Those specs are a bit unrealistic
Have you seen the supposed list of specs for Nintendo’s supposed upcoming consoles, codenamed “Fusion”? If not, let me link you to them. Finished reading? Good, because now we’re going into detail about why the Fusion is most likely fake.
Now, let’s be real here: Nintendo is probably working on some sort of successor to both the 3DS and Wii U and it may very well be codenamed “Fusion”. I don’t want to deny that. What I do think is fake are those specific spec listings for both the Fusion DS (portable) and Fusion Terminal (set-top console) and I’ll do my best to explain it all in non-technical words.
Article continues after the break.
Exhibit I: Fusion DS
I’m not sure about you but when I read the spec listing for the Fusion DS, I immediately thought of a high-end smartphone. High-end CPU? Check. Vibration motors integrated? Check. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G and NFC? Check. Most everything else on the list is pretty standard fare in the DS lineup so there’s nothing too unusual there. But what’s odd about it is that the specs put this out to be so smartphone-like, and given Nintendo’s stance on smartphones it just seems really odd they’d consider something that’s so much like what they don’t want to get involved in.
But for sake of argument, we’ll say that they’re changing their stance on smartphones. What about the rest of the specs? The first major thing I see is the GPU said to be used. The Adreno GPU is not made or owned by AMD but rather by Qualcomm for use in their Snapdragon CPU; it is proprietary to them and they do not license it out to other companies. In addition, while AMD will be selling ARM chips later this year, they are for server use and I’d wager that they don’t have anything extremely powerful in them as far as GPUs go.
Then there’s that SD card slot. The listing claims it has an “SDHC ‘Holographic Enhanced’ Card Slot up to 128 Gigabyte Limit” and yet this is completely wrong on several levels. The largest SDHC card that can be made is a 32GB card – a far cry from a supposed 128GB limit. There is another version of the SD card standard called SDXC that supports cards of up to 2TB in size which is far greater than the limits of SDHC. And then there’s that thing about it being “Holographic Enhanced.” Go try and look that up on Google and you’ll just find these supposed spec listings all over again. The only way I’ve seen for storing data on a holographic medium is through the Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) which is much larger than any SD card. So what is it? A holographic sticker reader to make sure your SD card is genuine? Neat, but useless.
Those listings also say the Fusion DS comes with a fingerprint reader that I infer is supposed to work like Apple’s Touch ID on the iPhone 5s. Let me ask, what use does a security device like that have on a device where its sole purpose in life is to play games? I might could see a reader being used as another game input method but I just don’t see any point to having that level of security in a game machine. What would be nice to have in the next generation DS is Bluetooth 4.0 LE. Given that LE stands for Low Energy, it would be very nice to have the ability to play over Bluetooth when your friend is nearby and be able to save on battery consumption.
Exhibit II: Fusion Terminal
Like the Fusion DS, this one also feels pretty unrealistic but for several other reasons. Take for example the 3DS cartridge slot supposedly present. While the thing claims to have an eight-core IBM POWER CPU in it, real-time emulation of a completely different hardware platform is very resource intensive. It’s probably one of the same reasons why Windows RT doesn’t run x86 desktop apps; to emulate a completely different platform is very intensive and you won’t get great performance out of emulation. It can be done if the PC running the emulator is powerful enough and the system being emulated is old enough but this has to be a great difference. For example, PCSX2, a popular PlayStation 2 emulator has been around for several years but only now are we really able to emulate it properly since we have regular desktop PCs that are many times more powerful than the PlayStation 2. Again, I’m not saying it can’t be done, it’s just very intensive and inefficient.
The Holographic Versatile Disc support in the Fusion Terminal is also questionable. Sure, Nintendo is on the board for the HVD development forum but have you ever seen one in person? HVDs are one of those things that are still very much an experimental product which isn’t ready for the average consumer. Besides, what would be the point? I have yet to see a game that maxes out a Blu-Ray disc and those come in 25, 50 and 100GB sizes which is plenty of space for the time being. No need to have a 6TB optical disc when less than a quarter of that space will be used.
Exhibit III: Nintendo’s Target Market
$300 for a Wii U might sound like a lot but when compared to the much more powerful PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, you can see why there’s a difference. The Wii U is not as powerful because let’s face it, do you really need 8GB of DDR4 and an eight-core CPU to play Mario Party? This has been one of Nintendo’s strengths that they’re able to put out a decent console at a relatively affordable price. With both Fusion systems, that concept goes completely out of the window.
In the case of the Fusion DS, all that fancy glass, magnetic covers and overall power puts this in the realm of high-end smartphones like the iPhone 5s and an unlocked 16GB 5s runs $649 which is far more expensive than the lowly $170 of a 3DS. Let’s also not forget about the 3G modem in the Fusion DS which is going to add a recurring charge to the console should it be activated with a carrier. For a 12-year-old who wants to work his or her way to getting a 3DS, $170 is an expensive but doable goal; I’ve saved up that much when I was that young. Making something like the Fusion DS which would have to be at a $649 price point becomes nearly impossible for a 12-year-old to buy on their own. It may even be a strain on the parents of said 12-year-old.
Likewise, the Fusion Terminal would also skyrocket to a high price. Having two CPUs and a special GPU in one system would certainly boost the price along with the 300GB of flash storage the discless version claims to have. This is without getting into the holographic disc drive which, given that it’s still experimental, would greatly increase the price to something I don’t even want to think about.
There are still a few good ideas in these spec listings I’d like to see in future generation consoles however. There’s the Bluetooth 4.0 LE idea in the Fusion DS and I quite like the idea of charging my controllers wirelessly simply by placing them atop my console. But you can’t believe everything you hear and unless Nintendo really does unveil all this stuff, I’m going to keep calling it a myth, a fake, a rumor. It’s just too unrealistic to think that this is real.