It may seem like Project Cafè rumors have been materializing these past few days at a rate faster than you can read them. But fret not dear reader, we’ve got the roundup of all the latest scuttlebutt on the Nintendo Stream. That’s right, we just got the code name last week and already a possible new name for the system has emerged. IGN’s sources have let slip that Stream is just one title that The Big N is considering for their next platform. A platform that might be arriving sooner than the 2012 date we had originally reported.
Some “sources with knowledge of the project” said that the console is being manufactured by a Taiwanese outfit called Foxconn. The manufacturer will begin shipping units out during the middle of October, meaning that it could hit retailer shelves as early as the end of October or beginning of November. The source noted that Nintendo could end up waiting until a substantial stock of consoles builds up before eventually releasing the system in early 2012. This latter option would of course be highly unusual, as home consoles tend to launch during the coveted holiday season. There was no mention of whether this referred to the units shipping strictly to Nintendo’s home country of Japan, or other regions as well.
As far as pricing goes, Project Cafè is expected to go for between $350 – $400. However, it is possible that Nintendo will ultimately decide on a lower MSRP and sacrifice higher per-unit profits for a price that would hopefully net more sales. All of this is based on the system’s manufacturing costs, so it’s hardly final.
What are all those manufacturing bucks going towards, you ask? IGN is under the belief that Stream will contain an overhauled version of the AMD R700 GPU that will outpace the PS3’s NVIDIA 7800 GTX-based processor. As MTB stated in our initial report, the platform’s CPU will be a triple-core IBM PowerPC. This will be a customized version of the chip with faster clocking speeds than those in the similar processor that the 360 runs on. Nintendo will finally enter the HD era with the Cafè allowing for full 1080p resolution. The console will also have stereoscopic 3D functionality, but it is unclear as to whether or not this feature will be standard across all units.
The platform will be roughly the size of the original Xbox 360. From a design standpoint, the Wii’s successor is said to resemble a modernized Super Nintendo Entertainment System. If you grew up on the NES and SNES like I did, you’ve gotta be excited by that prospect.
We’ve also got a healthy dose of intel in regards to Cafè’s controller courtesy of Kotaku. The new controller is going to be jam-packed with functions. It will have a 6.2 inch touchscreen, eight buttons, two analogue sticks (thank god!) and a camera. Both sites believe that the controller will be capable of streaming information, possibly even entire games, from the console.
Kotaku notes that the thing will not necessarily be used for all games on the system. This isn’t terribly surprising given the plethora of control options for Wii games. What is a bit surprising though, is that some Cafè titles will use the Wii Remote, or even both simultaneously! The precise details of how this would function are hazy at best. One possible scenario is that two gamers could be controlling two separate portions of the same game; one would be using the new controller while a friend operates a Wiimote. One player would complete objectives on the Cafè controller’s screen and the other would carry out tasks on the TV. Keep in mind that this is conjecture based on rumor.
The touchscreen and its ability to receive information packets wirelessly from the console presents plenty of intriguing possiblities. A rear-view mirror during racing games, inventories and/or map info being displayed on the small screen, deflecting Ganon’s fireballs in a Zelda game, hiding play calls during Madden, scanning capabilities a la the 3DS and more are all potentials at this point. Kotaku does a nice job of comparing the setup to an enormous, overpowered DS. Your TV being the top screen and the controller being the bottom.
A console’s pre-announcement rumor and speculation days are always some of the most exciting times for gamers. Nintendo isn’t commenting on anything yet, which is common practice in regards to unofficial industry buzz. It’s possible that no one was supposed to let this information out yet. But it’s also feasible that Nintendo themselves oversaw or directly took part in these leaks in an attempt to generate plenty of excitement for their official unveiling. Whatever the case, you’re going to want to have your eyes glued to your PC when the company’s E3 conference goes down.
MTB will continue to bring you Project Cafè information as it becomes available in the days, weeks and months ahead.
[Images courtesy of Nintendo Wikia and Wii Projects.]