Nintendo’s E3 Plans (Goodbye, Wii) Are Shadowy But Very, Very Big

Nintendo 3DS ConceptThere’s a lot of buzz going on about Nintendo’s intentions at E3 next week. It seems sure the company’s going to unveil the Wii’s successor during its press conference Monday, but exactly what it’s going to be, how it will work or what it’s going to include? No one’s sure.

Not that people aren’t stringing rumors together to see what they can come up with. I imagine the bars in Los Angeles will be busy Sunday night with a lot of people comparing notes. Meantime, Ross Miller at This is My Next thing has this to say:

This one is a given. Nintendo themselves announced in late April that a successor to the Wii will be further detailed and even playable at E3 this year (which, yes, translates to new game announcements). It will launch sometime in 2012 and that’s literally all we know. Filling in the pieces is an overzealous rumor mill burning the midnight oil. Here’s what the whispers have produced: both IGN and 01.net — the latter being known to have nailed the Sony NGP announcement — report that the system will have a three-core IBM PowerPC processor, ATI R700 GPU, at least 512MB of RAM, and is currently codenamed “Project Cafe.”

Another intriguing item comes from Kotaku. There, Luke Plunkett writes that the console will include a camera by OmniVision, the same people who make cameras for the iPhone. In a conference call last week, the company said it had made a “significant design win” for a gaming console due to be launched later this year. Hm.

Not that Nintendo or its followers are ignoring products that have already been announced. The company will try to to generate some hype around the 3DS 3-D handheld it unveiled last month. It needs to, since there’s a dearth of games built for the device, and no real online service.

Still, it’s Project Café that’s going to be the big news for Nintendo — and possibly for all of E3. It brings the company back into the world of heavy-duty gaming and shows its determination to reclaim the core gaming audience that’s been drifting away.

Nintendo’s press conference is Monday. Tuesday could be such an anticlimax.

Photo: IGN via GameSpy

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