Things have been heating up as E3 has been continuing. After Sony announced that the PS3 would be backwards compatible (which is something akin to saying that the sun will rise tomorrow), Microsoft countered by doing likewise for their Xbox 360. There's been some mockery of Microsoft's wording concerning the backwards compatibility. It's been summed up as "partial" compatibility for "top selling" Xbox titles. In any case, it doesn't sound quite as impressive as the PS3's almost universal compatibility with PS1 and PS2 games.

On the heels of this little spitball fight between Sony and Microsoft comes Nintendo's press conference, along with some startling announcements of the Revolution's capabilities. Ironically, not one of the attributes revealed is the revolutionary aspect we're all in the dark on.

We all knew long ago that the Revolution would be backwards compatible with the Gamecube. We didn't know diddly. The beast will not only be backwards compatible with the Gamecube, but will come with an online service for downloading NES, SNES and N64 games to the console's 512MB of flash memory (expandable). While this is likey to be an iTunes like service, it's still insane.

The console is also supposed to be accessible and ready for both big budget developers and far lower scale ones. I'm hoping this means that me and a few friends can hang out in a basement somewhere and makes games that will actually appear on the console.

If you want all the details, check out Nintendo's article. Not highlighted there is that a new Super Smash Bros. game will launch with the Revolution. The beast will be online capable, meaning I can knock heads with people everywhere. It's going to be a long year waiting.

The only point of concern I have now is the Revolution's power. Nintendo has said it will be two to three times as powerful as the Gamecube. Given the claims Microsoft and Sony have been making about their console's capabilities, that seems a rather low figure. However, I take Sony and MS's hype with a grain of salt, and Nintendo's with that familiar eye one takes to a self-depreciating person. Sony and Microsoft both have histories of over hyping something that really isn't quite as great as they say it is. Nintendo has historically been the opposite, for better or for worse. As such, Nintendo's two to three times more powerful may well be up there with Microsoft and Sony's consoles. Because Nintendo President Iwata promised the Revolution would be technologically competitive with Sony and Microsoft despite Nintendo's emphasis on innovation and gameplay as opposed to graphics, I'm still hopeful.

I'm no longer concerned about Nintendo's revolutionary aspect. Whatever it is, the genius who decided the Revolution should be backwards compatible all the way to the NES wouldn't let something rediculous or silly sneak its way into the console. What is interesting is that while it has been announced that the Revolution's controllers will be wireless (like everyone else's), the actual controllers haven't been shown. This has given a lot of credence to the theories that the revolutionary aspect is largely in the controller. I think it's both true and a red herring.

Nintendo knows it is being watched really carefully by the competition. You don't announce you're going to have a revolutionary new aspect in your next console and expect other companies to sit idly by and assume you're a crazy hack. I'm almost dead certain that, in preparation for Nintendo's announcement when it comes, both Sony and Microsoft have teams ready to design and complete competing controllers. Nintendo has had their controllers copied before (the N64's analog stick and rumble pack were quickly added to the Playstation's reputuar). I highly doubt they haven't thought about how to prevent duplication.

I highly, highly suspect that Nintendo's revolution isn't just in the controller, but also the console. While we got to see a prototype of the Revolution in Nintendo's E3 press conference, we didn't see it do too much. It is not impossible that Nintendo has carefully hidden the secret right in front of us. Besides, there's a year yet of time for them to tweak the hardware. Albeit at this point the amount of tweaking can't be too much, or else developers will be alienated. However, Nintendo has far more room to adapt their console than Microsoft or Sony who have both revealed their specs already.

At this point I can't see Nintendo doing poorly at all in this coming generation. The PS2 had a large library of PS1 games on its release to augment the typically small number of release titles. While the PS3 will have both the PS1 and PS2 titles availible, the Revolution will have games beyond imagination, and the nostalgia factor as well. Even if Nintendo's market share remains as it has been, they're bound to turn a profit with ease once more. I'm just shy of saying there's no way Nintendo could possibly be beaten. Just shy being due to the lack of information on Nintendo's big secret.

In any case, I'm not terribly hopeful for the Xbox 360 at this point. It can still do well, but I think it will be an uphill battle. They may well have alienated hardcore gamers by showing off the Xbox 360 on MTV, and then only having partial backwards compatibility. With the very alluring option of the Revolution, I'm pretty sure that Microsoft's only hope of keeping any people such as I lies in Halo 3. It's supposed to come out at the same time as the PS3, which is only in a years time approximately. So when did Bungie have time to work on that? Last I heard they were still developing new maps for Halo 2. I have nothing against Bungie, I love them in fact. But I can't see them delivering a good product with only a year to do it in.

They could always suprise me I guess.

To conclude, viva la Revolution.

No comments: