Eurogamer has a fresh quote from Nintendo's Jim Merrick who says that the company will probably never release the exact technical specifications for the Nintendo Revolution because they just don't believe that putting such information into the public memory bank is all that relevant. This idea is just the latest development in Nintendo's ongoing effort to just make enjoyable games and not be bogged down by raw numbers.
Unfortunately, in a world where hardcore gamers engage in fanboy battles based on available simultaneous polygons and processor speed, by not revealing this information officially the company might as well be admitting that they can't or won't keep up with Sony and Microsoft when it comes to the technology arms race.
Don't get me wrong, however. Those of you out there who have been reading my thoughts for a while have probably come to sense that I'm a major Nintendo fan and that I typically support whatever the company decides to do next. I can see Merrick's point that revealing the specs won't do the consumer any good because game consoles should be chosen based on available games that strike a chord with players, not clock speed. A terrific game is a terrific game when you get right to it; raw numbers really don't matter when a game is mesmerizing and immersive. Sometimes when I close my eyes I can still see falling Tetris blocks, and Tetris doesn't require much at all in terms of system requirements to be amazing.
So, in the end, not knowing the exact processor speed or polygon texturing abilities of the Revolution won't impact my decision to purchase a console one way or the other. What will influence me (and probably most others, I'd imagine) are the games. This brings us to Merrick's other piece of news from the article:
And there's still a wait in store before we get to see the Revolution's games in action - no footage will be released before the end of the year, according to Merrick. He added that Nintendo has always put the emphasis on fun rather than graphical capabilities, and therefore there won't be any screenshots released before the games are actually playable.
Nintendo's secretive perfectionist streak is alive and well. Here's the thing though. I believe that Nintendo has to show some kind of screenshot or character model from the Revolution before the end of the year if they want to hang on to the stereotypical hardcore gamer. The console market is fragmenting with each console creator going their own way: Microsoft's media convergence, Sony's powerful technology, or Nintendo's simple yet fun games. The question is no longer which one console to purchase, but in which kind of gaming experience does one want to invest?
If Nintendo wants to pick up those hardcore gamers still on the fence, they're going to have to show something soon before the first-to-market Microsoft Xbox 360 steals the spotlight. However, if the company is more interested in picking up the casual game market than the usual gamer demographic (which based on the success of Nintendogs and the previous comments from company president Satoru Iwata is very probable) then it can afford to drag its feet and unveil things on it's own timetable and not that of a competitor in the hopes of torpedoing a new console launch. And you know what? Casual gamers don't care about system specs either. Suddenly the strategy starts to become clear, and I just hope that it pays off for fans and developers alike. We may not need numbers, but we do need great games.