I love Sunday morning game industry rumors. They tend to at least have a seed of truth in them usually, since some lazy game journalist will have had to have gotten their lazy ass out of bed and in front of a PC to report it in the first place. And the week prior to E3 just wouldn't be the same without these inevitable rumors that seem to surface each year--2010 being no different.
IGN is citing unnamed developer sources
in claims that Nintendo's forthcoming handheld system, codenamed 3DS, will have "processing capabilities that far exceed the Nintendo Wii and bring the device with abilities that are close to HD consoles such as PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360". Meanwhile, the long rumored link between 3DS and NVIDIA's mobile Tegra chipset is now thought to be incorrect, with Eurogamer reporting
that Nintendo is turning to a Japanese partner to provide the 3D acceleration hardware for it's next handheld.
As Eurogamer points out, gamers should temper this "news" with a dose of common sense--the heat and battery drain issues alone make this a heck of a magic trick for Nintendo to pull off. And with Nintendo's track record of making their systems affordable and approachable, being on the cutting edge of tech as far as processing power goes has not been a priority throughout their history whether we are talking non-HD Wii consoles or non-backlit greyscale Game Boy handhelds. But who knows? With Nintendo President Satoru Iwata recently calling the war with Sony won, and identifying Apple as the "enemy of the future
", Nintendo may be planning to surprise us once again by taking a completely new approach. They do have truckloads of cash from the successes of the DS and Wii, and my guess is they are concerned about taking the dive Sony did when they went from industry leader with PS2 to industry doormat with PS3.
And speaking of Sony, don't count them out of the handheld space just yet--rumor has it they we will be treated to a PSP2 reveal at E3 next week, just one year after the anticlimactic unveiling of this generation's "Virtual Boy", the PSPGo.
Could Nintendo's next handheld actually be a dual-purpose device that will eventually replace both the Nintendo DS and Wii? A simple HDMI out could make that possible, and bluetooth controllers could play into the plan as well. It would seem that both DS and Wii have a lot of life left in them, and Nintendo could once again take the "third pillar" approach to slow-phasing them both out, leaving the mythical "casual" gamer to enjoy their existing systems and bringing forth something for the core audience they've arguably neglected for some time.
Another possibility is that Nintendo could take a page out of Apple's book and opt for a "universal operating system" across it's next handheld and the eventual Wii successor. It certainly seems to have worked well for Apple with iPhone OS bridging the gap between phone, mp3 player, and tablet. Not to mention the next Apple TV, which is poised to bite into the console space next year.
That's a whole lot of speculation. Much of it is likely wishful thinking, but you just never know with Nintendo. Fortunately we don't have a whole lot of time to wait before (at least) some of the answers are revealed.
It's going to be a heck of an E3, folks.