For those of you who don’t know, it has been confirmed that Ninendo’s next generation console will be announced at this year’s upcoming E3 expo. The highly anticipated console being revealed is the Wii 2.
Sources say that the Wii 2 (code named “Project Cafe”) will be HD and at least as powerful as the current Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles.
Other features that have been confirmed are a standard controller (dual analogue sticks, a D pad, triggers, etc.) that will function much like the Gamecube controller (basically a normal gaming controller). This controller will have a 6” touch screen embedded on it, with the ability to stream data (and even entire games) from the console.
For now, this is all that is really known about Nintendo’s new mystery machine. I have seen comment boards ablaze with praise and skepticism about what lies ahead for this project. To weigh in, here are some of my thoughts on it all:
The first and biggest concern for most gamers seems to be the power of the new console. While I do think it is important to be able to pump out spectacular visuals, I think it is becoming less and less important as time and technology progress.
The Wii’s inability to output HD was definitely a big downfall. Simply put, 480p does not look good on a 42” TV. HD is a MUST.
As far as how important it is for the new console to blow away the current consoles in the power spec, I would say it is pretty minimal. It’s starting to get to the point where graphics aren’t going to get a whole lot better. While there is always room for improvement, I feel like we are quickly approaching a point where processing power is becoming less important. If the claims of this console being at least as powerful as a PS3 are true, that is good enough for me.
The Touch Screen
From what I’ve seen, many people are skeptical about the touch screen being integrated with the controller. Many are concerned that is going to be gimmicky and a novelty. I think that a large screen on the controller may do a great service getting rid of menus in games. One game that comes to mind is Call of Duty: Black Ops.
First off, you would never have to have a menu blocking your view to see maps or see the current score. Second, when you’re using kill streaks such as the RC Car, you could use the on remote screen to drive it around while still being able to see what is happening to your guy on the main screen. That way, no one is sneaking up on you while you’re driving around your Bomb Car.
I can see similar uses in games that rely heavily on inventory screens, but what if you could navigate through these screens quickly on your controller without having to stop the action?
As far as how it would fit or where it would be on a controller, I’ve had two ideas: One would be having the screen flip up from the top of the controller, much like a 3DS. Another would be to have it at the bottom, much like where the add-on keyboard for the Xbox 360 sits.
An onboard screen gives a resolution to those Madden screen cheating problems, and also gives the promise of adding the realism of being able to text your friends while driving cars in any upcoming games.
Although it is incredibly hard to see where any of this is going before seeing the actual console announcement at E3, it’s always fun to speculate on what could be. I am personally excited to see Nintendo return to the hardcore gaming arena. Hopefully, they can really make a statement with this next console.
On the other hand, I hope there’s something more to it. I really felt like the Wii was a step in the right direction by not following the “more power, more graphics” principle and finding a different way to interact with games.
Nintendo has always been innovative; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and I respect them for taking risks and searching for new ways to experience games. I think the industry as a whole is better because of it.