REPLY TO ALL: Project Nintendo Wii 2 HD Cafe

While we’ve covered hypotheticals before, Nintendo has confirmed their new console will be playable at E3 this year with a release next year in 2012. With Nintendo being a bit down on our trust list, that begs the question, what is it gonna take for you to take their new console seriously?

Nintendo

It's a me.

Ethan

For me, Nintendo needs to actually produce games that I’m interested in. The Wii was fun, but I was never really excited about any of the games. All the power in the world means nothing if the games aren’t desirable. I’m thinking they also need to get over rehashing their old school games (Mario, etc). I love remakes as much as the next guy, but they need to get a more mature edge before I put any money into them again. Show me at least five solid titles and I’m sold, till then shut the hell up Nintendo.

In terms of it being more powerful than ps3/ 360, so what?. Those systems are relatively far along in their life cycle and my PC puts them all to shame so that’s definitely not going to get my mouth watering.

A screen on the controller? Really? Sorry, I’m not as easily excited about such things. The Dreamcast had a screen on the control and that sure lasted a long time. Hey Nintendo…GET OVER THE GIMMICKS!!

Andrew

I’m with Ethan 100% on this. Specs, gadgets, and gimmicks mean nothing if the games aren’t fun.  Especially since we’re approaching the $400 price point. I didn’t have a problem dropping $250 on the Wii because it was new and different, and I told myself that it was Nintendo so there would have to be some fun games. But once the newness wore off, the lack of games just pushed me harder over to the Xbox realm which constantly delivers on what you expect from a current gen console. They’re going to have to work a little harder to regain my trust in proving to me why I need to have a 3rd gaming system hooked up to my TV.

Dreamcast

Oh, perfect.

Now onto the touch screen. That is just a horrible idea. Sega added screen gimmicks to the Dreamcast and that got them really far didn’t it? I just picture it in my mind as some horrible mistake that happened when the original Xbox controller cheated on the Dreamcast controller with an iPad. I don’t like playing games on my iPhone or iPad because I can’t feel the buttons. Getting a shotty to the face because I’m hitting the wrong pixel on the touch screen while trying to reload is going to be a great time.

Justin G

I read the article and the link providing reactions from within the industry and I think the thing that stood out the most to me was the reaction from Michael Pachter at Wedbush, which was, “Why now?” I think the timing is odd.  Just because it’s on-par or slightly more powerful than the 360 and PS3 isn’t going to do it for me, especially if it’s just due to a new software engine that lets it shade better.  I think Coop(?) and I were talking about this in another R2A: the graphics on this generation are great.  Unless you show me something that’s a significant improvement, particularly after I just bought a new 360 with a “real” hard drive, HDMI and the Kinect (dammit), I’m going to have a very difficult time justifying a $300-400 purchase – I could buy a decent 32″ flatscreen for my bedroom for that.  Or two new windows.  Which isn’t as exciting as a new TV but more exciting than the new Nintendo.  I think my trust has just been too abused by them – I’m a more “hardcore” gamer, I don’t care for gimmicks (read: motion controllers, cameras on controllers)…

I guess from what I’m reading, I’m just confused at what market Nintendo’s trying to break into.  They’ve taken hits from 3rd party support lately, my pre-Wii excitement for things like Red Steel or Star Wars or an FPS was totally let down and…a ~6″ touchscreen on my controller?  [Insert Tim-Allen-esque-caveman-surprised/inquisitive-grunt-here].  It sounds shiny when you read it, but has anyone thought of the ergonomics of that kind of monstrosity? In short, (yes, that might be ironic) I’m just not excited by this and think unless there are some crazy-big surprises, this is an odd move by Nintendo and I’m inclined to think they missed the boat.

Justin L

Looks like I’ll be the first defender here. In general, the announcement of a new “Nintendo HD” console has me excited because this is Nintendo – they are innovative, weird, and have also been printing money since the Wii and DS came out. We are about to see the fruits of their money growing forest. While I take most of the rumors regarding the controller’s features as just rumors, everything is pointing like this will be a more serious gaming console, at least tech wise. Give the developers a platform worth developing on, and they will come. The timing doesn’t make much sense, but with recent rumors saying it will be at least 2014 until we see a new console update from Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo may just be working on a completely different timeline. They have the opportunity to build some better relationships with 3rd parties that are anxious to push things forward rather than squeeze every ounce of power out of existing systems. I was just glad to see Nintendo moved forward and looks to have a serious console on their hands that supports the Wii features as a secondary feature rather than the only feature.

That all being said :) Nintendo has a lot to prove on their software lineup and getting 3rd party games worth playing. They have a lot to prove with their online services and how gamer’s accounts work with downloadable titles/content and with interacting with their friends list. They haven’t proven anything yet, but if the specs line up, the online experience improves, and worthwhile games come out, they could find themselves in a pretty sweet spot. That’s a lot of ifs, but at least its something because they should have released a new console last year in my opinion.

Oh and one more thing on the touch screen side of the controller rumors. I have never had an issue with is the design of a Nintendo controller. As long as the core buttons are still in a comfortable place, you can thrown on as many cameras and touchscreens wherever you want. I expect plenty of accessories and specialized controllers (like the Wii classic controller and Wii wands) because it is Nintendo. We just may have more options than usual, but I think with all of the time they’ve put into developing the touchscreen on the DS and the future of tablet devices, they’d be fools to not incorporate that technology as an option for input devices on their new system.

Justin L

Allow me to contradict myself – http://www.industrygamers.com/news/nintendos-wii-2-dreamcast-all-over-again/ – Comparing the next Nintendo console to the in-betweener Dreamcast.

Justin G

I concur with the <linked article>and I’m all for Nintendo turning out a generation…5.5 (is that what we’re on? 5?) console. I could be way the hell off base, and I’ll happily accept correction from the tech guys, but I’m not seeing anything so far, even on PC, that’s really grabbing my attention ground-breaking wise – textures and draw distance and shading continue to get better, but none of it is blowing my mind like when I played Mario 64 for the first time. While it’s nice to see Nintendo trying some modern-day graphics processors and engines, I guess I feel like they’ve painted themselves into the “casual/gimmick” corner pretty well and I’m having a very, very hard time being anything but pessimistic about their new platform. Tech guys, Cole, thoughts?

Mario 64

Can you make me feel this again, then maybe we'll talk.

Justin L

You’re right about nothing is really grabbing my attention on the graphics tech side with any of the new game engine demos or potential on the PC hardware. I don’t see the giant leap. That being said, Nintendo doesn’t even have a playing piece in the HD gaming market. This console has to be made and released even if it isn’t a dramatic leap forward. The Wii is just too far behind. Sure that doesn’t make a compelling case for picking one up on tech stats alone, but it does give developers more of a reason to make games for a Nintendo console. Because when it comes down to it, we’re only going to care about the games.

Justin G

True. But am I going to care enough about the games to drop $300-$400? Even the PS3 doesn’t have enough exclusives to get me to buy it at its CURRENT price point, even though I really, really want to play Uncharted 2.

Justin L

You’re right, all my reasoning aside. I struggle to see anything that convinces me to buy this console in 2012. It may be more of a 2014 decision when the new Xbox/PS are out of the reach of my wallet.

Andrew

Concept Controller

Concepting based on rumors is always better than having the real thing.

So I agree with Justin that Nintendo has been printing money with the DS and Wii. They’ve always owned the handheld market and are really only competing with Apple at this point. The Wii was genius. Sure they pissed us Xbox gamers off because it wasn’t HD, but their trick was they got us to buy them anyway, but the bigger accomplishment was getting an older “gaming is of the devil” generation to start buying their first game consoles. That worked because it was simple enough, the right price, and old people don’t really care about HD as much as we are. The number of people from this newly acquired group of gamers that will upgrade to a new even more expensive system just because of HD is going to be extremely minimal. A large group of them probably don’t even have HD TVs to begin with. That combined with a more complicated controller just throws out all the new gamers they were able to create.

From a development standpoint, I may be speaking prematurely because we don’t know the specifics yet, but I’m going to go ahead and say I hope they learned from Sony. Everyone knows that the PS3 is a much more powerful device than the 360. We also know that many cross platform games continue to look and perform better on the 360, aside from the exclusive titles. From what I’ve read, it’s a pain in the ass to port a game from one system to the PS3 and fully take advantage of the hardware it has. No game studio wants to do a ton of rework for each system. So PS3 gamers end up getting the shaft because the games they’re playing aren’t really looking quite as good as they could. I can see the same thing happening with this new Wii. Sure it may be awesome and have some new technology in it, but there are 2 gaming systems already in the HD market that are way more established and people have a process to develop for. If its a pain to port a game for the new Wii for we might see studios taking shortcuts that really just make the games look just as good as they do on the older systems already out. So i feel like the exclusive titles are really the only ones that will take complete advantage of the system, and will that be enough?

Ethan

I am sticking to my story, next generation graphics (for the most part) fuel mature gaming, not kiddie stuff. Sure Kinectimals looks great, but everyone knows that tech equates to better more detailed organs and cranium explosions. In all seriousness, what are next generation graphics gonna do for Nintendo should there history repeat itself? A more detailed Mario mustache? You said it best Justin, there is nothing there that makes me want to buy a new system, especially one that milked an innovative system for all its worth with crap shovelware.

Kinect

I don't need an HD Nintendogs.

JP

Finally I get to rant about Nintendo … As I said at the beginning of the month in Nice Techs Part 2, I am not ready for a new console. There is a lot to still look forward to with this generation when you look at all of the massive titles coming later this year. With all that said let’s talk Nintendo.

Power glove

So... what.

For starters, I have realized with the release of the 3DS that I am no longer Nintendo’s target market. It is a very tough pill to swallow. They are the sole reason that I love games as much as I do today. The Nintendo resonates with me more than the Atari 2600 did. Yet, now it seems that nothing they make is geared towards the crowd, now adults, that made them so successful. During this shift in their focus, they allowed two brand new console makers come in and steal a majority of their market share. Nintendo has been throwing gimmicks at us since the Power Glove, but lately it seems that gimmicks are their calling card. Look at the track record, NES and N64 were highly successful consoles with a ton of great and memorable games (and was conceptually very simple). Then, somewhere Nintendo went wrong and seemingly lost their way. As it stands today, I view Nintendo as a video game maker geared towards little kids.

Now to Project Cafe. Nintendo has a lot of explaining to do for me. I don’t care about your hardware and how much power is under the hood. The Xbox 360 has made me realize that community support is huge in this generation. What is Nintendo going to do for online support? Is there going to be a service like the XBL Dashboard or PSN Home? Will this service be supported throughout the life cycle? One of the most disappointing aspects of the Wii is the abandonment of the Virtual Console. Will there be DLC and is Nintendo going to get DLC exclusivity? Is the console home screen user friendly? I have a lot of questions answered (honestly part of me wants Nintendo to change my impressions of them). I also know that there are major rumors that GTA V is potentially THE major third party launch title. So what? I’m buying that game for my Xbox, period, no further discussion. The timing of this console is odd. I really wanted to play Metal Gear Solid 4, and I STILL can not justify buying a PS3 just for that title. I love the all of the Nintendo characters, but not enough to buy a console just to get another Mario or Zelda game. As was mentioned earlier, third party exclusivity is mostly gone (unless the game is published in house). As usual it seems that Nintendo is late to the party. Yet, part of me has a feeling that Nintendo is getting cocky since Sony and Microsoft have created their versions of motion control to try and take away some of the casual market share. It’s almost as if Iwata is saying “You think you can do motion control better than us? I’ll show you that we can do a complete console better than you!” I wonder if the higher ups at Nintendo think that they are going to again force the hand of Sony and Microsoft here. Unless there are some major bombs dropped at E3 I won’t purchase this console. I’ll pay attention, but my focus is on the developers and what they have up their sleeve for 2012. As it stands today, I would spend $300-$400 on the entire Virtual Console library in one box. VC was the best thing about the Wii and Nintendo just gave up on it.

Nintendo should take notes from Microsoft. In my humble opinion, the Xbox is dominating because Microsoft is focusing on one thing and they are doing it very well. I think we all know that overextending ones self can be very painful in the end. I don’t think Nintendo can market and manage four SKU’s at one time.

Cole

When I first heard about the successor to the Wii I was like meh. I don’t even play my Wii anymore. What will it take for me to get excited about the next Nintendo system is the same thing that will get me excited about the next version: the catalog of characters. But at what point do I get tired of Nintendo rehashing the same ol shit over and over again? I think that time has come. I haven’t finished Mario Galaxy, haven’t even played Mario Galaxy 2. And I know those I great games but I just have no desire to finish or even play those games anymore. I can’t decide if it’s the control I don’t like or if I’m just tired of 3D Mario games. But then again, I loved New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

I guess I just don’t know what I want from a Nintendo console anymore. I’m so in love with the Xbox 360 ecosystem that I don’t know what more I want than that. Is the “Dreamcast” update something that I’ll get excited about? Maybe, but if it’s just a third option releasing the same AAA titles that the other consoles release, I’m going to stick with my achievements and gamer tags. Friend codes are messed up and need to be fixed before I even give Nintendo a shot at becoming my number one console again.

Justin L

Maybe we are thinking about this all wrong. It hit home to when Cole said, “I just don’t know what I want from a Nintendo console anymore.” The fact is it has been a few generations of consoles since a Nintendo was our primary console. The Gamecube was just about the perfect secondary console, but that system had more first party and third party games worth playing than the Wii ever did. Nintendo needs to have the standard features that other consoles do in order to make it easier (and more worthwhile) for developers to make games for it. The gap between the Wii and PS3/360 is too huge while the Gamecube was at least comparable to the PS2/Xbox. The new Nintendo system has to have enough Nintendo specific toys (motion, weird controller gimmick) so Nintendo can make unique experiences to justify owning the console, but at the same time give enough of the standard features (HD output to play and look good on modern TVs, a useful persistent online profile) that developers and other gamers don’t give up on the system.

Gamecube

Take another look at that Gamecube library.

My problem is that this generation I made the mistake of having 2 support consoles next to my Xbox 360. I think there is room for two consoles in the living room, and Nintendo is primed to be that 2nd console while Sony and Microsoft duke it out for living room domination.

Cole

Going in a bit of a different direction because of the news that came out of Sony concerning their PlayStation Network, is this a huge blow to their next console and its sales? Will Nintendo use this as a way to become that second console like Justin said and have the PlayStation brand go way of the Sega consoles? Sony has a lot of making up to its customers to do and if Nintendo plays their cards right, can be that second dominant console that people “have” to have.

Justin G

It seems like Sony’s PSN #epicfail is a pretty big deal; that the network is down is bad, that financial information was compromised is worse, that they kept it from their customers adds salt to the wound and all on top of what I understand to have been a decidedly lackluster online “community,” so I’ll give you that Nintendo does have an opening here.  Hell, if I were them, I would have hired the hackers myself to create the opening. [pause] Just sayin’. But I think that if Nintendo wants to dethrone Sony, they have a lot of cards they have to play just right (which I’m not going to re-list for those with reading-retention problems). It’s an interesting conundrum, though, because I think Coop and JP pointed out two critical issues that the Wii created: 1) Nintendo seems to be attempting to move back towards the “real” console with what we’re hearing about this not-so-secret project; and 2) there are all of these “new” gamers (our parents, wives, girlfriends) that Nintendo just brought into the fold who either aren’t going to care or aren’t going to be interested in a move by Nintendo back towards the “middle,” if you’ll allow me a political metaphor. That said…maybe the price drop on the Wii is designed precisely for that crowd.  Bring it down to “slightly expensive toy” cost level (which is what it is) and it stops being an investment and something college girls who hate their boyfriends’ 360’s will buy for their apartment because it goes with their IKEA console.

Andrew

PlayStation Network

Thanks for setting the bar a bit lower.

I can see the price drop in the Wii being their move to keep that new crowd they have.  If they keep releasing crappy sport and exercise games they can probably continue to make money off that group with those, and also with new console sales when their Wii eventually bricks. I also agree that Nintendo has an opportunity here with the big PSN fail, but Sony’s fans are pretty die hard and are gonna be tough to steal. Nintendo is also going to have to suck it up and let the M rated games flow if they’re going to steal that crowd. They’ve always been really reserved when it came to the content they’d let out on the “family friendly” consoles. They’ve let up a little with some of the shooter games they’ve allowed on the Wii, but they really have to open the flood gates and let the Bulletstorms and Splatterhouses in if they want a chance. If you can’t get every cross platform game for this system I see no reason for someone to switch over.  Unless they have some wicked online experience up their sleeves, the crappy PSN still sounds better than friend codes.

JP

It’s funny we are talking about this topic now. I had a conversation with my wife last night about Nintendo that she initiated (extremely rare). My wife is the ‘new’ Nintendo consumer. She also made some great points that we may be overlooking. First off, she also finds the timing of this new console entry odd. She doesn’t like the idea of Nintendo ‘abandoning’ the Wii after all of their success. My wife would never be interested in buying a Kinect or Move. She said that the Wii is a very simple concept where as the other motion control ideas appear to be complicated. When my wife picks up a controller she is looking for a party or puzzle game that can be played for about thirty minutes and she is then done with it. Some of her favorite games are Dr. Mario, Animal Crossing, and Donkey Kong Country. She feels that the Wii facilitates those types of games perfectly. The biggest point she made was in regards to the average family. A family that has young children (4-13) are going to be more likely to go out and buy a Wii due to the simplicity of the controls and that the games are very age appropriate. Heck, I played Mario Kart with my 4 year old nephew recently. Also, the pre-price drop price of the Wii fits into the family budget better than the 360 or PS3. My wife’s biggest argument was that if a family wants a console like the 360 or PS3, they most likely already have it. She also pointed out that she would not want her young children running around in online lobbies for games (we currently have no children). In her opinion the Wii is best suited as the sole family console. It was a great conversation with her, and it was good to hear opinions from the non-gamer. So if Nintendo has the young crowd and families because of their handhelds and the Wii, does that mean that Project Cafe is the bridge that keeps that consumer in house instead of buying a 360 or PS3? June is going to be very interesting.

Justin G

JP, I think that second to last sentence is a point that we’ve danced around but missed: is Project Cafe going to be the bridge that allows transitions from young gamer playing the Wii because it’s cheaper/more age-appropriate to a “real” console without switching from Nintendo to Sony or Microsoft? If it is, I think I can see a larger market than I originally did, but I’m still not quite able to see that there would be a very significant market nor that you’re going to get many converts from the PS3 or Xbox unless they do something with Project Cafe that is a game-changer (without relying on a gimmick).

JP

If I didn’t have that conversation with my wife I don’t think I would have come to that conclusion at all. So kudos to her this week.

Wii

All I do is bowl

Andrew

The Xbox is actually an awesome family console. Nintendo just has it beat on price.  With the family settings on the Xbox you can control what games are played and if they’re allowed online, what movies are watched, and even how much time they can play each week. On top of that it still has a full library M rated games to keep Dad happy.

Ethan

Good point about the transition JP, hadn’t thought about it but coupled with the PSN crap, it could be a very solid welcoming back party. Still, I’m not convinced quite yet, a transition doesn’t entice me cause I am already there unless the transition is to even more hardcore gaming but World of Warcraft has the monopoly on that.

JP

I think we could probably go more into hacking issues and security at another time. Also,i t would interesting as well to revisit this topic after E3. In regards to PlayStation having rabid fans, SEGA also had a huge fan base (myself included). SEGA rode off into the setting sun after their third console. Historically, most major console makers went three and out when it comes to making a console. I’m not saying that Sony won’t be relevant in the next generation of consoles, but the next one might be their last given all of their mistakes.  Nintendo preparing to launch their fifth console is pretty remarkable. I don’t really think that Nintendo will completely walk away from the Wii. There is still money to be made with that market. I won’t be surprised if Project Cafe does well. I think many families would feel comfortable upgrading their kid’s console with a brand they now trust. The caveat here will be price. The consoles my parents bought for me as a kid were all price driven. I am almost positive that is how I ended up with a Genesis. At the end of the day, we really won’t know what is under the hood with Project Cafe until after E3. When Nintendo starts letting the major game sites go hands on with the device is when we will all know what we are really looking at.

Justin L

I think Microsoft has made bigger strides in making the 360 more family friendly (especially compared to Sony), but even if the game library and settings are more supportive, the UI is still rough for young kids and new gamers. It still feels like people graduate from Nintendo to either Sony/Microsoft. Which made me think of the fact, the Wii isn’t going away. When that thing drops to $99 bucks people will still buy it and those people playing the exercise, sports, party games will still have plenty to buy. The only difference is, that when they are done, they have the option of “graduating” to the new Nintendo console. I think Nintendo is just trying to hold onto that new crowd a bit longer and hopes that their classic franchises will be enough to sell us traditional gamers on their system when the price is right and we’re waiting on a new Xbox and PS.

Conclusion

Nothing gets the fanboys riled up like a good guessing game about Nintendo’s future. The fact is we’ve given up on understanding or predicting Nintendo’s next moves and we will all be waiting anxiously for the big reveal at E3 this year. However, the Big N still has a long way to go before selling a new console to these gamers when our biggest compliment right now is “I’ll wait and see.”

Sources:

Giant Bomb (images)
IGN (image)
GameInformer