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Nintendo: To infinity and beyond

Posted on September 16, 2010 by (@NE_Brian) in Features

The Wii was released in 2006. Five years before that the GameCube was released. Same for the Nintendo 64. If history holds true, we could be seeing Nintendo’s newest console as soon as 2011. What features would it sport? Which third party developers will make games on it? What does Nintendo need to do in order to preserve itself as #1 in the next cycle of consoles? Let’s take a look, shall we?

Nintendo’s Ultimate Plan

What’s been easy to see with Nintendo, especially when looking back, is their ultimate plan to dominate the gaming world. They used the Wii as their way into the casual gamer – in fact, it’s because of Nintendo we even have that term. Now that they have a Wii console in almost every household in the country, they have people hooked. Slowly, they will transform those people from casual gamers, into gamers. Not hardcore, or casual, but people who just have a healthy appetite for gaming. That’s when they’ll strike with their next console.

They Have No Chance

The new Nintendo console will be what everyone wants. It will give the hardcore and the casual gamers something to be happy about. The hardware will be there. It will play DVDs, and possibly – if Nintendo is feeling daring – Blu-rays. It will come with a hard drive to save games on. It will also come with enough processing power to make visually stunning games that stack up to even the best PS3 game. The system will do what everyone wants it to do in terms of hardware. The question of course, is what Nintendo will do about the software…

As for the controller, Nintendo will more than likely have perfected their motion sensing technology, no more Wii Motion Plus or anything like that. Will it be reliant on the improved tech of Sony’s Move? It’s possible, but where Nintendo also has an advantage is in the area of 3D. With the rise of the 3DS Nintendo will be working on a way to get 3D into people’s homes and not have to use the glasses. The fact that Sony is currently pioneering the 3D home experience will no doubt aid them in this endeavor.

Resistance is Futile

Despite the fact that this “new console” will have everything that everyone wants, Nintendo – while watching Sony and Microsoft play “catch up” – will be doing exactly the same as them, just in different, less apparent areas (to the causal gamer at least). Nintendo will have to launch with a fully supported online network. By now people will expect to get patches for buggy games, DLC for their favorite titles, and an achievement system to help explore other ways of playing. Without these kinds of features, Nintendo will be completely disregarded by the hardcore audience who currently play the 360 and PS3. There is only so much Mario and Link can do for the company. Nintendo took a leap with not having that infrastructure and while it paid off for them once, I don’t see it happening twice.

Will It Cost Me an Arm and a Leg?

Obviously the most important thing about a system, regardless of its features, is its price. People want their money’s worth. I doubt that the next cycle will cost much more than the consoles did back when they first launched (except for Sony, who will undoubtedly launch lower after learning their lesson). But one can assume that Nintendo will have no choice but to launch their new system at a higher price than the Wii. I doubt this will be an outrageous jump of price, but something high enough to keep them in the black as they settle in with all their newly anointed Nintendo fanboys.

This is part one of a two part feature, look for the second part where I examine what third party developers would make the jump from the other consoles over to Nintendo and what potential franchises could have their games put there.

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