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Don’t believe the hype, as rapper Flava Flav once cautioned America. In this case, the “hype” I’m referring to is any rumor and/or leak about the next console coming from Nintendo. Everyone in the gaming press is aware of Nintendo’s current unprofitability, thanks to poor sales of the Wii U. But only the most pessimistic doomsayer would actually think the company is already calling it quits and moving on to another system--one that’s so far along, it already has defined specs.
NintendoNews.com claims to have received specs for the so-called Nintendo Fusion, and it appears as if the new system will replace both the Wii U and 3DS. The rumored console will reportedly allow for the portable and console aspects to work in tandem--presumably akin to how the GamePad currently interacts with the Wii U. The site seems confident about the tip, but the timing alone seems way too good to be true.
Just as some people are calling for Nintendo to give up on the Wii U, specs for another system coincidentally appear from an unnamed, inside source? Come on.
Now, I'm not saying that Nintendo isn’t working on its next systems, because every console maker spends years designing its next generation in secret. Sony, for example, began work on the PS4 within one year of the PS3’s launch, and Nintendo is no different, saying that the Wii U's design began in earnest in 2008. But it’s highly unlikely that the company would’ve even nailed down the system specs as exactly as that source reports.
The rumor doesn’t predict a release, but if the potential launch window for the Fusion is as soon as 2015, that’d be one of the stupidest, most illogical moves Nintendo could make right now. Nintendo has its stumbles, but hastily replacing the Wii U with the Fusion would burn its entire fanbase when Nintendo needs them more than even. Wouldn't Nintendo first experiment with a huge price cut, or a major overhaul to the hardware before deciding to outright abandon it?
Even worse, the Fusion concept is a combo system, so it would conceivably replace the 3DS too, a handheld that’s still making millions in profits. Should Nintendo want to do something as extreme as euthanizing the Wii U this year, why do it at the expense of its successful system. After all of Nintendo’s hard work to please early 3DS owners after a quick price cut in 2011, the company won’t crap all over that goodwill so soon.
Why would any consumer ever buy a Nintendo product again if they can’t trust the company to support a console for even a few years? Especially if that move would negatively impact its handhelds? Sega was in worse shape when it replaced the Saturn with the Dreamcast, but even that troubled company put four years between systems.
The 3DS thrives as the Wii U faces consumer apathy, so there’s the potential that Nintendo would simply combine the two divisions it the hopes of restarting home system sales. Yet the very believability of that scenario is exactly why I don’t trust the concept of the Fusion: It too accurately reflects conventional wisdom. Nintendo has a habit of designing hardware you couldn’t predict. Few would've thought stereoscopic 3D or an included tablet would be chosen, but a combined system (leaked the same week as poor Wii U sales) is conceivable enough for someone to fabricate.
Whatever Nintendo has planned to reverse its current situation, the odds favor a gradual, years-long push towards its next console--just like every Nintendo console before it. The company has always been a conservative organization, so who wouldn’t be skeptical at Nintendo potentially ditching the Wii U and 3DS after one crappy holiday season? Nintendo would sooner pull out of the console business altogether before burning its customers with such a hasty move. This Fusion is just a figment.