Project Cafe: Capturing the "Hardcore"
While Nintendo counts the profits of it's current home system, the Wii, there are many gamers out there that have felt alienated by the motion based system. Underpowered, lack of HD
capabilities, inferior online gaming structure and a complete lack of interest in the software line up are the main points brought up when you ask a more dedicated gamer or those that dedicate their favourite hobby by investing in all game systems including the PC.
Despite this, Nintendo's little machine has made the Japanese company a huge profit, fans of Nintendo have - in the main spent many dollars on software and peripherals knowing they can continue the adventures of many of the fanbase's favourite characters including Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda whilst having a more friendlier approach to non gamers with the systems motion controller/peripherals and software such as Wii Fit. The strategy worked but it seems (according to rumours at least) Nintendo is not 100% satisfied and wants to get the unimpressed general "hardcore" back with their next console.
How will they do this? In my opinion to get some of these people back they will need to do the following:
1) Kinect/Move route: Offer traditional based controller alongside motion control. It has worked for Microsoft so far with Kinect and Sony are starting to gain ground with Move. Give the gamer the option of either one especially if this new console will be backwards compatible. You can appease to the hardcore whilst still offering products to the casual Wii Fit style motion gaming fan.
2) Power: In my opinion the next Nintendo console needs to be more powerful than the Xbox 360 and PS3, a lot more. I cannot see the point in releasing a console in 2012 that could be around the same capabilities as the those that are already available to the consumer. The hardcore, after studying gaming forums especially, crave new hardware in droves. Whilst many are happy with their current systems, the PC especially with titles such as Battlefield 3, show the current consoles age.
Could you imagine a Project Cafe launch title that comes close to a higher spec version of Battlefield 3 or even Battlefield 3 itself? Imagine the reaction if Battlefield 3 was released for the system and came very close to the stunning PC version? I think the hardcore would like that somewhat.
3) Online: Nintendo needs to grasp the online community. Wii had a poor structure and the 3DS is hardly going to concern Xbox Live, PSN, Steam, Onlive etc anytime soon. Drop friend codes and introduce gamertags/ID's, full customizable profiles & avatars(gamerpics), a headset bundled with the console for gaming chat and HD streaming services such as Youtube/Hulu/Netflix/Iplayer. An in game guide button similar to Xbox Live or XMB PSN would be ideal, maybe the guide could be used in the rumoured HD screen built into the controller?
4)Blu ray: Benefits the gaming fan and movie fan. The PS3 speaks for itself with regards to benefits of Blu ray, I wouldn't be surprised to see Nintendo share the same opinion.
5)Third Party Support: According to rumours, Nintendo wants to really give depth to its portfolio with support from companies such as Rockstar, EA, Ubisoft, Konami,Capcom etc. This is vital for the console to succeed in it's goal to capture the hardcore market. I believe Nintendo would be wise to follow a similar strategy to the classic system SNES, gain support from outside developers whilst securing some exclusive software in the process. Games such as Contra 3 The Alien Wars and Super Castlevania 4 were a massive success on SNES with many gamers today bringing up fond memories of those two excellent titles, Nintendo I feel needs to create more to remember them by outside first party.
So there it is, five points made which I believe would bring those gamers back who were irked by the Wii. Will they follow these points and more? E3 2011 should give us a good idea.
Thanks for reading.