The video games industry follows the same ups and downs of nearly any other artistic medium, following cycles of advancement and innovation with periods of near-stagnancy and gamer impatience. But if there’s one thing that gets fans just as energized as industry insiders, it’s Nintendo unveiling a new piece of hardware. The next console is the Wii 2, and even before the system has launched, it’s creating a stir.
Nintendo made its fortune by providing players with some of the best games ever made on systems offering the most advanced hardware at any given moment in time. But with the Nintendo Wii, that pattern stopped. While competitors Sony and Microsoft took the leap of faith into the next generation with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Nintendo delivered the Wii, a motion controlled-system that fell short of the HD threshold.
The system struck a chord with Nintendo fans and millions of casual gamers, but the rift between the major consoles and Nintendo has only grown with time. So it wasn’t a massive surprise when Nintendo officially confirmed a next-gen console was on the way, and while some might see the Wii 2 as an inevitable creation designed to bring hardcore gamers back into Nintendo’s territory, that’s not the only possibility.
Nearly every single Nintendo hardware launch has turned out to be a milestone moment in games history, from the Nintendo 64 to the glasses-free 3D of the 3DS, and the Wii 2 could do the same. Sure, we have fears about the Wii 2, but what some may view as Nintendo arriving late to the party, we see as a potential game-changer in the making.
To help explain our thinking, we’ve put together a list of the 5 ways that Nintendo’s upcoming console may reshape the entire industry, both directly and indirectly. If even half of the rumors circling on ‘Project Cafe’ turn out to be true, Nintendo may just show that their ability to rock the gaming world hasn’t diminished one bit.
#5. The Merge of Mobile/Console Gaming
Gamers have been arguing about this topic since handhelds and home consoles first began to co-exist, but the recent surge in mobile gaming due to the iPhone, iPad and Android devices has stirred the wishes of the masses into all out demands. It’s a simple enough problem: players who want to experience triple-A games on their HDTVs are out of luck when work or travel is required. We’d love to sit and play through an entire season of MLB: The Show from beginning to end, or spend every waking second inside a world like that of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but if we’re not at home, it’s just not possible.
But why? With devices capable of delivering HD experiences in our pockets, and the interconnectivity of digital devices growing more complex by the day, surely game developers can figure out a way to expand the boundaries of their property. Some games have included mobile aspects into various areas of gameplay, but never on the scale that we lie awake at night dreaming of.
We know that Skyrim isn’t trying to blow current graphics out of the water, so why not give players the ability to raid some dungeons or level up skill trees during their commute? If it means that fans can extend their game experience from their living rooms into the other free time in their life, then it’s only a matter of time until someone makes it possible. And it may just be Nintendo.
The first leaked controller mock-ups for the Wii 2 showed an input device that looked more like a handheld platform than a typical controller, with later sources claiming that the controllers were capable of streaming games remotely. Rumors even suggest that the controllers would allow players to take them on the go as an alternative to the DS or 3DS. While still a rumor, this functionality holds more promise than any previous integration of console games with mobile variants.
Nintendo has shown two things in their history: they have the properties people want, and nobody understands mobile gaming like they do. Combining the company’s console franchises (Zelda, Mario, Donkey Kong) with the uniquely-crafted mobile experiences that have earned them awards as well as profits would be more than we hoped for. Some ability to connect a mobile experience with the typical gameplay at home, sure, but a unified experience of The Legend of Zelda on my TV and mobile controller?
Such a move wouldn’t just prove that the technology was possible, but Nintendo being the ones to pioneer it would once again send their competitors scrambling to keep up. And after being left in the dust for recent years where tech is concerned, that would be something Nintendo would enjoy.