First of all, I would like to wish you all a happy new year. As far as videogames are concerned, 2006 will be one of the most exciting years in a long time. I hope that this year will be equally exciting for you.
This is the final part in this trilogy and I would like to point out that this is, of course, speculation. Things could turn out very differently. However, this is what I sincerely believe to be the most likely scenario.
As to the Revolution´s last secret, there are, of course, numerous possibilities. Anything could happen. Maybe the entire back catalogue can be somehow scaled up to greatly improve the resolution. Maybe the Revolution will be able to implement pre-rendered style graphics into real-time sequences. Maybe it will just have graphics way better than the system specs would suggest. Maybe there will be full stereoscopic 3D projection (via an additional screen). Maybe there will be a visor that will turn your arm and controller into Samus´ gun and allow certain elements within a game to jump out at you. Or maybe there will just be a conventional but portable screen. There could just as well be a very sophisticated type of voice recognition. Or there could be mood sensors that register whether a player is nervous or calm. I do not want to limit myself to any one of these possibilities. As I said, anything can happen. Either way, I am sure we will be pleasantly surprised.
Launch date/price: The Revolution will launch in late July in Japan, three weeks later in the US and another three weeks later in Europe. The console, including one controller but no other add-on (as may be required), will cost $149.
Pre-E3 press conference: The press conference will begin with a short round-up of Revolution software. Nintendo will focus on a variety of titles ranging from ´Pikmin Revolution´ and the game formerly known as ´Mario 128´ to ´Metroid Prime 3´ and a brief preview of ´Geist 2´. Next up will be the big surprise Nintendo will have kept secret until then. Iwata will walk on stage and he will make reference to and show a number of controller and console mock-ups to illustrate the hype that has built up around the console. There will be mention of the ´Nintendo ON´. Then, Iwata will announce that none of these were in any way produced or commissioned by Nintendo. He will admit, though, that some of those ideas actually came quite close. Then he will introduce the ´Nintendo Revolution´ in full, including its final name. Whatever the last secret will be, I strongly believe that it will do away with the established chain of a controller plugged into a console plugged into a television. It will do away with the traditional conception of a home console having its place in the living room. It will do away with the need for ever higher system specs that drive up development costs and lead to games that lack the quality and care necessary to sustain this industry.
E3 showfloor: There will be between ten and fifteen playable Revolution games on the showfloor, as well as about fifty titles from Nintendo´s and SEGA´s back catalogue.
Sales and reactions: The Revolution will at first be received pretty much the way the DS was. It will be such a break with tradition that a lot of people will be stunned into hesitation. Only the Japanese launch will be very successful. Sales in the US and Europe will be sluggish, at first. Similarly to the DS, sales will greatly improve within the launch month. By the end of the year, Nintendo will have sold through three to four million consoles.
Successes and setbacks: The biggest success will be the last secret. It will entirely overshadow the innovative controller and send shockwaves through the industry, as well as make plenty of people who are new to gaming take an interest in the console.
The biggest setback will be the lack of an established action brand like the ´Grand Theft Auto´ or ´Metal Gear Solid´ franchises. A whole number of big studios and developers like Valve and Hideo Kojima will be presenting original Revolution projects at the E3. But their support will not go as far as adaptations of their big franchises. This will be partly due to companies not having full confidence in Nintendo´s new console yet, but also due to the fact that Nintendo is still not too keen on action games like ´Grand Theft Auto´. Consequently, the Revolution will fail to attract the majority of core gamers (at least those who prefer ´Metal Gear Solid´ to an original Kojima game). Its strengths will lie in attracting large numbers of both casual and new gamers.
Conclusion: The Revolution will quickly become the critic´s choice. It will take much longer for the console to convince buyers, though. More so, developers will only gradually realise that Nintendo is actually on to a winner with this one. However, the Revolution will entice the casual market with innovative gameplay for a reasonable price. And by the end of the year Nintendo will have sold more next-gen consoles than either Microsoft or Sony.