Project Cafe ControllersLate last week an image leaked on to the Internet that was reportedly a design image of the controllers for the next Nintendo console, currently codenamed “Project Cafe“.  While no one was quite sure if it was legitimate as Nintendo has denied that its next console was coming any time soon for so long, the surfacing of additional information now makes it seem a little bit more real that a new console is indeed in the works.

Ever since the release of the Nintendo Wii, people have figured the next console would just be along the lines of a Wii 2.  As we saw from the supposedly leaked pictures last week, it looked like Nintendo was returning to a more traditional controller design, ditching the Wiimote that had become so well known.  What was shown appeared to be somewhat similar to a GameCube controller with some form of screen in the middle that would be fed game information from the console.  A radical idea to be sure, and which also made the design a bit suspicious.

IGN has now come up with additional information that lends a lot more credence to this earlier set of photos and makes it seem like the new console will be arriving as early as this fall.  According to their sources, the new console will ship from Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn as early as this Oct., putting it on store shelves just in time for the all important holiday shopping season.  There is some speculation Nintendo could also sit on the system for a little while to build up supply, but this definitely sounds like an effort to make it the hot ticket item for the 2011 holidays.

The console will reportedly be around the same size as the first version of the Xbox 360 which definitely matches up with the top image you see to your right.  Also, the console will reportedly sell for between $350 to $400 which is certainly in line with the initial release of a new console.  It will reportedly be running on an AMD R700 GPU architecture which will give it better graphics than anything currently out there while pushing 1080p HD and be capable of stereoscopic 3D, though no one has confirmed if that will be an included feature.

As the original leaked image seemed to indicate, the system will be able to stream content to individual controllers, and some even speculate that the power of the system would allow it to play different games on multiple controllers, eliminating the common household argument of who really was next in line to play.

Lastly, there is a rumor that one of the potential finalized names of the system is Nintendo Stream, which matches up with the middle image that says something about “Screen Stream”.  Stream sounds more like the name of a feature than a name for the overall console, but it definitely looks like Wii 2 would be out for certain as the entire concept of this console is different.

Wii Remote ControllerAnd that leads to an interesting thought if maybe this and Wii 2 are not the same project.  If this console proves to be real, why would Nintendo be abandoning the casual gaming aspects of the Wii that led it to be such a monster hit?  Yes, the Wii alienated hardcore gamers, but it brought in a seemingly far more lucrative demographic of the casual gamer.  What if Nintendo was to release a console that was targeted at hardcore gamers while telling the world at large not to worry, and that a Wii 2 was on the way?  Running two concurrent gaming consoles at once would be an insanely bold move, or it might be complete genius.  Project Cafe just seems so different from the company’s last success that it almost seems impossible this is the follow-up Nintendo has planned.

The problems with the idea of two systems in the market at the same time from one company are numerous.  The largest issue, and definitely the most important, is that it would stretch developer resources even further than they currently are.  Even if a studio is Nintendo-specific, having two systems to work on just wouldn’t be feasible for some companies, and that would lead to one system being neglected over the other.  Unless Nintendo is seeing this as a potential method to steal developers away that have kept their distance from the Wii due to its casual nature.

Again, the idea that Nintendo is planning two consoles at once is strictly speculation at this point, and not based on any rumors, facts or scuttlebutt that has been passed around.  It comes solely from the speculation of this writer that it seems odd that Nintendo would go back to the drawing board and come up with something that completely deviated from its massively successful last console outing.  To me it just makes no sense that Nintendo would seemingly abandon motion controls in the time of the Kinect and Sony Move having such success, and that is why it seems like there is just no way this is the only thing Nintendo has up its sleeve to follow the Wii.

It is definitely looking like something, although we don’t know what yet, will be introduced at this year’s E3.  And no matter what it is, it’s sure to be exciting.

What do you think?  Is Project Cafe possibly not the only follow-up to the Wii Nintendo has planned?

[via IGN]