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Step one: Come up with brilliant, powered-up, innovative new successor to your last-gen console.
Step two: Make it look exactly the same, give it almost the same name, and present it to the world in a way which doesn't clearly point out that it's not actually the same thing.
Step three: ?????????
Step four: Monstrous lack of profit!
That was the Nintendo method for launching the 3DS, and until today it's been looking dangerously close to being the method it would use to sink the Wii U. Fortunately, that may no longer be the case, because if current reports are to be believed, Nintendo is looking into dropping the Wii name and completely rebranding the machine as something different for its E3 2012 re-reveal.
Is this likely? Yes it is. While Nintendo still makes great clunking errors, President Satoru Iwata is a lot quicker to learn from and fix them than his predecessor, Hiroshi "I'm so stubborn in the face of progress that it's going to nearly kill my company" Yamauchi. He's already admitted that the 3DS' borked launch - largely due to a dearth of games, unfinished online services and unclear marketing - was a bitter lesson, and a mistake that cannot be repeated. And we're already seeing a new, very deliberate "This is not DS, this is Nintendo 3DS" tagline rolled out by way of damage control.
Releasing a new console to an audience it has largely filled with the gaming-clueless over the last few years, without distancing said new console from the machine said audience already own and have long become bored of, would be the opposite of learning from that mistake. Ditto not making it clear to the core gamer that this new machine is a powerful core console. If indeed it is. But I suspect it will be.
So I reckon we're looking at a whole new Nintendo console reveal at E3 2012. Sort of. I reckon a new name, a new brand 'personality', and a primary focus not on the controller, but on the raw power and games. Yes, Nintendo will still show off the pioneering display-streaming controller in multiple fun and crazy permutations, but this will be a Nintendo console reveal as much in the '90s/'00s vein as that of the dread days of the Wii. Nintendo knows that the casual gaming honeymoon is over, and that it needs to provide as much for its core-gamer bread and butter as it does for the Wii Fit brigade.
The new name? At the very least, the word Nintendo needs to come back, used as the proud badge of gaming royalty it used to be before Ninty got embarrassed about being a games company and let the Wii name take centre stage. As for the format? The campaign for a third NES variant starts here.
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