Nintendo’s ready for a fresh start…

This is huge news: 80m unit sales after 2006’s watershed moment for this generation, Nintendo’s already working on the next. Without PS4 or Xbox 720 anywhere in sight.

Until E3, the most interesting speculation will be on what untapped area of the market the firm is going for this time. Previously, it helped dispel a deep mistrust of gaming interfaces, and this year made ambitious visuals an affordable reality.

Talk of bundled mini-touchscreens and streaming games services might not sound like ‘Nintendo’, but neither did styluses, magic wand controllers or glasses-free 3D.

Of course, the speculation will lead to the familiar questions: what will third-parties make of it? Is the firm ready to shrug off its fears of online games? Can it grow beyond the glass ceiling Wii is arguably ready to push against, especially when 3DS proved that sometimes genuine innovation is a hard sell?

Lots of quetsions will be asked before E3 and in the run up to the launch timeframe set for after April 2012. You can bet Nintendo has answers already – and I bet it has a few tricks up its sleeve to get a tiny bit more mileage from the Wii before its successor rolls out to retailers next year.

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