The lights are on
Gamers have been waiting years for Nintendo to finally release its Wii successor, and Game Informer has heard from multiple sources that the company will unveil it at E3 this summer if not sooner.
We have confirmed with multiple sources that this new home system is capable of running games at HD resolutions. There are conflicting reports, however, as to whether its graphics will be comparable to those on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 – meaning it could surpass or fall short of those systems. Either way it will offer competitive specifications. Moving to HD should greatly help Nintendo and its new console in getting more multi-platform triple-A titles like Portal 2 or Mortal Kombat. This, in turn, will strengthen Nintendo's historically poor relationship with third-party publishers/developers.
In fact, Nintendo is already showing publishers the system in an effort to get them interested and allow them plenty of time to start developing titles in anticipation of the system's reported late 2012 launch. This advance support marks a change
from when the Wii launched. At that time, several Western publishers were
outright surprised by the announcement, and it affected the software support for the platform.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata himself acknowledged that it needs to do a better job with its publishing partners at a 3DS press conference in the fall of 2010. "We need to decrease the concern that only Nintendo software can sell well on Nintendo platforms and third-party software cannot sell in the same volume. We feel a need to have closer ties with our third-party developers from the beginning."
"Nintendo is doing this one right," said an anonymous source. "[It's] not a gimmick like the Wii." What else, beyond graphics, this may imply about the system is unknown. What kind of controls the system will support (we imagine a need for both classic analog configurations and motion controllers) or what level of software and infrastructure Nintendo will provide for online gaming is also unknown. However, it's a positive sign that the system might be more than just an HD Wii.
We've heard about an HD Wii for some time now, and the time is perfect – almost necessary – for Nintendo to jump start itself with this new system. The company has been feeling the bite since Wii sales have declined from previous years, and this week's news that Nintendo could be dropping the price of the Wii on May 15 could be a precursor to this announcement and an attempt to move as many Wii units as possible out of the retail channel before the new system hits.
We do not have confirmation if this new system will be backward compatible with the Wii or if it will even carry the Wii branding as has often been rumored. It is our understanding that Nintendo is trying to embrace the western gamer and will likely launch a new brand with this console. Around the office we have dubbed the system Nintendo HD. However, this information at this point is conjecture.
We contacted a Nintendo representative regarding this information, and they would only say that "Nintendo does not comment on rumors or speculation."
Either way, it should be an exciting E3 for Nintendo and gamers alike.
For more on the rumors surrounding the new Nintendo system, check up our roundup of all the talk, as well as what some industry analysts have to say on the matter.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.