Project Cafe Rumor Watch: Yay for HD, Nay for HDD?

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May will obviously be filled with rumors, leaks, and predictions about the upcoming E3, mostly focusing on Nintendo’s new console. The madness begins with a leak exclusively via Kotaku as usual. Gotta love these guys.

We all know that the console will output HD graphics and be more powerful than its competitors, but the kicker lies in its obvious repercussions; disc format. Kotaku says that it will hold up to 25GB of storage, comparable to the standard single-layer blu-ray discs…yet what’s interesting is that they neglected to mention the type of disc they’ll be using. Is it based on existing formats, i.e. DVD and blu-ray? Or will it be custom-made from the ground-up like the GameCube’s Panasonic mini-DVDs? I’d like say that it will be blu-ray (a wise choice from the big N) but my gut says otherwise. Looking at their usual trend, Nintendo has always used custom formats with the exception of the Wii. On the plus side, picking a custom format will completely eliminate piracy from the equation. On the negative side, it’s another hurdle for developers to jump over. Custom formats will most likely be associated with additional fees and special mass production costs. I really don’t know how this will play in the long run, but keep in mind that one of the biggest reasons the Wii has succeeded as a console is its use of standard DVDs, making them so easy to pirate. Ironically, DVDs have also been their downfall in some ways as Wii software sales (especially third-party games) are usually down in the toilet. Not so much for the PS3 since blu-ray is still a new format and not many people are willing to download 10-25 GB of data just to play a game. The hack-ability of the hardware itself also comes to play of course, but the type of format used definitely give a leeway for easy pirating.

Another interesting leak off Kotaku is the console’s internal storage capacity, which absolutely baffles me. 8 GB of internal memory? Really, Nintendo? Either you’re really gutsy or just plain stupid. While this helps lower the price of the console, it won’t help gamers who own too many games or are download-happy. If this leak is true, then we’re positively sure that Nintendo as usual are not hopping the train wagon of their competitors by keeping their console as a gaming device first, everything else second. In other words, don’t expect a media hub. Don’t expect to download movies (but stream them). Don’t expect to download fully functional Wii and GameCube games. Now that’s all fine and dandy for some people, but I’m worried about game patches, DLC, saves, and downloadable games off their Ware store. Is 8 GB truly enough for all these in the long run? I know that they’ll still keep going with the SD card input for convenience, but don’t you think it’s time to give consumers more choices? What’s wrong with multiple SKUs, Nintendo? Give me the choice to pay an extra 50$ or 100$ for an internal/external HDD of some sort. That way, I know I’m safe for the next 5 years. They did get a lot of flak with the Wii’s limited storage, although to be honest I didn’t feel that I needed more than a 1 GB SD card to compliment my internal storage, and for good reason…no game patches, DLC, and updates. This same strategy won’t fly with Project Cafe.

What does everybody think of our latest rumors? Sound off in the comments as usual!

Source: Kotaku

11 thoughts on “Project Cafe Rumor Watch: Yay for HD, Nay for HDD?”

  1. Ok so let’s get this out of the way right now remember all the wild and crazy rumors that surrounded the Wii’s launch, well I expect much the same here. That being said, these rumors seem far more realistic.

    If Nintendo opts for a 25B disc, than it will have to be a single layered Blu-ray. It wouldn’t be logical to go with a proprietary Toshiba HD DVD format. The technology is extremely dated and wouldn’t be mass produceable again. So I think this is pretty obvious. The true question is will the system offer video playback. To that, I say no it won’t. If it can only play 25GB discs, they’ll say they wanted to save customers money, etc. This also limits the need for firmware updates for the movies, etc. They won’t bother, mark my words.

    Now for the 8GB of flash memory. Wow that better not be true unless Nintendo allows some sort of alternative outside of SD cards. That’s no longer a viable option anymore. I’ve got 500GB in my PS3 with a TB update coming soon. Next gen that will increase to 5TB knowing me. So an SD card going up to 25GB is completely useless. Certain download games go up to 1.5GB per game, imagine 8GB of internal flash.

    Once again, these are all just rumors, but I do hope Nintendo goes all out here otherwise we’re going to get an extremely cheap system, but powerful.

  2. Yeah, man. I’m pretty much convinced that as usual Nintendo’s going for a gaming-only approach, which I don’t mind at all to be honest. I mean why even bother competing with the PS3 in terms of blu-ray movies and such? As for the disc format, I think it will actually be cheaper for them to go with blu-ray in the long run since it’s mass produceable as you suggested. I wasn’t saying HD-DVD, but an all-new custom format that’s exclusive to Nintendo ala GameCube. Not practical, but a good option to get pirates off their backs.

    Regarding the internal storage, again I say, what’s wrong with multiple SKUs? The Xbox 360 has a budget/casual SKU with 4 GBs of USB storage only. Nintendo can easily do the same and avoid complaints. It doesn’t even need to be an internal HDD if they want to cut down on the base price. At least offer an external HDD or SSD that’s sold separately or bundled together with a premium SKU.

  3. The only reason I said HD DVD Ahmed was because you mentioned a proprietary DVD-based format. So I figured why not base it only a format that actually achieves 25GB. I really see them basing this on Blu-ray, and making it a single layered disc, but likely proprietary in the sense that it won’t be your standard BD-25s. I’ll mention it again, I doubt very much Nintendo will offer video playback because they can say “we’re saving our customers money by not throwing in functions they don’t want.” We’re both on the same page with our thinking ;)

    I’m with you that a multiple SKU platform is the best option. If they really push only one platform that’s going to end up biting them in the butt. We’ve all seen just how large downloadable content can get. Now if they limit the system’s multimedia functions that will save them a ton of storage, but it’ll also make them less feature-filled than the competition.

    Everything is going to depend on where Nintendo wants to take this platform. Are they trying to get the hardcore back with gaming alone? Do they want to retain the casual market? Do they want the audiovideo junkies? That will determine exactly how Nintendo markets this platform and whether or not they even need all these extra features.

  4. Yeah…maybe they’re just going to try and get the best of both worlds.

    What do you think on the rumor that Project Cafe games will be capped at 1080i? It’s really weird if you ask me. At first, I was all negative about it. But then I realized that 90% of our next-gen games run at 720p or sub-HD resolutions. Only once in a blue-moon is when the PS3 gets a full 1080p game. Although it would be wise if Nintendo implements full 1080p in just in case someone wants to use it.

  5. Those specs sound dated for THIS gen… Better not be true! I can’t pick only one! Haha

  6. I guess I’ll just run these down the line. For now, I’m taking this with a grain of salt, because Nintendo hasn’t officially said anything outside of just telling us the system is coming. I don’t intend to get too worked up until E3 rolls around and we can get the big picture. But I can understand framing the rumors in context and setting up realistic expectations.

    First of all, the “return” of motion control wouldn’t bother me. It doesn’t bother me in the Wii, nor does it bother me with other consoles that implement it. The reason being is that traditional control methods are still available. With the Wii, you can still use a Classic Controller or buttons. It is up to the developer to implement those controls. I don’t see the point in disparaging motion control, because you can obviously have both. And saying that motion control “was a flop” is an egregiously incorrect statement. The proof is in how well the Wii sold this generation. Gamers can say what they will about the game library or how they view the system, the fact remains it was very lucrative for Nintendo. And besides, some games DID utilize motion control for a positive benefit.

    The potentially expensive controller doesn’t really irk me much either. You obviously expect that your system will come packaged with one controller, that’s just the way it goes. Because Nintendo tends to focus on more cost-effective technology, I doubt we’ll see anything too extreme. Besides, if Nintendo does want to focus more on connectivity and online play, chances are you will be playing with other people over the Internet—not at your home. In previous generations, I purchased multiple controllers for consoles (like the N64) so I could play multiplayer, but with new systems (like the PS3), I haven’t felt the need. You know I love to play offline multiplayer, but I feel that the shift has already taken place…wireless 360, PS3, and Wii controllers are already pretty pricey. An even more expensive controller would just feel like the next step in a continuing pattern.

    The technology for the system will probably be dated. That’s classic Nintendo. It also works well for them. I have no doubt that the system will outstrip both the 360 and PS3 in horsepower, simply because they are about half a decade old and the technology is far less expensive and far more accessible. Making an HD console is more viable for Nintendo. HDTVs have much more of a presence to the common person, not just the technophile. Nintendo is ready to shift to HD because they feel it is time to do so.

    The 8GB of internal memory would be awkward, and while I can understand the rumor, I don’t think it’ll be the case. Nintendo can make weird decisions, but this would potentially ruin the system. Besides, Nintendo is all about making something compact and cost-effective, and storage space is not that expensive. Look at the current HD consoles–you can get a 250 or 300GB PS3 for a reasonable price in today’s market.

    I don’t think it will be a media hub in the sense that the other systems are, but that doesn’t bother me too much. I can bet it will offer Netflix support at least–I wouldn’t see why not, after all, the Wii supports it and even the 3DS will have it.

    I agree with Jarrod 100% on the disc format. Nintendo will always go with what fits their strategy.

  7. Good for you for taking the rumors lightly, Tim. For me, I just can’t do the same because for the past few years every single thing that has been leak off the net more or less turns out to lean towards the truth, specifically the NGP leak from a few months back. It’s in my blood to speculate about these things.

    Looking back at Jarrod’s comment about the disc format, I think I understand it more now. Basically, Nintendo can use blu-ray but customize it to their liking so that it’s not your typical format.

    I’m in agreement with your rundown, Tim. I’m not bothered by the fact Nintendo is keeping their next console gaming-centric, but it’s the details such as controller price and internal storage which worry me. I’ve always been a multiplayer gamer, specifically offline MP. I don’t think that offline 4-player multiplayer is something which died. I mean look at Mortal Kombat….4 players simultaneous. Portal 2, splitscreen couch multiplayer. There’s still a certain charm to playing people offline, and of course we don’t need to groan from drop-outs, lag, and other connection issues when playing offline MP. Seems that Nintendo thinks similarly as well, because the screen on the controller may have a huge offline multiplayer element (echoing the days of GBA-GCN connectivity). If they make the controllers expensive, then it may impact things for gamers like me. I know it won’t be cheap, but I don’t want to see overpriced controllers either.

  8. Guys I really think we all agree with one another here. We’re all ok with Nintendo going gaming-centric because we have other consoles and devices to meet our other needs. The plus side is that we’ll get a cheaper console as a result…or at least we all hope so.

    The only thing that has me scratching my head is that 8GB of internal storage. Could Nintendo offer cloud storage for certain things like DLC? The catch of course is that we need this accessible from the console so I’m really not sure what the work around would be. I know that SD cards simply wouldn’t be an alternative solution in this day and age. Access to an external HDD could allow piracy so again, would Nintendo chance that? Then there’s the multiple SKUs which seems the most realistic based on what we currently know…or think we know at least.

    As for motion, I don’t see why Nintendo would do a 180. In fact that wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever. The Wii has been Nintendo’s most successful console since the NES and there’s no way they’re going to go back to the old days. If they can keep the casual audience they found with the Wii and expand upon it with the hardcore crowd then that’s exactly where Nintendo will want to be.

    Overall I think we’re going to have to sit back and see what happens at E3, but thus far this system appears to be heading exactly where Nintendo wants it. A gaming-centric console with hardware limitations and a nifty new feature to attract new players. So long as they have the software to back everything up, they should be just fine.

  9. Oh I’m not trying to downplay speculation. I admire your ability to examine the rumors, and I’ve been really impressed with some of the ideas you’ve come away with. Those in itself can be interesting to read. Gaming always has so many possibilities.

    While I do agree some games still retain offline multiplayer (which is awesome, because I will forever love it), I think a lot of game designers are shifting away from it–either because they want gamers to each buy a copy rather than share it or what have you. The common reason they claim is because it drains on resources and thus reduces visual fidelity, but I’d rather take the hit in graphics and have more fun multiplayer options. I do agree though, the controller has a lot of possibilities for multiplayer.

    What do you think the controller may cost, and what do you think would be reasonable? Current generation wireless controllers go for about $40 or $50 at retail, and I can bet the Project Cafe controllers may be more than that. The question is just how much more. It depends on the screen. I mean, if Nintendo can manufacture a 3DS at about $100 total, I have to wonder how cost-effective the controller can be.

  10. I do find it a little odd how practically the whole industry was demanding some kind of HDD solution for the Wii a few years ago, but we never heard boo about that. Yes the SD card slot was opened, but that wasn’t the greatest solution. I do understand piracy concerns, but 8GB is just downright pathetic. My phone has more than 4x that amount of storage :P I wouldn’t understand the logic of this if it turns out true, especially because hard drives are not expensive anymore. Plus, have we seen software sales suffer for the 360 or PS3 due to known piracy activity? Hardly, and yet you can install your very own HDD on Sony’s box. MS’s is obviously proprietary, and Nintendo could [and should] easily follow that route if they’re THAT paranoid.

    I’m however more concerned about the controller. If they’re more than $50, which is already pretty ridiculous IMO, then that will discourage a ton of people from investing in this supposed new direction of multiplayer gaming. Nintendo should be more than ware that the world’s economy is in the crapper, especially the U.S.’s…so, what in the world? I suppose if the controller is far more capable than is being let on right now, it could potentially be justified…but then again, it’s the stinkin’ CONTROLLER. It almost sounds as if Nintendo is trying to sell two gaming platforms if it’s $60 or more.

    Oh well, I’m not going to get worked up yet. Like Tim, I’m waiting for E3. There may be water to these supposed revelations, but assuming that they’re simply correct is setting yourself up too much. So, let the next month go by, and then we’ll all have something real to talk about ^_^

  11. hi there wait a minute i have not used up my comadores 64 kb of storage soo 8 gb is a million times too much storage

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