There has been some more discussion about the Revolution´s last secret and, reading the comments in my last post, I feel it is time to remind the community that there are some very good reasons for believing in some kind of 3D projection method, be it Augmented Reality or stereoscopically projected 3D. Just as a reminder, here is a run-down of the circumstantial evidence.
* The console stand:
It´s slanted, which must be more than a mere design feature, because it makes the console more likely to be knocked over. In my mind, this would suggest that the console is ´pointing up´ at the player. As this is most likely not required by the controller interaction, there could be another type of data exchange between console and player. Additionally, the stand is rumoured to double as a battery pack, according to the UK´s official Nintendo magazine.
* The size:
The console will be tiny. Stack three DVDs and see what you end up with. It´s ridiculously small. This confines the hardware to not being much more powerful than the GameCube. But Nintendo would never castrate their hardware if it wasn´t for a good reason. So, the method of viewing and, thus, portability could be the revolutionary ingredients instead. In fact, there has been a reliable source stating some months ago that a portable GameCube was at least considered by Nintendo a few years back. The Revolution could be that. With a size of three DVD cases stacked, it will be a fairly portable device anyway. And given some kind of 3D projection, even a portable Revolution would still compete with the other home consoles.
* Nintendo´s refusal to show graphics:
This is the best indicator yet that there is a new way the graphics will be displayed. Marketingwise, not showing any gameplay footage is the worst move any console manufacturer can make. Most people don´t even know Nintendo is coming out with a new console. Understandably, since the mass medium, television, is visually oriented and has had no reason whatsoever to report about the Revolution. Nintendo never even supplied tv stations with that controller demo reel shown at TGS. So, Nintendo is actively discouraging media coverage. The only reason behind that can be something so big that, once revealed, will attract mass media automatically.
* The controller:
Imagine using the Rev controller with a television. The tv set´s size and your distance from it will mean that your movement on screen is very limited, especially compared to the movement your arm can make. If that is all to be accounted for, your arm´s on-screen representation would have to be scaled down to a tiny size. Alternatively, controller movement would have a limited range (before you hit the screen´s side, like a mouse does). As an alternative, imagine using the controller in a full 3D environment, enabled by some kind of VR or AR technology. The difference is immense. The controller is a neat idea on a standard television, but it is a full-blown revolution in a 3D environment.
Even the price of 3D projection (both peripheral and integrated solutions) has been confirmed to be mass-market friendly, at under $100 (read The Price of the Future and The Price of the Future, part II).
* The technical drawing
This image, taken from the EU trademark and design site, shows that there is an extra fan and two receptacles on the Revolution´s underside that would normally rest inside the stand. One of the receptacles could be proof of the stand indeed powering the Revolution or the stand being some kind of battery pack. The fan has no use inside the stand, so the Revolution will also be used outside of it. Both aspects prove that the Revolution will have some portable aspect to it.
Miyamoto: "It's convenient to make games that are played on TVs. But I always wanted to have a custom-sized screen that wasn't the typical four-cornered cathode-ray-tube TV. I've always thought that games would eventually break free of the confines of a TV screen to fill an entire room. But I would rather not say anything more about that."
Miyamoto: "I think maybe if I could do anything, I would make it so you don´t have to sit in front of a TV and play. If you could have a machine that you just plugged in and played inside a virtual world that - would be just great."
Miyamoto: "Sitting in front of your monitor with a controller, there's really nowhere to go from that paradigm, all you can do is make it prettier and faster."
Iwata: "We invented the current way a console is played - in front of a television and holding a controller - but maybe that image will change."
Iwata: "When you turn on Revolution and see the graphics, you will say 'wow!'"
Iwata: "The keyword for the DS was 'innovative product,' but it will be 'paradigm shift in [game] play' with the Revolution."
Iwata: "Our next home system (...) won't simply be new or include new technologies. Better technology is good, but not enough. Today's consoles already offer fairly realistic expressions so simply beefing up the graphics will not let most of us see a difference. So what should a new machine do? Much more. An unprecedented gameplay experience. Something no other machine has delivered before."
Fils-Aime: "The concept of a home system today is defined as hardware that you tether to a box, and you are tethered to it via a controller; we think that's an old paradigm."
Fils-Aime: "With our next home console we will address the area of gamer community. You said ´online´. I used ´online´ as a description of a flawed business model. We are passionate about enabling our gamers to play with their friends [and] to play with others across long distances. There are a number of different ways to execute that."
Wada (Square-Enix): "Not just a portable, not just a console - it's exactly what we wanted in that it's the birth of a completely new platform."
Note: Due to time contraints I was unable to verify all these quotes by tracing them back to their original source. I apologize for that. Most of these are well known, though. And I hope to be able to add sources later.
This all shows that stereoscopic 3D and Augmented Reality are possibilities to be considered. There is one (and only one) argument against some kind of projection and it is the user-friendliness. Nintendo do not want to put non-gamers off. This need not be the case, however, if you consider a stereoscopic plate of glass (as in the NASA patent), which allows images to appear in mid-air. Also, AR is far less threatening, allowing the player to see through such a visor. These specific options may still sound unlikely, but the above points definitely show that the Revolution will not just work with tv sets and monitors, but will be playable ´on the go´. That, for me, is a given. And, in my mind, some kind of 3D peripheral is a possibility.