Rumour: Wii U set for June 2012 launch, Nintendo struggling to finalize hardware
A fresh rumour has just broken loose from 01net, the same site that accurately leaked a motherload of information about the Wii U several months ago – or as we knew it at the time, Project Café. According to their sources, Nintendo’s strategy of using slightly obsolete technology to minimize costs is on the verge of backfiring.
So far, the Wii U controller’s main chipset – that manages the device’s essential functions, including streaming and wireless – seems inadequate. This chip, described by our source as maybe a tad too cheap, has been the sources of many headaches in recent weeks. So far, the wireless functions simply do not work – at all. There have been so far three different prototypes, and a fourth iteration is expected by select developers at the end of the month.
Not the most optimistic words, but it gets worse. Developers are supposedly working with tethered controllers at the moment, but even those are full of problems – not to mention the fact that tethering the controller vastly reduces its mobility, and in turn, what can be done with it.
Despite all this, Nintendo’s internal release date for the system is in June (which fits with a previous comment by SEGA), which gives them about ten months to finalize the hardware. Video games take time to make, so our hopes for a brilliant lineup of launch titles may be dashed if Nintendo cannot get a final-spec system into developers’ hands on time. Furthermore, 01net speculates that the Xbox 360 successor’s reveal – reportedly set for next E3 – may play into things and dampen the world’s excitement for the Wii U, if Nintendo choose to push their release date back to deal with their hardware issues.
Ten months before the tentative release date – developers are still expecting a June 2012 release – the fact that Nintendo engineers are still struggling to make this supposedly final architecture function properly is worrisome at best. Could Nintendo have to make radical last-minute changes, and if so, what would be the cost? This unexpected development runs contrary to Nintendo’s reputation for carefully weighing all tech options long before any announcement. Inside the company, there have been talks of a delayed release, with September as a new tentative date. Being three months off-schedule doesn’t seem such a big issue, when compared to a home console’s life cycle. But this is not 2006 anymore. The industry is undergoing a radical mutation, and there is a growing amount of rumors positioning Microsoft’s next system to be unveiled during the 2012 E3 conference, and a relase in short order. If that was to happen, the Wii U would only enjoy a few months of “optimal run” alongside the Xbox 360, which would essentially moot the much-touted ease with which developers can port 360 code for the Wii U. To succeed in its incredibly audacious endeavour, Nintendo will have to walk a very tight rope.
Once again, all of the above is pure rumour; we have no idea how much, if any of it, is true. But 01net have a good track record with past leaks, so that gives this rumour some credibility.
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