Nintendo sure knows how to keep news going about their system. Though occasionally their timing is suspect (I still couldn't believe they started shelling out 3DS news while they XL was just releasing), they have been in the news a good deal lately, and for the right reasons. While there's certainly naysayers out there, the 3DS have had a very good overall reception. Just as the news was starting to taper off on it, word has leaked out that Nintendo plans to release their next generation console late 2012. IGN and several other sites have talked about it so far.
Plenty of speculation will ensue, and no doubt Nintendo will continue to make sure people are talking about their brand. I don't really have any speculation at this point, just sort of an amused observation. The more these consoles change, the more they become the same. The early rumors speculate that this new console will be a powerhouse, with an engine that outperforms the ps3 and 360 by a fair margin. Why does this sort of crack me up?
Well, all Christmas season we heard about the Kinect and the Move - basically motion control additions to better mimic the Wii. A couple of weeks or so ago, Microsoft began to talk about a new disc format that would allow their games discs to hold more data. While the difference is not a huge amount, the early conjectures came in 2 varieties: a way to try and compete with the storage space the PS3 has with Blurays or an attempt to better combat piracy. Now that Nintendo is turning an eye toward HD graphics, the first thought that came to my mind is how similar all of these systems are trying to become to one another.
Don't get me wrong, Nintendo needs to do this. The Wii when it came out was released at a time when people did not all have HD tv's, though now it's not uncommon to find 2 or more in a home. It'll also be interesting to see what else comes of this new push. The rumor mill states that Nintendo wants its hardcore gamers back - which is great, but generally those hardcore gamers come from 3rd party software development - an area Nintendo has struggled with by and large over the last few console generations. Also, will they alienate the same casual player base that helped to make the Wii such a phenomenal success since its release? That question goes to more than the controls, but the pricing as well. While the 3DS was quite successful, its price point was a smidgen higher than a lot of people were comfortable with - myself included.
One of the Wii's best selling points is that it was accessible at a lower pricepoint than the 360 and the PS3 for a long time, and that helped the Wii get a foothold in a lot of homes. If this new hardware's going to be more powerful than the 360 and PS3, what kind of a price point are they looking at? The PS3 went the high-end route and price-pointed right out of most peoples' homes to start. It'll be interesting to see if the 3DS maybe starts Nintendo on a slightly higher-end, higher price-point path or not going forward.