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Rumour: New Nintendo Platform To Debut At GDC

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It’s another "new console" weekend rumour! Haven’t had one of these in a while. Keeping with past tradition, I decided to save this one as a discussion post for the weekend, rather than a news piece, since a) we had so many other news stories going up already, and b) this rumour is about as sketchy as it gets.

 

Videogamer.com are reporting that, according to an industry source at a major publisher, Nintendo will be debuting a new hardware platform at the Game Developers Conference this year. According to their anonymous source: "Just heard a rumour that you may be interested in: Nintendo are going to announce a new platform at GDC. Some devs have already started work on it."

 

Earlier this week, we reported Nintendo president Satoru Iwata’s stance on a potential high-definition Wii. In reply to an investor query about such a device, Iwata stated: “Would it sell with only that [feature]? It needs something new.” Last year, we posted a rumour about a next-generation DS, allegedly powered by nVidia’s Tegra technology. In recent times, both a potential "Wii HD" and "DS2" have been mentioned by various members of the industry in some capacity, with some claiming to actually have seen the former.

 

The question, then, is which platform would the company potentially debut at GDC, and how would it benefit them? With the DSi XL scheduled to release in Western markets sometime during the first quarter of calender 2010, and the DS still performing remarkably worldwide, one would think it puts a little bit of a damper on the possibility of a DS2 reveal. On the other hand, the Wii is all set to have what could possibly be its best year yet, in terms of the quality of software.

 

Perhaps this "reveal" will be a glimpse — maybe behind closed doors — of things to come in the years following 2010? Allowing developers to get hands-on with a platform set to debut as far as a year later as early as possible makes sense from a production standpoint. For one thing, it would allow development teams to get a feel for the system and start preparing to port games that are currently in development to it. Iwata has stressed on multiple occasions that one of his goals is to improve third-party relations.

 

Of course, the question remains: What would make it sell to the Wii’s audience? Thoughts?

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.