The gaming rumour mill went into overdrive last night after sources claiming to be Nintendo insiders revealed that the Japanese gaming giants were planning to launch a brand-new home games console at the E3 games expo this summer.
In terms of Nintendo's 5 year console cycle (with a new home machine launched every 5 years since the very first 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System), they're certainly soon due a new hardware launch aimed at the living room. It has, after all, been almost 5 years since the December 8, 2006 UK launch of the Wii.
The Wii went on to be one of the most successful games consoles of all time, with well over 84 million units sold. So how can Nintendo better the top-draw offerings they've already previously given us? Here then are 10 things Tech Digest most want to see from the next Nintendo home console.
1) HD graphics
This one was the first spec that the rumours touted when it came to the new Nintendo console, so hopefully we can check this one off the list straight away. The Nintendo Wii is really showing its age graphically, but with the new console apparently far more powerful than the PS3, we may be able to count every single hair in Mario's moustache during his next-gen outing.
2) A better balance between motion and traditional control schemes
The Wii was a revolution in terms of videogame controls, bringing motion to the table and paving the way for the likes of the Xbox 360 Kinect and PS3 Move. However too many developers picked up on the gimmicky part of motion control, turning games into broken waggle-fests. This time we'd like to see a controller that, while certainly keeping motion capabilities, also caters better for game genres that favour a more traditional control scheme. The rumours of a HD touchscreen built into the controllers themselves is a welcome one too; the more HUD and menu data we can transfer from the main screen to a secondary one the better.
3) More hardcore games, less party games
For every Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess or Monster Hunter Tri, there were about 20 Let's Dance clones or minigame compilations, destined for the bargain bin. The Wii was also home to far too many casual and kiddy games, leading to the alienation of what has now become termed as the "hardcore" gamer. A little more originality from developers and a few more adult-orientated titles would go a long way towards clawing back the gamers who've left the Nintendo fold in favour of more mature Xbox 360 or PS3 titles.
4) Stronger third-party support
Tied closely to the last point, Nintendo must nail 3rd party support for the console from the off. While there are a few notable classic third party titles on the Wii (Monster Hunter Tri from Capcom and The Conduit from High Voltage software spring to mind), the majority of Wii games worth buying came in-house from Nintendo. Sure, they're a tough act to follow, but there are plenty of ace developers that have not been very supportive of Nintendo over the past few years. It'd be great to see more from the likes of Bioware and Bethesda on the Wii 2.
5) Improved use of expensive peripherals
If we're going to have to shell out the best part of £100 for a Balance Board, lets try to make it so that more than just a single fitness game is worth using it with. The same goes for the far-too-expensive Wii Speak kit. Neither represent good value for money to me. And lets not rip off gullible consumers who think they need a useless piece of plastic in the shape of a tennis racket to get the most out of a tennis game. They add NOTHING to gameplay, and are in most cases of £PoundStore quality.
6) Backwards compatibility
Lets not make those Wii game libraries obsolete, and, if possible, keep Gamecube compatibility too! I still love a quick game of Star Wars: Rouge Leader!
7) An improved online offering
Friend codes? No, no way; if there's one system sure to make me give up on multiplayer on a console altogether its the need for a unique number to hand out to all my pals just to get a game of GoldenEye going. That sucks. Let's have a profile system similar to that of Xbox Live, and while we're at it, a games store that's just as robust. There are lots of good games available to download to the Wii console, but it's a chore to navigate its store, and no way should you have to pay £10 for a 20 year-old game.
8) Mario, Mario Kart and Zelda at launch, as well as enough consoles to satisfy demand
A handful of great launch titles is a must, and if Nintendo really want to wow, they should have at least one of their big franchises ready alongside the console, as that was a big bugbear of the recent 3DS launch. Let's get a Mario, Mario Kart or Zelda title out of the door on day one. And while we're at it, lets make sure there's enough consoles to go round on launch day too. No-one wants to have to tell little Timmy he can't have a Wii 2 for his birthday because GAME ran out of consoles.
9) 3DS connectivity
We've bought a 3DS, so lets have some cross-platform loving here. StreetPass for instance, is the perfect way to train a Pokemon on the go by having it bob along in your pocket, or perhaps adding some 3D depth puzzles to games where a bigscreen 3D TV isn't available.
10) ...but no to a 3D home console!
The last thing we need is Nintendo to add 3D visuals to a home console as they have with their handheld 3DS. It works there as it is all self contained within one unit; glasses-free 3D screen and all. But bringing it in a big way into living rooms would mean shelling out for expensive new TVs for the majority of people. The original Wii was a roaring success thanks to its relative simplicity, but 3D, with its multiple active/passive formats, remains a grey area that still confuses many people, not to mention being far too expensive for many budgets.
And one bonus point for good measure...think of a better name than the Wii!
Seriously, it's the dumbest name for a console ever!
Got anything you'd like to add to our list? Leave your thoughts, wishes, and most wanted features in the comments section below!