Sunday, June 03, 2012

DrDark's Pre-E3 Mutterings (Part 1)

[Update] Yes, I know I never wrote a (Part 2) :P. As anyone knows by now, I'm terrible at keeping up with this writing malarky. Also, E3 got hectic, then the conferences were meh, and I didn't feel like writing anything. Anyway, I may do a quick sum-up of the Wii U's status soon, so watch this space.

So I've left it a bit late for E3 "predictions" as usual. Anyway, here are some random jumbled thoughts that may be added to later:

1) Nintendo Network:
I'm sat here waiting for the special pre-E3 Nintendo Direct presentation by Iwata-san. I'm expecting the main purpose of it will be to reveal more functionality of the Nintendo Network and how it'll be utilised across 3DS, Wii U, and possibly even the Wii. Gathering snippets of info over the last few months from various sources, I think it's a safe bet that the Wii U's digital features will include: an online account system with friends list (possibly a multiple-user account system, which would mean system friend codes -a la 3DS- no longer apply); downloadable NGC, VC, WiiWare, eShop originals and even full console titles; demos & trailers; ability to purchase and schedule download via a web interface and/or mobile apps.

2) 3DS remodel:
I do NOT believe we will see a new 3DS model this year. I've discussed it with several people beforehand so here are my compiled thoughts on the matter -cut & pasted due to laziness-
Most of Nintendo's resources are currently geared towards developing 3DS and WII U titles.
The current 3DS model sells at a loss and Nintendo don't like selling hardware at a loss. It'll start making money again in a few months.
The design is meant to be pocketable (to a degree). A second analogue stick in a comfortable configuration within the same form factor isn't feasible.

People comparing to the DS need to keep the following in mind:
- The first DS was an experimental platform, the hardware was very "prototype"-like. That's what prompted the swift redesign and DS Lite release. The DSi was again an experimental platform but in refined hardware, in order to experiment with more digital features, like the camera and digital software. DSi XL was simply them sewing up the market as they saw an opportunity with many requests for a larger screen.
- So, comparing this to 3DS >> Hardware was designed correctly the first time, and all components are very tightly packed[as stated in Iwata's interviews with staff]. All features were locked down, and software built to be easily expandable [Now with friend lists, digital software, full SD card support, better memory management, background game downloads, game patches, etc.]

3) Renaming/redesigning the Wii U:
A change of name is not gonna happen; it's been too long, and it's already stuck. It also "makes sense" in that it fits in with their line-up. Wii Remote Pluses and Balance Boards will work with it, so it's an extension/evolution of the Wii. Also DS-->DSi , Wii-->Wii U - corny, but it fits. The base unit's design however, will definitely change. It wasn't a proper shape in the first place, and it was so unassuming that even I wasn't sure if it was a new console for a couple of minutes. At one point I thought they might go mad with some kind of cylindrical design, but that's not very practical, so probably not...

Well, that's all for now. I'm off to watch Nintendo Direct. I'll either add to this post or write another tomorrow with game predictions + the craziest, most unlikely ideas that I can pull out of my brain. So this is definitely TBC...