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12 February 2010 @ 11:59 am
The Five Year Itch  
The Nintendo DS came out in the fall of 2004. The Wii came out in the fall of 2006. Traditionally console generations have run about five years, with an announcement of the new system about a year before it comes out. (Handhelds update more frequently, but there are also a lot more iterative releases to confuse the issue.)

Sony and Microsoft have both claimed that they don't plan to follow that model this generation (although it should be noted that video game companies are notorious for vehemently denying the existence of new hardware right up until the moment they publicly announce it, presumably out of fear of damaging sales of the current generation. Likewise with price drop rumors/announcements.)

Nintendo hasn't made any specific announcements about its plans, although it has denied every specific rumor about new hardware (but see above.) Despite that the rumors seem to be popping up more and more often over the past several months. From a financial standpoint they're undeniably in the lead this generation, which puts them in a temporary position of strength. But we've already seen with Nintendo from the NES/SNES days and Sony from the PSX/PS2 days that the current market leader can always fall from favor when the next generation comes around. Some people think Nintendo ought to/needs to use its position of strength to move forward in the console generation and a get a new product out while they're still on top. Others think that's too risky and they should be content to stay on top with this generation for as long as they can manage.

Recently Nintendo got into a row with one of the japanese newspapers over whether or not the president of Nintendo revealed details about the next DS, and Miyamoto just recently confirmed that there is some kind of new hardware being worked on. However "new hardware" could mean anything from a new console, to another revision of the DS, to the vitality sensor that we already know about. And of course it wouldn't be the first time if Nintendo decided to ditch whatever new hardware it was working on now without ever releasing it.

So lots of rumor, speculation, and opinions. You know what that means, right? Poll time! :)

Poll #1524777 Nintendo's New Hardware

Is Nintendo going to announce new hardware this year?

Yes
1(100.0%)
No
0(0.0%)
Maybe!!!
0(0.0%)

If so, when will they announce it?

The Feb 24 Nintendo Media Event
0(0.0%)
GDC (March)
0(0.0%)
E3 (June)
1(100.0%)
Gamescom (August)
0(0.0%)
TGS (September)
0(0.0%)
Christmas!!!
0(0.0%)

If so, what kind of hardware?

Console
0(0.0%)
Handheld
1(100.0%)
Something else
0(0.0%)
Wearable VR goggles!!!
0(0.0%)

If a console, what features will it have?

Nothing but minor improvements (Just a redsign like the PS3 slim)
0(0.0%)
HD Output and/or better graphics
0(0.0%)
Graphics as good as the PS3/360
0(0.0%)
Graphics clearly better than PS3/360
0(0.0%)
Compatible with Wii games
0(0.0%)
Compatible with Gamecube games
0(0.0%)
Compatible with WiiStore games
0(0.0%)
No disk slot, Downloadable games only
0(0.0%)
Compatible with old Wiimotes
0(0.0%)
Compatible with Wii Fit and other old peripherals
0(0.0%)
Wiimotes with built in Motion Plus
0(0.0%)
Wiimotes with even better motion sensing than Motion Plus
0(0.0%)
Some other kind of motion sensing (like Natal or Sony's thing)
0(0.0%)
Some other kind of new UI interface
0(0.0%)
Full body suit UI!!!
0(0.0%)

How much will it cost at launch?

$200 or less
0(0.0%)
$201-$300
0(0.0%)
$301-$400
1(100.0%)
$401-$500
0(0.0%)
$501 or more
0(0.0%)
Ten thousand dollars!!!
0(0.0%)

If a handheld, what features will it have?

Nothing but minor improvements (iteration on DS, DS Lite, DSi)
0(0.0%)
Larger and/or higher resolution screens
1(50.0%)
Better graphics
0(0.0%)
Graphics as good as the PSP
0(0.0%)
Graphics clearly better than the PSP
0(0.0%)
Compatible with DS games
0(0.0%)
Compatible with GBA games
0(0.0%)
Compatible with DSiWare games
0(0.0%)
No card slot, downloadable games only
0(0.0%)
2 touch screens
0(0.0%)
Multi-touch
0(0.0%)
Some kind of motion sensor
0(0.0%)
Some other kind of new UI interface
0(0.0%)
Only a single screen
0(0.0%)
Four screens!!!
0(0.0%)

How much will it cost at launch?

$150 or less
0(0.0%)
$151-$200
0(0.0%)
$201-$250
0(0.0%)
$251-$300
1(100.0%)
$301-$350
0(0.0%)
$351-$400
0(0.0%)
$401 or more
0(0.0%)
Ten thousand dollars!!!
0(0.0%)

Would releasing a new console be a good idea or bad idea for Nintendo?

Bad idea - they have the lead and are making money hand over foot, they should milk it now for all it's worth.
1(50.0%)
Bad idea - they should take this opportunity to make the other two companies announce their plans first so they can react accordingly.
0(0.0%)
Bad idea - they'll dilute their brand recognition, the "casual gamers" won't want to buy a new console.
0(0.0%)
Bad idea - they've already diluted their brand recognition, the "hardcore gamers" won't want a Nintendo console now even if it does have better graphics than anything else
0(0.0%)
Bad idea - it may do well at first, but when Microsoft and Sony release new consoles a year or three after that Nintendo will suffer the fate of the Dreamcast.
0(0.0%)
Bad idea - I am a disillusioned Nintendo fan and/or a Sony or Microsoft fanboy, and anything Nintendo does is wrong!!!
0(0.0%)
Good idea - they've got a lot of mindshare and name recognition now, they can take advantage of it to promote the new console.
0(0.0%)
Good idea - they can afford to do a new console now but Sony can't and the Microsoft Games Division can't justify the cost to the stockholders.
0(0.0%)
Good idea - Sony and Microsoft are both copying the motion sense technology that Nintendo introduced, which was its big edge this generation. Nintendo needs to innovate to stay ahead.
0(0.0%)
Good idea - the "casual gamers" will still be happy with the old Wii, but Nintendo can recapture the "hardcore gamers" if their hardware is better than the competition's.
0(0.0%)
Good idea - Because i want one!!!
0(0.0%)


(Why are "hardcore gamer" and "casual gamer" in quotes? Because most people (most people in the gaming community anyways) think they know what the terms mean, but no one can come up with a good definition that everyone agrees on, not everyone agrees on who belongs in which group, and for each term there are at least some people who consider it an insult.)

And as usual, if i didn't cover all the options you think should have been included, then comment on it! :)
 
 
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Chaos Never Blinkssithjawa on February 12th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
I didn't know game consoles were like STDs...
Kirin: Goomba-transparentkirinn on February 12th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
Man, it is so hard for me to think of the current generation of consoles as almost 5 years old, and that that's a typical generation length. They still seem "new" and the last release wars still seem recent. I may partly be warped by the fact that the first FF is just now about to come out, though...

The DS does seem like it's been around for a while, though, and I wouldn't have been shocked to see a new handheld... except for the fact that the DSi just got launched over here. But I haven't bought one of those, so I wouldn't terribly mind seeing a portable with more pixels and a little more processing oomph. Having to compromise on the sound quality of SNES-era ports is getting a little sad.