For the past few days, rumors have been rampant in the Nintendo sections of every gaming website. This rumor is pertaining towards Nintendo's sixth next generation gaming home console, supposedly codenamed, "Project Cafe." None of the speculation is really set in stone as of yet, but some of the speculation said about the console is blatantly obvious and is probably completely true.
Ever since 2010, we've heard that Nintendo's sixth generation home console will have a Blu-Ray disc player and games that could be run at 1080p resolution. And according to the latest rumors, last year's speculation is now proving true. According to the information from the "leakers" themselves, French website 01net, Project Cafe will include a custom IBM PowerPC CPU with three cores, a GPU from the ATI R700 family with a shader unit at version 4.1, and at least 512MB of RAM. From what I've been hearing, people have been a little aggro over the 512MB of RAM. Why is Project Cafe's RAM being outperformed by some mobile devices? Keep in mind it says, "at least." For all we know it could be more than that. Another tidbit that has been leaked is that the console's controller will have a 6 inch built in HD touch screen, a front-facing camera, two bumpers, two triggers, and "possibly more."
The above is where I'm getting a little hesitant with Project Cafe. The next generation of home consoles don't need to be saturated any farther with any more gimmicks, in my opinion. The controller for Project Cafe sounds uncomfortable and enormous. What Nintendo needs to focus on is constructing a controller that's just the next step of the Wii Remote, while also giving gamers the option to play with a normal controller as well. After all they did with the Wii Remote, construing away from it just doesn't seem natural. All they have to do is add in better controller tracking. Basically take the Wii Remote, Playstation Move, Kinect, smash those together, and go to town. Adding a six inch touch screen, a camera, and possibly more just makes it seem Nintendo is wasting money that could go into the consoles infrastructure itself, and not just the controller.
Above I said that Nintendo should give the gamers options to play with a normal gamepad controller. I know some are saying, "They have that with the Wii, it's called the Classic Controller!" That's fair and all, but I just don't see a reason why I should have to plug a controller into another controller just to play a game with dual analog sticks. I should just be able to have a dual analog stick controller option packed in with my console, just in case I do buy a game that I'd prefer to use analog sticks for. Motion control gaming isn't for everyone, and that was the main problem with the Wii. Third parties don't want to develop a multiplatform game for the PS3 and 360 then have to downgrade the game to the Wii and also make motion compatibility as well. For the ones that did, the motion controls were just tacked on, which made it feel extremely gimmicky. Not all games made motion controlling feel gimmicky, but some people would just rather sit down and play their game without having to move around, and I don't blame them. That's why Nintendo also needs to give the option of non-motion control gaming for ALL games for Project Cafe.
If Nintendo plans on winning the hardcore gamer back, they need to not only avoid cheap gimmicks this time around, but they need to also come to terms with the times and notice what's making the competition so successful with the hardcore gaming crowd. It's pretty simple to assume that Project Cafe will have HD, so we already know the third parties that once said, "The Wii's not powerful enough" will be flocking to it making triple A games. Not very sure about Mark Rein though. He'd probably find an excuse as to why Unreal Engine 4 isn't on it since he's so anti-Nintendo and can't fathom why Nintendo became so popular. Back to the point, what Nintendo needs to bring in is a much better online infrastructure, and that is painstakingly obvious. It's time to ditch friend codes, add in usernames, have the ability to make parties, see what your friends are playing, have easy jump ins, and call it a day. Basically, Nintendo needs to do exactly what Microsoft and Sony did this generation, but better. With what they've been doing with the Nintendo 3DS, it's safe to assume they may be able to successfully pull off this feat. The Streetpass online connectivity built in software is just amazing. Sure, that won't really work with a home console, since it isn't a mobile console, but Nintendo is showing that they really do want better online connectivity. Secondly, for online, they need better security. The Wii is, by far, the most hacked gaming console I have ever witnessed. I'm not even going to go on with this point. Death to Homebrew and Gecko! Another thing Project Cafe would have to have is better online servers. I'm not exactly sure why the Wii's online is so choppy, but I hope it's all fixed in Project Cafe.
Nintendo needs to start liking garage developers, and just let them make games. They can't get any better if you're not even allowing them a chance to develop for you. The digital downloading market is very successful right now, and many great games are on these services. If these garage/indy developers continue making great downloadable games, they'll eventually get the budget to make great full fledged games. Nintendo just doesn't it see it that way though. They feel the need to only allow people who've made somewhat successful games before to develop games for their downloading services, and that's why the Xbox Live Arcade easily trumps Wii Ware. You have to allow developers to build themselves up and not just shut them down because you don't believe they're up to your standards. With the next console, I really hope they add Gamecube games to the Virtual Console library, I'm sure they won't since, supposedly, Project Cafe will be backward compatible with both the Wii and Gamecube, motion controls and all. Thing is, most of my Gamecube games are either sold, or are locked away somewhere, I'd like to just download some Gamecube games, I'm pretty sure Project Cafe has the power to do so.
Storage is a tough one that's going to be tough to decide on. Does Nintendo still want to use SD/SDHC cards as storage devices or do they want to jump into the hard drive department? Each position has their ups and downs, so that's up to Nintendo to decide. As long as we don't have to "clean up the house" for over a year when we're full, I'll be fine.
If all the rumor and speculation is true about Project Cafe, then I'm really excited about it. If the points above are applied to it, then I'd be even happier. We need to ignore gimmicks next generation, and just focus on getting good software out there, better online connectivity, and just bringing in the best experience.
What do you think about Project Cafe?
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