Right about the time I finally stopped laughing at the “revelation” that Nintendo’s next foray into the console world would be officially dubbed the Stream (like the truly puerile person that I am), Nintendo themselves finally confirmed what most of the developed world already knew: that they would be unveiling the Wii’s successor at E3. And there are even leaked pictures too.
At the time of writing, it is NOT confirmed whether or not what was known as Project Cafe will actually be titled Stream (or that these pictures are accurate), but given the number of unintentionally funny JRPGs and Anime shows I have sat through, I am almost ready to believe it. It may even really be unintentional too, as it supposadly refers to the console’s ability to “stream” content to the touch screen controller.
This is the official statement from Nintendo’s Investor Relations page:
“Re: Wii’s successor system
Nintendo Co., Ltd. has decided to launch in 2012 a system to succeed Wii, which the company has sold 86.01 million units on a consolidated shipment basis between its launch in 2006 and the end of March 2011.
We will show a playable model of the new system and announce more specifications at the E3 Expo, which will be held June 7-9, 2011, in Los Angeles.
Sales of this new system have not been included in the financial forecasts announced today for the fiscal term ending March 2012.”
The bit in bold is my own addition. That’s right folks, straight from the horse’s mouth: Nintendo will be unveiling a playable model at E3 in June. What will be playable exactly? If the rumours are true, developer kits have been out there for a while, but what kind of playable content could really have been put together so far?
If you’ve been following our coverage of the rumours then you’ll note a certain muted, nay even cynical tone to what we’ve been hearing. Don’t get me wrong, we’re as excited as anyone else about the release of any new hardware, it’s just that for quite some time now Nintendo have been falling rather short of promises and expectations.
So will they get it right this time and convince gamers to replace their current consoles instead of leaving their also-ran Nintendo’s to gather dust in the corner? The new console will be more powerful than the current generation, but we’re going to need more than that, I’m afraid. Nintendo are playing catch-up in the hardware department, and considering how long the Xbox 360 and PS3 have had to establish themselves, producing something that isn’t a truly next generation machine at this stage in the game could be very ill-timed and ill-advised for such a fickle market.
Nintendo do seem to be properly courting developers to ensure stronger third-party support. Again, this is 2011, but I suppose better late than never. The reported price tag of $400 would also confirm rumours that Nintendo want to capture much more of the “hardcore” gamers market than the Wii did. Not a bad business decision considering those “hardcore” gamers actually buy lots of software. Oh, and use it too.
If further rumours of Microsoft and Sony getting set to unleash their next generation of consoles in 2014 are true, that will mean that Nintendo have a serious lead on them to establish their new baby. But will the Xbox 720 and PS4 utterly blow it out of the water? Is the Stream going to powerful enough, affordable enough, and fun enough to not only topple the current leaders but ensure that people are still playing it in years to come? Only time will tell for sure.