Indeed, it has been made official that Nintendo will be unveiling their new console on the E3, dubbed by fans as the Wii 2. According to Nintendo, a playable console will make its appearance there this June.
Apparently, Nintendo is planning to release their new console somewhere in 2012, beating Sony and Microsoft to a ‘next’ generation console. I said ‘next’ because the Wii 2 will feauture HD graphics, something the other consoles have had for years now. Sony and Microsoft getting anxious and biting their fingernails? I doubt it, since they already have HD graphics and both the Xbox and Playstation still have a few fertile years to go.
So, what do we know about this ‘Wii 2’? Well, not much … There is some information from ‘a reliable source’, which could be legit, or just rumours. Keep reading for a breakdown of the information gathered.
Most of today’s information comes from an article published on the French website 01net.com via a story on Develop Online. As Destructoid notes, 01net was also the first to break the story on Sony’s NGP handheld in advance of that announcement. The 01net story quotes a “very reliable” source who claims to have inside information on the technology powering Nintendo’s next console. The original article was published in French, but user on the popular Gaming Age forums translated it and posted a bullet point summary. The report says the new console is codenamed “Project Cafe” internally. According to the source, the “CPU is a custom IBM PowerPC with three cores, GPU should be an ATI from the R700 family with a shader unit at version 4.1. RAM should be at least 512 MB.” These specs are fairly comparable to the Xbox 360’s internal architecture, but as Destructoid noted in its report, the 4.1 shader support would be an improvement over the 360’s 3.0 shader support. These internal similarities would also make porting titles from the 360 to this new Nintendo console a much simpler process.
Kotaku’s sources indicate the new console is powerful than other current-gen systems, but it’s unknown if that just refers to the aforementioned improved shader support. IGN’s report added one other important tidbit: its unnamed source said the system delivers full 1080p HD resolutions, which is welcome news to HDTV owners. IGN’s sources also said that the unit is fully backwards compatible with Wii software. This jibes with Develop’s claim that the unit “support[s] all Wii peripherals.” French website 01net says that GameCube backwardscompatibility is also in the plans.
There have been rumours and a CVG report claiming the new Nintendo controller has a built-in HD screen. Today, all reports seem to indicate that the screen is a reality, but there is some question as to whether it’s HD or not. The 01net story indicated that there would be a screen, but that it would feature “sub-HD” graphics. However, it said that the screen will be a six-inch “one-touch” (as opposed to multi-touch) touchscreen.
The controller unit has been compared to “iPad with buttons” by Destructoid, but its report stresses that the screen is much less costly and doesn’t offer the same level of “power or performance” as the iPad’s touchscreen.
More conventional controller inputs surround the touchscreen: a d-pad, L and R bumpers, two triggers, and “possibly more.” The unit has a front-facing camera and will also have motion controls. However, the Wii sensor bar has been integrated into the controller, so you would only need the controller itself for Wii remote functions.
Like past Nintendo systems, the console is disc-based. In fact, Blu-ray.com has heard from a source that Nintendo is “considering” using Blu-ray (which Sony helped develop and currently uses in the PlayStation 3) as the system’s disc format.
Is this reliable?
While all the above information is unconfirmed, most of the reports we’ve seen seem to agree on most of the leaked features and specs powering the new Nintendo console. Most reports seem to concur that Nintendo is targeting a 2012 release, probably a mid-summer release in Japan and later in the year in the U.S. and western territories.
In addition, the 01net source said there was yet another “big surprise” regarding the unit and its feature set that has yet to leak, but refused to reveal it. In any case, these next few months look to be very interesting for Nintendo fans.
There is often a “feeding frenzy” mentality that develops in the wake of a story of this magnitude, so it’s entirely likely that at least some of the claims being presented are either wrong or significantly distorted.
Well, whatever it is I’m sure Nintendo will have some sort of surprise behind their backs. The E3 will be held in Los Angeles from 7 – 9th June so circle those dates on your calendar and stay tuned for more exciting news about the Wii 2.