After much rumor, speculation, and discussion, there’s finally a clear answer in the is-it-or-isn’t-it saga of Nintendo’s new console being unveiled this year. Short answer: Nintendo says yes. Even with this announcement there are still very few absolutes known about the new console. As it stands right now we know three things for sure: we’ll get our first real look at the system at E3 in June when Nintendo shows off a playable version of the console, that the new system will finally bring Nintendo into the HD era, and that their new controller sure is fancy with its 6.2″ touchscreen (see ‘speculation’ above for more on those last two).
Outside of those three things everything seems very up in the air about the new console, with size, specific specs – and whether or not any of those blasted pictures floating around on the internet are real – being debated. Even the name is something of a mystery, with Project Cafe being the general reference to the new console but almost certainly not the final branding, and Stream being one of the possible names of the system. I wouldn’t count on that much though. If you’re like me you can recall how long the Wii was codenamed the Nintendo Revolution before we had that particular rug pulled from under us (that still would have been the coolest name for a system ever).
There’s another story lurking beneath the bright lights and headlines that we’ve seen the past week over the new console however, and that’s the story of how things are cooling off for Nintendo right now in current profits. They just released their financial statement for the past fiscal year and there’s some troubling numbers. Nintendo isn’t in any danger of closing up shop or anything, but any time your net profit plummets 66% in a fiscal year the shareholders start to get a bit antsy. Despite the severe loss in profits some of this was to be expected, namely the slowing down in sales of the DS (down to 17.5 million from 27.1 million) because of the launch of the 3DS. The 3DS itself has already sold 3.61 million units, just shy of the 4 million projected by Nintendo previously.
The Wii has also been huge for years now, and seeing them drop 5 million units in sales (down from 20.1) is really just age starting to catch up with the system as well as maybe America finally getting over motion gaming… a little bit. It’s basically the perfect time for Nintendo to be forthcoming and start the hype for their new console; especially since we probably won’t see a new console from Microsoft or Sony until about 2014. It was a steeper decline in profits than Nintendo was probably expecting, but probably one they’ll bounce back from depending on how the well the 3DS does going forward, as well as how soon we see the new system on shelves. Ultimately, when you consider that their numbers are going from 2.7 billion to a paltry 944 million dollars, all it really amounts to is that Mario is swimming in a slightly smaller pile of money. Let the ‘it prints money’ memes continue. At least for now.