A new rumor about Nintendo's Project Cafe refers to it as "Nintendo Feel," and claims that its controller possesses a special touch screen with the ability to simulate textures.
There are rumors a-plenty about Nintendo's successor to the wildly popular Wii - tentatively code-named Project Cafe - but so far, said rumors have some common threads. Two of said common threads are present first and foremost: Project Cafe will be a more graphically-advanced, HD-capable system, and its controller will feature a touchscreen similar to that on the DS or iOS devices.
Swedish site Loading.se has one of the most interesting rumors yet, which it claims came from "a source close to Nintendo." According to a translation posted on gaming forum NeoGAF, the new console - referred to as Nintendo Feel - will be formally unveiled on June 7th at E3.
Loading.se's source claims that with the Feel, Nintendo "wants to change the way we play - again." With the Wii, says the source, Nintendo proved that the controller was every bit as important to a game as its graphics, and will be carrying this philosophy into its next console. "The revolutionary aspect will once again be found in the controller itself."
Most sources seem to agree that Project Cafe's controller will have a touchscreen, leading to comparisons with Apple's iPad or even Nintendo's own GBA/GameCube experiment with games like Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. The source says that the Feel will bring yet another dimension to the forefront - touch (hence the name).
The Feel's touchscreen will take advantage of newly-developed haptic technology in order to simulate "the experience of touching different objects shown on screen," says the source. A player running his finger across the screen will "clearly feel the difference between soft, smooth or rugged textures." While other electronics companies are researching this technology too - Apple and Toshiba among them - the source says this is a natural progression of the technologies used in both the wildly popular DS and wildly popular Wii.
The aforementioned Toshiba has actually demonstrated this technology in public, by the way, so it isn't just a pipe dream - far-fetched though it might sound.
The source says that work has been progressing on the Feel for years now, with Nintendo trying to create a console with a core concept as simple to understand as the Wii's motion control - for core gamers and newcomers alike. "You have to try Nintendo Feel to really understand," claims the source, "[but] the idea itself is very easy to sell, no matter if you are aiming for hardcore players or the wider audience that was first introduced to games through DS, Wii or Kinect."
As Loading.se points out, being able to feel the fur on your Nintendogs could be potentially mindblowing, as could drawing a symbol in "sand" with your finger in a Zelda game. This is also a convergence of many of Nintendo's different philosophies - you have the force feedback introduced by the N64's Rumble Pak, the touch/movement espoused by the DS and Wii, and the connectivity of the GBA/GameCube connection.
The source also claims that Nintendo's bizarre Vitality Sensor will be making a reappearance at E3, but it will be for the Feel, not the Wii.
Well, that's quite a bit of information, isn't it? The NeoGAF poster who translated it notes that Loading.se is a "very reliable" news source, and as I'm unfortunately not as well-read on Swedish gaming news as I'd like, I'll have to take his word on it. If there is any deceit, it would likely be on the source giving Loading.se the information rather than on the outlet.
Of course, This is, a rumor and should be treated as such. Nobody should take this as gospel truth, and everybody should take it with a grain of salt - but it's an interesting rumor all the same. Even if Nintendo isn't actually doing this, the rise of haptic technology means that somebody probably will.
This might explain how Nintendo is planning on dealing with one of the primary criticisms of the screen-in-the-controller setup: How will you know what you're touching on the controller when you're looking up at your TV screen? This could be Nintendo's solution.
It's also worth noting that the article does not claim that Nintendo Feel will be the final name, and one can only hope that "Feel" is to this new console as "Revolution" was to the Wii. Because really, that name is silly.