Everyone knows the Wii U is a console that's suffering. It's shortcomings are multi-pronged and according to an anonymous source, Nintendo could already be working on a new next-gen console.
The Wii U's struggles stem from the hardware itself falling somewhere between last and current gen. Faring better than the Xbox 360/PS3 but unable to compete directly with the Xbox One/PS4 in terms of performance. Coupled with a lack of third party support and an overall identity crisis, Nintendo's recently posted sales figures of a third consecutive year of losses could be just the impetus behind the recent chatter around a new console in development.
The Nintendo 3DS was the top selling console in 2013, but that has done little to alleviate the very tangible realization that the Wii U. Nintendo has already cut its projected 2014 Wii U sales from 9 million to 2.4 million units.
Nintendo isn't going to go broke any time soon. They made so much money off the Wii, the DS, and most recently the 3DS, they could write the whole Wii U off as a Virtual Boy hiccup and still be rubbing each other down with ¥10,000 notes. Many have assumed that Nintendo would be forced to move into the mobile gaming market thanks to the Wii U's lackluster performance.
Let's get this right out into the open: Never gonna happen.
Nintendo has spent the last 30 year creating a culture of relative isolation from outside influences. They don't play well with third party developers and are notorious for protecting their IPs. There's no way they'd give up that much control considering it would abandon the company's central philosophy that only their hardware is capable of representing their software.
The report from the Nintendo rumor site, Nintendo News, claims that Nintendo is already working on two next-gen consoles codenamed Fusion Terminal and Fusion DS. Again this is all rumor, but this rumor comes with a pretty detailed set of tech specs for the new consoles:
- CPU: ARMv8-A Cortex-A53 GPU: Custom Adreno 420-based AMD GPU
- COM MEMORY: 3 GB LPDDR3 (2 GB Games, 1 GB OS)
- 2 130 mm DVGA (960 x 640) Capacitive Touchscreen
- Slide Out Design with Custom Swivel Tilt Hinge
- Upper Screen made of Gorilla Glass, Comes with Magnetic Cover
- Low End Vibration for Gameplay and App Alerts
- 2 Motorized Circle Pads for Haptic Feedback
- Thumbprint Security Scanner with Pulse Sensing Feedback
- 2 1mp Stereoptic Cameras
- Multi-Array Microphone
- A, B, X, Y, D-Pad, L, R, 1, 2 Buttons
- 3 Axis Tuning Fork Gyroscope, 3 Axis Accelerometer, Magnetometer
- NFC Reader
- 3G Chip with GPS Location
- Bluetooth v4.0 BLE Command Node used to Interface with Bluetooth Devices such as Cell Phones, Tablets
- 16 Gigabytes of Internal Flash Storage (Possible Future Unit With 32 Gigabytes)
- Nintendo 3DS Cart Slot
- SDHC “Holographic Enhanced” Card Slot up to 128 Gigabyte Limit
- Mini USB I/O
- 3300 mAh Li-Ion battery
- GPGPU: Custom Radeon HD RX 200 GPU CODENAME LADY (2816 shaders @ 960 MHz, 4.60 TFLOP/s, Fillrates: 60.6 Gpixel/s, 170 Gtexel/s)
- CPU: IBM 64-Bit Custom POWER 8-Based IBM 8-Core Processor CODENAME JUMPMAN (2.2 GHz, Shared 6 MB L4 cache)
- Co-CPU: IBM PowerPC 750-based 1.24 GHz Tri-Core Co-Processor CODENAME HAMMER
- MEMORY: 4 Gigabytes of Unified DDR4 SDRAM CODENAMED KONG, 2 GB DDR3 RAM @ 1600 MHz (12.8 GB/s) On Die CODENAMED BARREL
- 802.11 b/g/n Wireless
- Bluetooth v4.0 BLE
- 2 USB 3.0
- 1 Coaxial Cable Input
- 1 CableCARD Slot
- 4 Custom Stream-Interface Nodes up to 4 Wii U GamePads
- Versions with Disk Drive play Wii U Optical Disk (4 Layers Maximum), FUSION Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) and Nintendo 3DS Card Slot
- 1 HDMI 2.0 1080p/4K Port
- Dolby TrueHD 5.1 or 7.1 Surround Sound
- Inductive Charging Surface for up to 4 FUSION DS or IC-Wii Remote Plus Controllers
- Two versions: Disk Slot Version with 60 Gigs of Internal Flash Storage and Diskless Version with 300 Gigs of Internal Flash Storage
The Fusion DS is also rumored to come with dual thumb pads, thus eliminating the need for the second circle pad extender peripheral we saw released for the 3DS. AKA, the Boat.
According to the leak the Wii U GamePad and the Wii mote, will both be supported by the Fusion Terminal. Apparently the console will also be capable of supporting four GamePads simultaneously.
So, are we looking at a hybrid console? The fact that the HVD format, which can store terabytes of data, may be supported is certainly a step in the right direction for Nintendo.
The Fusion DS will keep the two screens and will be backwards compatible with the current library of games. There is also a reported 3DS card slot on the fusion terminal itself, which would be huge if 3DS titles were able to be played on the big screen.
Again, all of this should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism, but these specs would suggest that Nintendo has some sort of contingency plan in place should the Wii U continue to falter.
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