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Nintendo HD – Has the Next-Gen Console War Begun?

by April 20, 2011
Nintendo HD console coming to E3?

Nintendo HD console coming to E3?

It all makes sense now… It was only earlier this week when we heard the rumor from "a trusted source" at Engadget that the price for Nintendo Wii will drop to only $150 starting May 15th. Even Nintendo America President Reggie Fils-Aime has bolstered the price-drop speculation when he recently hinted that Wii's price might be a potential variable to boost sales of the five year-old game console.

It should be no surprise that the sales cycle for the current generation of game consoles is beginning to wind down. But Nintendo Wii is suffering this gaming-sales-downturn worse than its competitors. According to industry analyst NPD Wii sales dropped in January, 2011 by 31.5-percent compared to the previous January. Sales comparisons between January, 2010 and January, 2011 shows Microsoft had an amazing year-to-year growth in sales of Xbox 360 which increased 14.4 percent. This phenomenon might be explained as consumer-enthusiasm for Kinect (Editor's note: Boy, will that be short-lived!). More than half of January 2011 sales of Xbox 360 came bundled with Microsoft’s Kinect motion accessory. Sony has been relatively stable with a January year-over-year drop of only 3-percent in sales.

Audioholics Time Capsule

It’s time to take a look into the Audioholics time capsule and see the comments on the article that predicted this Wii Bubble back in '08. Anyone predicting a steep sales decline for Nintendo's Wii due to its commitment to casual gaming and general lack of media features would have taken a lot of heat. Of course this theory was supported by Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer who famously commented that Wii may have been bringing in the casual gamers - but Xbox 360 was keeping them.

The conversation among Audioholics.com users in this thread on the Wii Bubble is a fascinating look back. Reading what our audioholic soothsayers had to say just a few years ago really gives you some perspective into how technology changes so quickly.

Get Ready for Nintendo HD

It looks as if a price drop in May might be the way Nintendo begins clearing out stock to make way for a brand new console. The rumor has hit the web that a new Nintendo console (code named Project Café) will be presented to the public in June, presumably timed for E3. The rumors maintain that the console itself would become available in late 2012, just in time for Christmas.

IGN, GameInformer.com and a French site called 01net.com is where much of the speculation began. Apparently once a new console starts being presented to games developers it's difficult to keep a lid on rumors of its existence. Nobody knows at this point what the name of the console will be and based Nintendo's track record for its console's naming conventions, it's probably not going to be called Wii 2, we’ll go with Nintendo HD for this article. 

According to an IGN editor's twitter account, there will be first and third-party game demonstrations for a Nintendo HD at the E3 Expo this coming June 7-9. But nobody knows if these demos will be playable.

Gameinformer.com has been told by multiple sources that the new Nintendo console will be capable of HD resolutions. Finally – HD on a Nintendo console! But Gameinformer doesn’t know if the graphics will be comparable to those of Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.  But apparently Kotaku.com does and is pretty sure the graphics engine will be even more powerful any of the existing consoles.

The French site, 01.net goes into some details about features and says Project Café will have a built-in sensor bar similar to Microsoft's Kinect and will use dual analog sticks, presumably like the Wii nunchuks. Another rumor has Nintendo HD using 6-inch touch screen displays built into the controllers (gosh, we hope not). These could be used to customize the controller for specific games.

Nintendo has declined to comment on any speculation or rumors.

Online rumors have already created anticipation for E3 this year as we're at an interesting place in computer power and gaming. Cloud gaming is poised but not quite ready to be the next big thing. Graphics have gotten so good that many games designers are have surpassed realism and are achieving a graphical hyper-realism in games.

We can only wonder if Nintendo has fired the first salvo in the next generation console war. These are good times to be a gamer!

About the author:
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Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

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