Snackbar Speculator: The next generation

May 2, 2011

In this special edition, we look at the next Nintendo system and discuss what features it will have.

Next Nintendo console to have an internal hard drive

Now that Nintendo has revealed that they are working on a new console, rumors are swirling over the various features of it. First up is the rumor that Nintendo will finally include an actual hard drive in a console. There haven’t been any guesses as to a specific size for the hard drive, but the mere inclusion of one would certainly be big news.

Gerry Pagan: I’d actually be surprised if the new Nintendo console didn’t have a hard drive, given that even the 3DS has 2 GB of flash memory. 100%

Andrew Passafiume: It seems like an obvious move for them. I’m sure they’ll have a (hopefully) larger focus on downloadable content, including games and demos, so an internal hard drive is the next step. 95%


Graham Russell:  Technically there was internal storage in the Wii, so on a purely semantic standpoint, yeah, it’s going to have one. What kind is hard to say. They could try a 3DS model of relying on external cards, but if the rumors of “appealing to the Western hardcore demographic” are true, they really need internal storage, and they need a lot of it. Any less than, say, 60GB would be a disappointment, unless they try for SSD storage, in which case something like 32 might slip by. 100%

Shawn Vermette:  I think Nintendo has seen the amount of money and importance placed on DLC with the PS3 and Xbox 360. They’ve also seen the popularity of their Virtual Console soar beyond their expectations. At this point, I’d be shocked if Nintendo didn’t have a hard drive in their next console. 100%

Controller for next Nintendo console to have touch screen

Next is concerning the actual controller for the new console. Rumors say that the new controller will be similar to the GameCube controller, only with a touch screen in the middle of it. There’s no certainty to the rumors over what it would be used for, just that it will have one.

Gerry: I’m kind of split on this one. If it’s true, I’m sure Nintendo will find some way of making it non-intrusive like they did with the speakers on the Wii remote. But a touch screen? 50%


Andrew: Nintendo probably wants to move away from motion controls, at least primarily, so having a more standard controller would definitely help. The potential use of a touch screen could come in handy during certain games, and it could also allow for 3DS connectivity; using a handheld as a controller is something Nintendo’s been focused on doing since the GameCube. If they’re going to have any kind of crazy innovation, this might just be it. 70%

Graham:  The word on this one is that it both has a touch screen and functions as a sensor bar for Wii games. This tiny detail, I think, is an important one. It speaks not to the flights of fancy of a rumor-monger, but to a comprehensive plan for cost-effectiveness and backwards-compatibility. Why? It means these two things: (1) the system will run Wii games, but only as a legacy thing and not because the system itself retains these abilities, and (2) this touch-screen thing is happening, since that’s a move to cut controller costs in other areas. The controller sits on the TV when you’re playing these games, so that makes me think that the system will simply sync with Wii remotes when you want to do these things. It seems to me that, for most, any controller scheme that costs more than $79 would be impractical, so they need to cut it down to fewer things. Could it have a simple gyroscope? Possibly, but it’s likely that games with motion controls will just get you to pull out that legacy device, much like Wii games supported GameCube controls.  90%

Shawn:  A touch screen on a controller only makes sense if you plan on allowing customizable controls using it, and honestly, it kind of makes sense to do that, assuming they can get some kind of tactile feedback for it. Without tactile feedback, I just don’t think it’d work out the way Nintendo hopes, if it is actually in their plan. 65%

Next Nintendo console to be more powerful than the PS3

Lastly is a rumor concerning the power of the new console. The rumors say that in a slight change of pace for Nintendo, the new system will have plenty of power. Enough to make it the most powerful console on the market by a good amount when it releases.

Gerry: This I’d actually like to see. Nintendo’s always been great with the eyecandy when it comes to their first party titles, so seeing a Mario or Zelda in 1080p would be a nice sight. 78% 


Andrew: We won’t know until we see it; it’s something that might just edge out the PS3, but the difference won’t be that noticeable. It’s tough to say at this point really. 50%


Graham:  The era of advancing graphical ability is largely over. It’s important that I explain: I fully believe graphics will get better and better, as they have, but the law of diminishing returns has started to kick in. Do we really need things to look better than, say, Crysis 2, if that means bloated development budgets and more expensive games? We don’t, and if anyone agrees with me, it’s Nintendo. Affordability is key as PC and iOS development have been racing to the bottom, price-wise. All that said, I think Nintendo will at least match 360/PS3 capabilities, and they should, regardless of crazy new ideas they have. Whether the system will outpace the PS3 is up for discussion, though, since Nintendo loves making a profit from the beginning and doesn’t want to price the system at the high levels the PS3 did at launch. 65%

Shawn:  I think at a minimum, the next console needs to be at least as powerful as the PS3 for it to have any chance of attracting third-party publishers and last longer than three or four years. Nintendo isn’t known for doing what most people would expect them to do, though. 75%