Monday, April 25, 2011

Rumors of Nintendo Wii Successor Prove True

Shigeru_MiyamotoNintendo released a rather dry statement to its investors today, confirming the existence of a new console currently codenamed Project Café. Now isn’t that something? An Internet rumor that isn’t a hoax or mistake or some conflation of the two?

As the rumors claimed, Nintendo plans on unveiling the machine at this year’s E3. The statement says that the company plans to “show a playable model of the new system and announce more specifications” at the expo this June. They will not be pulling an Xbox 360 Slim Oprah moment, giving everyone new consoles at the time of announcement; they are planning on a 2012 launch.

After the initial story broke almost two weeks ago, I wrote about the challenges Nintendo’s next console will face. What will its online service be? How powerful will the hardware be? Will it be attractive to third-party developers?

That last question becomes increasingly important as Apple’s presence in the gaming space continues to grow. Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference will occur simultaneously with E3, and it’s quite possible they will unveil a new iPhone at the event. Nintendo clearly views iOS gaming as a threat, and it may be recalibrating its approach to better satisfy the core gamer.

For more context, Nintendo concluded its third-straight fiscal year of declining profits last month. Announcing a new console certainly wouldn’t be the worst way to reenergize investors and distract them from waning interest in the Wii.

We’re a little over a month away from E3. That means a little over a month of controller mock-ups and anonymously sourced photos before Nintendo shuts us all up at their press conference.