Blog: What is “Project Café’”?

By on April 26, 2011

Speculation onto what Nintendo’s new console is looking to accomplish.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

Within the past week there has been a sudden inflow of information as leaks and rumors have been circulating about Nintendo’s next console codenamed “Project Café”.  Yesterday, Nintendo confirmed the rumors, saying it would showcase a ‘playable for everyone’ model of the new console at E3 in June. The interesting thing about Project Café is how it seems to be following a totally different strategy plan than what the Wii followed. The Wii focused on bringing something completely new to the market as well as vastly expanding the consumer base of Nintendo to cover a much wider age group and more market segments. Project Café however is looking to be a console that is targeting the “hardcore” in a move that resembles what the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube did when they were released.

The Nintendo Wii was one of the main players behind the rapid growth of the industry in the past couple of years.

Project Café is rumored to have hardware that is much more powerful than what the PS3 and 360 are currently offering. This in itself doesn’t seem surprising as both the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube were much more graphically superior to their counter parts in their own eras. It is also reported that Nintendo is thinking of using Blu-ray as the retail medium of choice which signals that the games on the system are expected to be graphically extensive and hence are much larger in size than what is on the Wii.

The most interesting detail about this new console however is the controller. The reports say the controller has 2 analog sticks and the traditional Nintendo buttons BUT it also has a 6 inch HD LCD screen in the middle. This controller seems to be the key selling point that Nintendo has been prepping up for Project Café. There are a vast number of possibilities that this controller can provide going from how it can be used to complement what is being displayed on the TV all the way to streaming full games directly onto the controller’s screen. The main problem that pops up about this thing is the cost of it. The system itself in accordance to its rumored hardware capabilities can’t cost anything below 300 USD. Adding to that the cost of each one of those controllers will be pretty expensive and is speculated to be not less than 80USD. This on its own is a large change in Nintendo’s current strategy. Their current Wii market base has a large chunk of it that is not used to buying such high priced systems. Sure diehard Nintendo fans will definitely purchase one but with this new approach Nintendo will have a much harder job convincing its already established consumer base to move on to their new product.

Concept art (Curtsey of IGN) shows what the controller might look like.

In essence it seems that Nintendo is taking the PS3 and 360 head on with a somewhat tweaked traditional gaming experience. Although there are plenty of obstacles that is facing this new approach Nintendo is taking, Nintendo has shown time and time in the past that they are wizards at capturing customers. The software and the price are key things that can make or break any device. If Nintendo nails this, then it may even attract those hardcore Sony and Microsoft fans and turn them into Nintendo maniacs.


A young zergling from Bahrain dreaming of one day magically morphing into an ultralisk. 20 years old, 2nd year of university, and a lover of all types of games specially RPGs and RTSs.

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