As I was discussing with a friend on Live Messenger today, the consumer or hardcore consumer knew much more about the Wii before anything was known about the system. All we had to do was to look at the attitudes being adopted and implemented in the new at the time Nintendo DS. Nintendo did not push the graphical power of the DS as it implemented a 3d chip that was as powerful as the 64bit era and it also included the chip that made the Gameboy 2d graphics as a security measure, they were using tried, tested and reliable hardware and architecture. They brought about innovation through their “New Play Control”, and they tip toed onto the online gaming scene with an overly cautious system. Now with hindsight, are all these sounding familiar. Wii hardware is related to an overclocked and slightly enhanced for security Gamecube system, we have innovation through a “New Way To Play” and they slightly enhanced but not as much as touted their baby steps into the online gaming scene retaining their overly cautious system.

Everyone is speculating especially Michael Pachter who is soothsaying about a WiiHD, this is not going to happen, unless Nintendo name their successor to the Wii the WiiHD. It is not in Nintendo’s corporate best interests to divide a market no matter how they tack HD onto the Wii in its current form. The Japanese market has been slow on the HD uptake, the console market isn’t what it used to be there also. This is Nintendo’s backyard, so they don’t want to create confusion or place any sort of barrier to a consumer that is yet to uptake the Wii console. They will find ways of bringing in the consumer through software means. But the bread and butter of the current Japanese market is the handhelds, and this can also be the case worldwide as the DS is the most successful console of all time, there’s no doubt about it. But this market can and will reach saturation point where it will stagnate and possibly decline, the DSlite brought about a new found push to the hardware that brought it to bounds never thought capable. I believe this was the incentive of Nintendo releasing the DSi, but it is not reaping the rewards in a similar fashion as its older brother did.

A push on a few key IP’s on the DSi in particular will bring about revitalisation in the market, unfortunately it wont in my eyes lead to a long life of the DSi. With the slight increase in processing power, developers will want to avoid splitting their market on the DS and rather develop games that can be played on the originals as well as the DSi, but not exclusive on the DSi. I remember in an interview that Satoru Iwata said that they have had consoles ready for a release but circumstantially were not as they release new hardware when there is a universal call from developers for new hardware, they have done all they can on that system. Well that time is near on the DS, with the taste of more powerful hardware within the DSi. The proposition of a new market is better than a split one, as a new market grows, a split one doesn’t always necessarily.

As I’m writing this I am struck with the quote that is the basis of this blog post, to where it’s from I cannot remember. But, to look forward we always must look back first.

Now as we move onto the future I fully expect to learn about a new handheld from Nintendo before any muttering of a new console is mentioned. I do expect that we could hear about a successor to the Nintendo DS in all its iterations as early as next year. With a release window of late 2011 to early 2012. That’s my speculation done for today but with lessons learned in the past, this new handheld could be vital to learning about the new console that is going to replace the Wii.

For instance, what if the new DS was just as powerful as the now 5 year old PSP. Well that wont bode well with the Hardcore gamer as this again shows Nintendo’s adverse ability to compete on a graphical standpoint. But what if Nintendo decided to overhaul the architecture of the system, make it the first Nintendo console to have a dual-core processing chip. Well this is the whispers that, Nintendo are confident in their market standpoint, consumers will be willing to purchase more advanced technology at the right premium. It shows that they are trying to satisfy the market that put Nintendo where it is today while also accommodating the new found market who are taking their second step into the gaming arena with more advanced tech. When the intimate details are shared about this successor in the portable gaming market, I would be the first to expand and contrast these to the console future. If there are stark differences in their portables online capabilities, expect these to be bigger on the console front, if the hardware is advanced by a year or so rather than current tech, expect the console to be just as forethought.

I don’t expect there to be a new way to play these games like there predecessor but rather expanding on the more important parts of that control. Advances in tech that they invested in over the years have been rife within other organisations for examples Apples Multi-touch tech, I would like to think that some sort of movement will be made by Nintendo in similar means. But advances in tech that Nintendo have pioneered themselves or co-invested with I expect to be vital in giving their systems their unique selling point. It’s only a matter of time whether the tech is in a state that it can be implemented cost effectively. Anyone remember Nintedno co-investing in research with Inphase Technologies, it’s only a matter of time until we find out its application to Nintendo’s future. If this tech is as important as it could be, it can be sold to other companies and Nintendo will profit, if this technology with holographic data storage can be used within portables, expect it in the iPod to follow Nintendo’s application within a portable.

As we learned with the DS showing us the pathway for the Wii and its unique take on the future, we will so learn about the successor to this phenomenon, through its smaller and much more portable sibling as and when it is analysed and widely discussed. Also dissected as people like to do with new technology!

EDIT: I have to add in this edit just so as I can add in this final note, I would love it if they named the successor to the DS the DSGameboy or something similar to the effect. Bring back the name as it is no longer a separate pillar in their strategy!

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