Gaming thoughts... 4/15/11 Wii 2?

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.
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7 comments :

  1. "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?"

    $150 or less...if a blu-ray player can be purchased for less than $100 now, and Nintendo is using two Wii's with some duck tape...I think they could get HD graphics for under $150, and drive the market crazy.

    I guess technically, just based on the 480p the Wii outputs, it will be 2.25 Wiis duck taped together...so, it's not that big of a leap.

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  2. ROFL@Coffee!

    That taping together remark reminds me of that image/article you did with ds and virtual boy for the 3ds if I'm recalling it right? And I agree, the technology is definitely there to be a low price point, but it depends on how they approach it. PS3s still run $300 new.

    In a way, we're nearing a time I have been dreading - I am really curious about new consoles, but at the same time, am very invested in the current generation. I'd rather spend my $ on games, not the boxes that play them. I don't want to see a PS4, Wii 2/Cafe or an xbox 720 for at least 2 or 3 more years. :P

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  3. Chalgyr: I hoped that you would be discussing this for your Gaming Thoughts...

    Obviously, any new system from any of the big three is a big deal to the industry, and the world at large. Video games are a multi-billion dollar industry, and a good portion of that growth with their "Blue-Ocean" strategy. They expanded the market to a point that MS and Sony thought that it was a legitimate move to release motion-control technologies of their own, a feat that is by no means small.

    Yes, it would not surprise me if their new system was more powerful than a PS360; It's not that pricey to when doing that would mean buying 4-year old technology.

    Yes, they will probably use a type of media that has better compression rates and higher storage capacity than regular DVD's.

    The facts are straight, though: A HUGE part of their strategy's success was PRICE POINT. If they find themselves in a price range higher than $299.99 (about what the SNES cost in 1990 when the price is converted to take inflation into account), they will have trouble. Nintendo knows it, having said during the Wii launch that $250.00 was what people would pay without too much resentment.

    All of this said, Nintendo knows that they have to provide a new innovation that people can't live without trying if they want this new system to sell. I think that they know it, so once we see what this new hook is, as well as a rough price point, I will THEN decide whether I think it is worth my while.

    Sorry for the novel!
    Good topic!

    -BitNick

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  4. I love the long replies - nothing at all to apologize for. I think it's going to be really interesting to see the sort of 3rd party support, the design specs and the price going forward.

    You guys seen anything on the rumored Cafe controller yet? IGN had an article talking about it. Some pretty interesting potential tech, but what caught my eye the most was the rationale that it could be an $80 controller. Considering how hard my kids are on our current gen controllers, that did make me pause a bit.

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  5. @Chalgyr:
    "PS3s still run $300 new."

    Yea, while they run $300 new, it's pretty much guaranteed that they are making a profit off of each one sold now.
    With basic Xbox 360s selling for $200, with no HDD, there's no reason Nintendo shouldn't be able to enter the market now, and be competitive with a console under $300...but if they wait unit 2012, and enter at $300 with only PS3/Xbox 360 graphics...what "casual" consumer is going to purchase a $300 system, if they already own a PS3 with blu-ray...or can get one for under $200 probably by 2012?

    The "late 2012" part of this doesn't make sense...it just seems like it would be really bad timing for a console priced over $200.

    So, like BitNick said, "...Nintendo knows that they have to provide a new innovation that people can't live without trying if they want this new system to sell."
    At this point, it's going to have to be really amazing for me to pay more than $200 for it...

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  6. @coffee - I agree, the timing seems a bit odd, and I am a bit surprised we won't be seeing it sooner than that. That said, most of the articles are assuming that the graphics tech is going to be better than the ps3 and 360 - how much so remains to be seen At this point, it's all pretty much speculation, but it makes for interesting speculation.

    The 3DS is actually what makes me wonder though. I never thought they would price a handheld at $250. I thought that should be $200 or less when announced, so I'm a bit skeptical that this new system will be $200 or less. Again, too soon to tell - but I guess depending on what all it offers, I wouldn't be surprised to see it ring in at more than $200 either.

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  7. Interesting - IGN has an article today with some unconfirmed but strongly suggested tech specs as well as pricing that puts the unit in the $350-$400 range - which is sort of what I was expecting/afraid of.

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