The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is just weeks away so all of the major players in the video game industry are preparing for the industry’s top event and trying to keep a tight lip on some of their biggest projects. Nintendo is one company that everybody will pay close attention to, as details on the next home console, codenamed Project Cafe, will be revealed, including a first look at the new system.
Nintendo will take to the stage at the Nokia Theatre on June 7, the first day of E3, with their annual press event. This has been a time of mockery for Nintendo in recent years with disappointing showings such as Wii Music still causing Nintendo fan boys to shutter at the mere mention of the game. The introduction to the Wii Motion Plus could have gone over much smoother than it did at 2009’s E3 event as well.
The 3DS will be one of the highlights of the offerings from Nintendo, who generally succeeds in the portable gaming market, but what fans really want to know about is the next home console system. We know that Nintendo will be discussing the new home console system but the company will also touch on some of the final pushes for the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS systems. A new 3D Mario game has already been confirmed but E3 should be the showcase for more information on that anticipated 3DS release.
Here are some items I would like to see Nintendo announce or discuss at E3. Feel free to share your desires in the comments section below.
1. Confirmed date for Project Cafe release
It’s a no-brainer. Majesco may have let the cat out of the bag with word of an early 2012 release for Project Cafe but until Nintendo says something for sure nobody can be too sure. An early 2012 release may be a bit optimistic, but it would make business sense to release the system at the end of the fiscal year to boost end-of-the-year sales and get a quick jump on the first fiscal quarter of the new year.
2. Project Cafe features
I am not one who suggests that motion controls are the way of the future so in my mind it may be OK to scale back the importance of motion controls on the new system. What does need to improve though is the graphics and internal parts so developers can view the new system as one worth programming for and as one that can compete head-to-head or exceed the capabilities of the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360. By all accounts early on that seems to be the case for Nintendo. But what else will Project Cafe offer?
What is going to make Project Cafe the go-to system when games are available on all three major systems? The new controller could be the selling point, with a built in HD screen.
3. Project Cafe launch titles
This will be key. Nintendo has done their part to get the hardware and development kits in the hands of third party developers well ahead of time with the intention of having solid third-party support at launch, which has been lacking on the Wii and GameCube. Undoubtedly at least one Nintendo franchise will have a launch title, but which will it be? Super Mario? Zelda? Metroid?
There could be a delay in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword so it could be adapted to and released on Project Cafe but it is my belief that Nintendo will avoid that scenario and focus on making Skyward Sword a Wii exclusive (although Wii games will be playable on Project Cafe). That should rule Zelda out of the mix, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 was just released in 2010 so a new Mario adventure could be another year away at a minimum. So who is left?
Donkey Kong? Kid Icarus?
4. Reasons to buy a 3DS
Nintendo has been the king of the handheld gaming market since the introduction of the Game Boy in 1989, but times are much different now. Not only does Sony have a hand in the portable market with the PSP leading to the Next Gen Portable (NGP) but the trend in mobile gaming has shifted to short, addictive games on cell phones and tablets such as Angry Birds and Words With Friends. With 3DS games costing an average of between $35-$40 for a piece of hardware that costs $250 Nintendo must find new ways to convince consumers to invest in a 3DS.
The new Super Mario game should have an impact on those waiting to buy a 3DS, as a Mario game tends to do, and the introduction of the eShop on the 3DS will leave a door open to the kind of games that are popular on iPhones and iPads. Rovio has worked to bring Angry Birds to the consoles. Could a special 3D version of the game be worth checking out? It’s certainly an idea worth flinging around.
Fans of EarthBound have been holding their breath a long time for Nintendo to release more games in the franchise, and it has gotten to the point where some fans have practically abandoned hope and have taken to translating the Japan-only releases in English for playing through emulation.
EarthBound was a cult-hit role-playing game on the Super Nintendo. Nintendo certainly realizes the value of the cast of characters form the game, having used scenes and characters from Earthbound in the Super Smash Brothers franchise, but until Nintendo announces a plan to reintroduce EarthBound (or it’s original name in Japan, Mother) the wait will continue.
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