Nintendo will unveil their new game console, codenamed Project Cafe, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) next week. Serious rumors that the key feature of Nintendo’s new device will again be a revolutionary controller have been circulating for the last six months or so.
Speculation says that the new controller will feature a large touchscreen embedded in a more traditional game controller. Most believe the screen will be single-touch, but feature a high-resolution display. More wild rumors claim that the console will then stream games directly to the controller so you can play anywhere in your house or that the controller itself will be a portable game device.
I see a real opportunity for Nintendo should the new console feature a touch-screen controller. Between your large TV screen and the touch-screen in your hand, using Project Cafe will be a lot like using a DS. One of the first opportunities for Nintendo will be selling DS games through the updated Virtual Console. This is an easy place for Nintendo to continue to provide access to (and make money from) a library of older software titles.
More importantly, though, is that Project Cafe could unify Nintendo’s game platform. For an entire console generation, Nintendo portable games and Nintendo console games would be the same format: dual-screen and touch-enabled.
A unified game platform is something neither Sony nor Microsoft can benefit from. This could be the real win-factor for Nintendo in the next console cycle.
Interested in Project Cafe? The Wikipedia entry has a lot of information. The Nintendo E3 press conference is June 7th at 9:00 am PT. You can catch a live stream and blog of the event from 1up and GameSpot.