It's time once again for the E3 rumor mill to start churning up some great stuff before the show. This year the big buzz is around the new Nintendo console (code named "Project Cafe" for now, but also referred to as WiiHD and Wii2), as some preliminary specs (or rumors of specs) have begun to surface. The new system itself has been confirmed by Nintendo, shooting for a 2012 launch, but the rest is all bits and pieces found from various sources. Here's what we're hearing so far.
First and foremost, the new system will be high-def. So all you naysayers about Nintendo being behind on the times can quiet down a bit. From ArsTechnica:
8GB of internal, flash-based storage
25GB optical discs
Support for high definition graphics
These specs for a new generation console seem a bit odd, as I have more than 8gb of storage in my camera, but 25gb Optical Discs hold a lot more information than a standard DVD. So it looks like we may see less downloadable information and perhaps alternate forms of saves (online, anyone?), but much more possibility for the HD games. ArsTechnica also reports that the controller is likely to follow the Nintendo trend of bending the mold by being a touch-screen based device.
The controllers are said to include a touchscreen, giving games another way to share information with the players, as well as a supplemental control option. The controller will also support the standard buttons and pads we're used to, much like the Wiimote, which acts as a physical controller when turned on its side.
Kotaku reports that this controller for Project Cafe will likely have a 6.2" screen, as well as some interesting integration into the games.
The 6.2-inch screen will receive data wirelessly from the Nintendo console and presents an array of options, from putting the player's inventory or map on the controller screen, to allowing players to combine it with the controller's camera to snap photos that could be imported into a game or even turning it into some sort of glorified viewfinder (we're unclear about whether the camera on the controller points at the player or can be outward-facing; we've heard both - maybe it swivels?).
To me, this sounds a bit like what Dreamcast was going for all those years ago - perhaps it's second time's the charm? I guess we'll see when we get our mitts on this bad-boy at E3. For those who like lists, what we can look forward to according to VG24/7 is the following spec list they put together based on their most credible sources:
New console using a R700 AMD GPU
Also using a TriCore PPC similar to the one in X360
Minimum of 512MB RAM
25GB Optical Disc & 8GB of on-board flash
No built-in HDD included, SD card dependent
Controller has a 6.2″ touchscreen on it
Controller also has the standard set of controls & buttons (d-pad, dual analog, 4 face buttons, 2 shoulders & 2 triggers)
Controller also has a camera & gyros/accelerometers
Backwards compatible with Wiimote
More powerful than PS360 (significantly or just a tad bit is undefined)
Production starts as early as October 2011
I would imagine these sites have filtered out all of the ridiculous rumors, like those including dinosaurs or alien involvement, so the above listed specs are some of the less outlandish things we've heard in terms of gaming rumors. I suppose we'll find out in a few weeks when we crash Nintendo's booth at E3. Stay tuned to us and we'll bother them for the scoop on online-gaming (for co-op, duh) with this next installment in Nintendo's history.