I picked up my 3DS last Friday and love it to bits. It lives up to the promises Nintendo made of it. It has a lot of good games to look forward to. And it meets all my media related needs as well.
Some of you may look at the title and think "what is this guy on about? Nintendo need a new console!" But give me a chance to explain here and you might understand where I am coming from. To start with a new console is certainly very likely to be revealed this year regardless of what Satoru Iwata says. So Nintendo are very likely moving on. But why would I put 3DS ahead of a new Nintendo console?
Looking at some 3DS games (for example Street Fighter IV, Resident Evil and even Dead or Alive) due to the small screen the visual quality seems to surpass anything on Wii. Resident Evil in particular looks very close to the HD versions, though this is likely down to the small screen. I haven't seen Metal Gear Solid in front of me so I can't say about the graphics on that.
Another reason is that Nintendo handhelds do not suffer the same as Wii. Its very likely that whatever Nintendo put out next it will do something daring in order to attract more customers. Since Wii attracted a lot of casuals developers were quick to throw any old game on there regardless of quality.
However, the DS is a different story. In the handheld market the main target for shovelware seems to be smart phones. DS kept strong sales even for third party titles. True gamers on Nintendo have a lot to look forward to on 3DS, easily more third party support then Nintendo have had since SNES.
Street Fighter has proven that third party games can sell on Nintendo platforms, and this will likely lead to more third parties jumping ship. There are potential profits for some third parties (particularly the Japanese developers). It certainly isn't capable of running Unreal Engine 3, but it can run Capcom's MT Framework. This is actually a big thing. They have already hinted at both MVC 3 and SF X T. Perhaps they will plan on sending most of their games to 3DS too.
So what is my prediction with a new Wii? It may have similar third party support at first (due to developers needing to go multiplatform) but if it keeps that support is another story. Nintendo will likely have a daring trick up their sleeve for unique experiences. If it is as cheap as the Wii was (unless Nintendo do something to improve their quality control) it could likely suffer the same fate as the Wii. In fact even Kinect has had shovelware sneak onto the shelves (and 360 is expensive to develop for anyway) so it probably won't stop shovelware developers.
Ultimately this is how I see it. No I don't think Nintendo should leave hardware, that is a silly idea. Nobody uses their hardware like they do. But 3DS is able to play some games of 360 quality. I seriously don't think Street Fighter is dumbed down on 3DS, in fact I think its better than the 360 version I have since it is the original not the super version. But if third parties don't suffer the same problem on Nintendo handhelds than they do on consoles then 3DS certainly has the brighter future ahead of it.
I believe that once again Nintendo has come out with something that proves they are the kind of handhelds. And case in point, you should stick to what you are good at. And nobody does handhelds like Nintendo. This is still a machine for their core fanbase, and due to what happened with Wii, I believe 3DS is the way to go. I look forward to whatever Nintendo is cooking but 3DS seems to have more on the game side then Wii.