "Miis" idea on their next console, and like the 3DS' camera, the controller's camera will allow users to take their own picture and the system's Mii software will help "create" a Mii for them based off the picture.
I think having a touch screen on the controller may help some people with menu navigation. Perhaps instead of moving an on-screen cursor around to make a selection, simply tapping a window(much like on the Wii's current menu system) on the controller's screen with your finger will open it up.
With how common and popular touch screen phones have become, with the iPhones, Androids, and Blackberry phones, etc.; perhaps Nintendo has realized that a touch screen controller on a home console will have a lot of appeal now to the casual audience with those phones. I think a touch screen console controller makes a lot of sense now, especially if Nintendo is perhaps trying to capture part of the "mobile" gaming market and bring them over to the home console market.
Rumored System Function & Name - There has been at least one rumored "official" system name for Nintendo's next console, that being "Stream". The biggest reason behind the rumor, whether it's true or not, is probably based on the other rumors about the touch screen controller and how the console is able to "stream" content to the controller.
Being the parent of a 2 year old, I actually like the possibility of the console streaming games through the controller's screen. If the console allows that, my son(with another expected within a month) can be watching all the SpongeBob, Thomas the Train, or Word World type shows he wants on the television, and I could be playing a game at the same time, but without having to have another television hooked up.
Release Date & Price - The rumors have all pretty much been saying that the console will not release until 2012 and with a $300-350 MSRP. If true, I think Nintendo is showing up really late to the HD video game party. I think this is like being invited to an event/party and showing up at the end wearing a tuxedo with an entrée, when everybody is already relaxing in jeans having dessert and coffee.
The Wii has sold well for a number of reasons, but I believe the biggest reason initially was its lower price point, compared to the PS3's and Xbox 360's prices a few years back.
Back on April 20th I commented on another site, "if the 2012 release part of the rumors is true, the console better be $200 or less..."
The PS3 and Xbox 360 are both now $300, and they are HD consoles that have HD games. Microsoft even has the Xbox 360 Arcade edition for just $199.99. Unless Project Cafe/Stream makes espresso drinks, or does something really incredible, I don't see how Nintendo can benefit with the price point of the Stream being higher than the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2012.
Sure, there is the, "People buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games", but if Nintendo is also trying to win back 3rd party support as has been stated, I think a sub-$200, new, HD console would help to really spur sales for the system, and give 3rd parties more of a reason to want to develop for it.
If Nintendo's next console is more than $300 I just think people may be like, "Why buy the Stream for $300-350 for HD games, when I can buy a PS3 and/or Xbox 360 for less; and those consoles already have a plethora of HD games, and many that are budget HD games for $30 or less?"
Hardcore Rumor - One rumor floating around about Nintendo's next console, is that Nintendo is going to go after the "hardcore" gamers, again, with this system. In the initial Game Informer post on the "Nintendo HD" as they called it, they said, "It is our understanding that Nintendo is trying to embrace the western gamer and will likely launch a new brand with this console."
If by "embrace the western gamer", that means a new FPS IP from Nintendo, I hope this "rumor" is true. I hope that Nintendo will finally announced a FPS game at E3, that will become their Halo, Resistance, Killzone, Battlefield, or Call of Duty FPS series for their next console.
The Nintendo 64 brought gamers the FPS games GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark as exclusives, both published by Nintendo. I think E3 would be the perfect time for Nintendo to introduce a brand new FPS IP being developed for their next console, and that the game will include online multi-player, local multi-player, co-op, single-player, and HD graphics. Oh, and it will be a launch title for Project Café!
I'm definitely excited for Nintendo's E3 conference this Tuesday. I found out this past Thursday that my day off this week is actually Tuesday, and I'm sure I will be glued to the computer screen watching Nintendo's E3 conference just like I did last year!
I'm excited to learn more about Nintendo's next console, but the one "rumor" I think will be most difficult for Nintendo to fulfill(if it's true), is their trying to win back the "hardcore" gamers. Last year Microsoft passed out ponchos for their Kinect debut show, and unless Nintendo is passing out hard hats and raining down FPS/action games upon the audience, I don't see how they get, and keep, the "hardcores'" attention.
While the price point does have me concerned because I have never paid more than $250 for a system; perhaps at E3 we will see that Nintendo has a ton of secrets they will be revealing not just about the console's specifications and controller(s), but also about 3rd party developer game deals they have signed for the system, which could make the price point not such a big deal in 2012.
Are there any rumors that you agree, or disagree, with me on? Do any of you feel, like me, that releasing the console in 2012 is arriving late to the HD party with the rumored $300-350 price point? Or, do you feel Nintendo's next console will help breath new life into the HD gaming party, and the price won't matter?