Talking tech since 2003

It’s no secret that the Wii U isn’t performing up to snuff. Nintendo recently trimmed its rather lofty sales projections for the console — 9 million for the fiscal year — down to 2.8 million, and all the negativity surrounding Nintendo’s game system may be too much to come back from. And it seems Nintendo may agree; according to a source for the website Nintendo News, Nintendo is readying home and handheld consoles that will take on the ‘Fusion’ brand.

These systems, according to the source, are the Fusion DS and the Fusion Terminal.

The Fusion DS, judging by the name, would likely be the successor to Nintendo’s current 3DS and 2DS consoles (which, to be honestly are actually selling really well right now). The source for Nintendo News provided some pretty impressive specs for the system, which are listed below.

  • CPU: ARMv8-A Cortex-A53 GPU: Custom Adreno 420-based AMD GPU
  • COM MEMORY: 3 GB LPDDR3 (2 GB Games, 1 GB OS)
  • 2 130 mm DVGA (960 x 640) Capacitive Touchscreen
  • Slide Out Design with Custom Swivel Tilt Hinge
  • Upper Screen made of Gorilla Glass, Comes with Magnetic Cover
  • Low End Vibration for Gameplay and App Alerts
  • 2 Motorized Circle Pads for Haptic Feedback
  • Thumbprint Security Scanner with Pulse Sensing Feedback
  • 2 1mp Stereoptic Cameras
  • Multi-Array Microphone
  • A, B, X, Y, D-Pad, L, R, 1, 2 Buttons
  • 3 Axis Tuning Fork Gyroscope, 3 Axis Accelerometer, Magnetometer
  • NFC Reader
  • 3G Chip with GPS Location
  • Bluetooth v4.0 BLE Command Node used to Interface with Bluetooth Devices such as Cell Phones, Tablets
  • 16 Gigabytes of Internal Flash Storage (Possible Future Unit With 32 Gigabytes)
  • Nintendo 3DS Cart Slot
  • SDHC “Holographic Enhanced” Card Slot up to 128 Gigabyte Limit
  • Mini USB I/O
  • 3300 mAh Li-Ion battery

As you can see, the Fusion DS would upgrade the current DS offerings in several areas. To me, the most welcome feature is the addition of a second circle pad, which would finally bring the DS control scheme into the same league as most home consoles and the PlayStation Vita. Most games are built for dual joysticks — several handhelds later, Nintendo may finally be getting that.

The Fusion Terminal specs offer the kind of jump people wanted from Nintendo in this past cycle. Out of this list, one of the more interesting bits has to be the coaxial input. Would this system act as a cable set-top box as well as a game system? A CableCARD slot is also listed for the system, serving as more evidence for a potential game console/cable box combo.

  • GPGPU: Custom Radeon HD RX 200 GPU CODENAME LADY (2816 shaders @ 960 MHz, 4.60 TFLOP/s, Fillrates: 60.6 Gpixel/s, 170 Gtexel/s)
  • CPU: IBM 64-Bit Custom POWER 8-Based IBM 8-Core Processor CODENAME JUMPMAN (2.2 GHz, Shared 6 MB L4 cache)
  • Co-CPU: IBM PowerPC 750-based 1.24 GHz Tri-Core Co-Processor CODENAME HAMMER
  • MEMORY: 4 Gigabytes of Unified DDR4 SDRAM CODENAMED KONG, 2 GB DDR3 RAM @ 1600 MHz (12.8 GB/s) On Die CODENAMED BARREL
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wireless
  • Bluetooth v4.0 BLE
  • 2 USB 3.0
  • 1 Coaxial Cable Input
  • 1 CableCARD Slot
  • 4 Custom Stream-Interface Nodes up to 4 Wii U GamePads
  • Versions with Disk Drive play Wii U Optical Disk (4 Layers Maximum), FUSION Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) and Nintendo 3DS Card Slot
  • 1 HDMI 2.0 1080p/4K Port
  • Dolby TrueHD 5.1 or 7.1 Surround Sound
  • Inductive Charging Surface for up to 4 FUSION DS or IC-Wii Remote Plus Controllers
  • Two versions: Disk Slot Version with 60 Gigs of Internal Flash Storage and Diskless Version with 300 Gigs of Internal Flash Storage

nintendo-fusion-tourThe entire basis for the story on Nintendo News stems from two bits of info: a domain name that Nintendo registered all the way back in 2003, and information from what the website calls a “reputable source.” The name, NintendoFusion.com, was actually registered by the company for the Nintendo Fusion Tour (starring all your favorite emo bands from high school). The WHOIS information for the domain name was updated today, January 21, though Nintendo has not held a Fusion Tour since 2006.

Information from Nintendo News’ source ties the domain name and the rumored hardware together. And, based on the direction Nintendo has been going with its home consoles and handhelds, the “Fusion” name is believable. We’re already seeing the home and handheld experiences come together; perhaps Fusion will be a bigger step in that direction.

That said, I’m pretty skeptical of what I’m seeing here, especially where this new system would support up to four Wii U gamepads. If Nintendo wants to bring out a new console to erase all memories of the previous flop, continuing to push the Gamepad seems like a poor idea. Our own Landon Robinson also told me that “Nintendo isn’t in a position to launch another console . . . not to mention, another portable — especially since they’ve just now calmed the waters on the 3DS/2DS split.” He believes that the Fusion rumors could be the result of research and development for Nintendo’s next next-gen consoles. I’m inclined to agree.

Still, I can’t help but be a little hopeful that most of what we’re seeing here is legitimate. While the 3DS continues to float Nintendo’s numbers in the area of “slight loss” instead of “huge catastrophe,” the company can’t expect the handheld to carry its bust of a home console forever. And the longer the Wii U sits on shelves, losing ground by millions of units to both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, the further behind Nintendo falls in the home console game.

We’ll update if we get any new info on this story.


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