No GameCube Successor At E3?

Last week in the Japanese press Nintendo restated it will definitely not show the successor to the GameCube console at this May’s Los Angeles E3 games expo. Actually, a company spokesperson said something like: “Ha! You’re out of luck if you’re hoping we’ll announce even the smallest detail!”

This is not a surprising stance. This E3, Nintendo will focus on convincing press and retail alike that its Dual-Screen handheld is a good idea and that the GameCube is still alive and kicking — with great games and maybe even a new peripheral or two, as the company has hinted. Nintendo will have a pretty tough time getting these messages accross, so including yet another new machine into the mix would not be the smartest move.

Ignoring GameCube’s successor will be made easier by Sony, which will likely focus on PlayStation Portable, maybe mentioning PlayStation 3 but definitely not showing anything.

However, Xbox 2 will likely be presented in some form at this month’s Game Developers’ Conference, and if it does, E3 will see additional announcements. Nintendo will feel Microsoft’s heat even if Sony doesn’t. I just can’t imagine Nintendo not announcing ;even the smallest detail”. I bet they’ll talk about some tech partners and generally repeat what Howard Lincoln said at 1999’s E3 press conference when he ‘announced’ Project Dolphin: we’re still in this game, our technology will be similar or better, and we’re going to kick some ass.

Now I’m on the topic: Microsoft’s apparent decision to go with high capacity Flash Memory cards instead of a hard disk would be a good thing for Nintendo. Nintendo is experimenting with various types of memory, with Flash actually used in China’s iQue console. Expensive hard disk technology is out of the picture. Large enough Flash Memory offers functionality similar to a hard drive, which would eliminate some of the perceived technology gap between Nintendo’s and Microsoft’s console efforts. And with Flash Memory gaining popularity so quickly, surely prices will be dropping like crazy pretty soon.

By the way, I’m betting Nintendo will be back to its usual E3-shape this year, showing highly interesting Dual-Screen software and at least two games from the classic trinity: ‘Super Mario’, ‘The Legend of Zelda’ and ‘Metroid’. Of course, doing better than last year shouldn’t be that hard!