The Nintendo Stream

UPDATE: Nintendo have officially announced their next home console code named Project Cafe and said that it won’t be out before April 2012.

No sooner had Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed the existence of Project Cafe, gaming site IGN managed to get hold of yet more alleged details about the Wii successor including a name, release date and price. If Nintendo don’t officially unveil it soon they’ll have nothing left to say! According to IGN’s trusted source, Project Cafe is expected to launch at the end of this year, around October or November and retail for either $350 or $400. But they also say that Nintendo may decide to hold off until the beginning of 2012 allowing studios to have longer with dev kits and potentially boosting the launch game line up. In the past, the Japanese gaming giant have been very secretive with their tech which annoyed a number of developers who could have benefited from the knowledge. Like LucasArts. They found out about the Wii MotionPlus add-on the same time as consumers and by then, they had already developed a light sabre-based fighter that could have been a great deal more successful if it included Wii MotionPlus support. If Project Cafe is as feature rich as everyone says it is, I’m sure devs would want to know about it way in advance and be at the forefront of the launch window.

Project Cafe is also said to be a bit of a beast, with insides that are meant to out perform both Xbox 360 and PS3 and have the potential for stereoscopic 3D too. But I highly doubt such a thing would be a integral to games since it’s taken this long for Nintendo to make the jumo onto HD TVs so they’re not about to leap frog that for 3D TVs. So the guts of the system will be ultra high tech but the outer is said to look like an updated SNES and have similar proportions to the first Xbox 360. As for the frankly perplexing name of Project Cafe, IGN say Nintendo have plenty of official names in mind with Stream being one that stood out. Probably due to the rumour surrounding controller. Project Cafe, Stream or Wii 2, whatever it’s to be called, will supposedly stream games straight onto a HD touchscreen fixed to the controller not so unlike the Dreamcast’s VMU or indeed the GBA and GameCube. They could be seen as early concepts for what Project Cafe is to become but possibly on a grander scale.

But that got me thinking, if the controller can be a gaming device all by itself, where does that leave the 3DS? Nintendo are potentially creating their very own iPods and you’d have to imagine they hold some form of memory capabilities. If they’re able to play standalone games as well as being accompaniments to Project Cafe titles, the 3DS could become an even harder sell. I think Nintendo will be very careful with what they do with the controller and how they market it. They’re not stupid and wouldn’t create a competitor for one of their own devices but would they also pass up the opportunity to make even more money off a peripheral? Think about it, WiiWare, DSiWare or Virtual Console style games playable on something that would be designed to fit snuggly in your hand. Sell them for a couple of quid or more and they could become very popular.

Nintendo, quite expectedly, declined from commenting on rumours when quizzed by IGN but all eyes will be on their press conference at this year’s E3 when we’re likely to hear more about the system. Unless of course more sources leak information before then. Ooh, isn’t it exciting eh?!

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