Tracking Down The Odd Rumours About Nintendo's Next Console

Tracking Down The Odd Rumours About Nintendo's Next Console

Here at Kotaku, we love insider info. We like getting information both from random tipsters and our own sources. And because of those people — to whom we grant anonymity in our reporting — we're able to tell you stories you might not otherwise know about, and give you all the details about games like Titanfall and Alien: Isolation before they're even announced.

Of course, we're not the only ones: other outlets have also reported some terrific scoops using secret sources.

But the danger of anonymous sourcing is that when not handled judiciously, it can allow false information to spread.

Take "Nintendo Fusion," the recently-rumoured "next Nintendo console" that you might have seen reported on major gaming websites like Destructoid, The Escapist, and VentureBeat. The rumour is this: in the wake of a rough 2013, Nintendo has started development on their next console, Nintendo Fusion, which will have two parts, called the Fusion DS and Fusion Terminal. There's also a giant list of specs for the system, including some questionable bullet-points like "Thumbprint Security Scanner with Pulse Sensing Feedback" and "SDHC 'Holographic Enhanced' Card Slot up to 128 Gigabyte Limit."

The timing is suspect, given that news just came out about Nintendo's rough 2013, and given that the company's last console launched just over a year ago. But while the list is full of red flags, the premise is certainly possible — plenty of pundits and observers would love to see Nintendo use its mighty developer talent for one hybrid console, rather than two. (Nintendo, when asked about the rumour, told me they don't comment on rumours and speculation.)

There's one bigger problem with this rumour: sketchy sourcing.

Where did all this come from? The above gaming sites all cite this article, written by Kevin McMinn for a website called Nintendo News, which says that this Nintendo Fusion rumour came from "an anonymous tip from one of [their] very reputable sources." Nintendo News presents the specs and information as a possibility, not a guarantee, and they warn readers to be sceptical about what's written there.

But when reached by e-mail last night, McMinn told me he doesn't actually know who gave him this Nintendo Fusion story. Although he believes that this is a "very reputable source," McMinn said he doesn't know who they are or how they might be privy to so many specific details about a new Nintendo console.

"I know little to nothing about the person who sent the email with the information," McMinn said. "All I know is that the person has been proven to have inside information and has given details to other sources as well; not just Nintendo News."

McMinn didn't elaborate, but said he hasn't published everything he's received from this anonymous tipster in the past, and what's more, he seems to regret allowing a rumour like this to spread.

"I'm really not sure why the Internet is blowing up right now over this," McMinn told me. "I've made it completely clear on numerous occasions throughout the article that the information is not 100% guaranteed and for readers to take caution when viewing the contents. I'm at a point now where I'll probably just keep tips to myself and not publish the info. This one article has been nothing more than a pain in the neck, really."

But the rumour might not have even started at Nintendo News. Yesterday, a website called GaminRealm also published those same specs, complete with one hell of a warning:

Before I go any further though, let me make a disclaimer: Take all of this with a huge grain of salt. I'm not going to lie and make it out to seem like I have inside industry sources, because I don't. The information you're about to see comes from an anonymous origin, and an acquaintance of mine brought this to my attention — I'm just being honest with you. Yep, it's one of those situations.

In other words, GaminRealm's tipster could have been anyone ranging from Shigeru Miyamoto to a 14-year-old 4channer. Both websites list the same spec breakdown for this alleged Nintendo Fusion, and neither writer seems to know who provided the information in the first place.

It's not our norm to ask other reporters about their sources, but when a rumour is spreading and the origin of that rumour seems potentially suspect, we have to ask for any context that will help us size things up and discern what's worth sharing with our readers. So in an attempt to distinguish fact from fiction and untangle the confusing sourcing here, I asked GaminRealm founder Marlon Reid for more context.

"Our information came from one of our own sources whose information I cannot disclose," Reid told me in an e-mail. "I am well aware of [Nintendo News]. Unfortunately for them, my reporter was the first to have that info and has had that info for a while now."

Reid wouldn't elaborate on who sent GaminRealm the information or why they put a disclaimer like that, insisting in a follow-up e-mail that he "can not disclose source information," although the article itself makes it quite clear that writer Jahmai Williams did not know who sent in this info or whether it's real or not.

Meanwhile, Nintendo News's McMinn said he isn't sure whether the rumour he reported is legitimate.

"With regard to the hardware specifications, I can't give you an accurate answer," he told me in an e-mail. "I don't know enough about the listed hardware to provide you with an educated answer. For that reason alone, I cannot tell you if I think it holds any weight."

This is how the sausage gets made — from one or two anonymous emails to some of the largest websites in gaming. Flimsy rumours like Nintendo Fusion illustrate just how strange some of this stuff can get.


    I've always been under the impression that Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony NEVER stop researching and developing new hardware. So of course Nintendo (and more than likely Microsoft and Sony) have started work on new consoles.

      This is always true.
      That aside, the specs for the "Fusion" seem highly unlikely. Particular the VHD stuff which seems likely to force hardware price up by a ridiculous (thousands) amount.

      Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft never stop planning and developing new products. That's how big companies work, I work for a big automotive engineering company and once a project finishes the staff joins the new one. Usually 1-2 years overlap, so Nintendo would have began to study their next gen in 2010, Sony and MS in 2011, usually 1 year before retail sales the development team transfer to the next project actually and a different department... Usually sales and plant engineering takes over.

    Couldn't Fusion just be a device you plug into your Wii U and 3DS to make them compatible?

      It'd justify the working title, too.

    Given that they completely botched the timing of the WiiU I think that in a vacuum the best time for Nintendo to release a new console would be in the next 2 years.

    Make it fractionally more powerful than the PS4 and get it out by Christmas 2015. That gives it 3-4 years of shared 3rd party software with the Xbone and PS4 as well as top-of-the-line power (for a console) to make awesome 1st party games. It would put them in a similar position to the one they were in when the N64 launched- late to the party but with solid hardware. I’d buy one for sure.

    If they do that though they really need to pull the life-support on the WiiU. Instead of trying to rush out rehashes to give people some reason to buy a WiiU they should cancel most games post mid-2014 and focus on having a must buy next gen-Mario or Zelda ready at launch for the new console.

      I wonder if they'd even have to consider giving Wii U buyers a discount on the new console, and ensuring backwards compatibility.

      Wii U buyers probably include Nintendo's biggest fans. They do not want to make these people feel like they've been burned for supporting the Wii U.

        Not the worst idea that one.

        I don't know about backwards compatibility though. Would it be just the Wiiu? Because it's library would would be very small for the added cost of hardware BC. Wii BC would mean it needed Wiimote support and all the problems that come with that.

        I'd be happy with a well stocked virtual console.

        The problem is that not even Nintendo fans are buying the Wii U (myself included). The 4 million or so who have one likely consists of tech reviewers, those with money, and the most hardcore and hardcore of Nintendo fans who believe they can do no wrong. Of that group, the former two will probably still buy a new Nintendo console without a discount, while the latter will get one because Nintendo.

        Consumers have short term memories, as shown with Xbox One. Market yourself correctly, create perceptions that your console is a sexy piece of tech, great library of games and people will buy. Wii U has none of that right now. Cutting losses and to hell with the hardcore of hardcore fans isn't exactly a poor strategy right now, as bad as that may seem.

        Unlike the 3DS, I don't see a fall back strategy for the Wii U. All Nintendo had to do for 3DS was make quality games similar to the DS and the cash would roll in. Games didn't drive the Wii, Wii sports and Wii fit did, the game attachment rate for that system was atrocious, motion controls for all intents and purposes was a gaming failure.

          With you 100% on that.

          Nintendo make the best games on the planet, I was planning on buying a WiiU at launch but they couldn’t give me a reason to justify it.

          Now they’re so far behind the ball it’s not funny. They can’t get enough games out to prop the WiiU up on their own, they can’t get 3rd party support because their console is incompatible with next-gen engines and they are forced to keep their new releases very close to the old templates they need to rush them out to keep the hardware dicision afloat.

          It’s a mess! If they’ve got the cash for a do-over, they should just start again.

            Cash wise, Nintendo are fine for a few more decades (they're literally rolling cash) but they're going to need to do some serious work to try and change perceptions about themselves in order to get 3rd parties on board (hell, won't even mention the task ahead to change consumer perceptions). One of the main problems is Nintendo, and many game journalists are misinterpreting and deluded by the success of the Wii. Nintendo realising and accepting the success behind that console was a short lived gimmick that will never be repeated will be a start.

            Was it cool? Most definitely, otherwise it wouldn't have sold so many. But to base your entire business strategy for the foreseeable future around such "innovations" at the cost of raw technical prowess? As we're seeing right now, isn't working.

            Last edited 24/01/14 4:00 pm

    As much as it makes sense to release the new N64 following the new Virtual Boy, That would really make me regret buying a Wii U!

    'Pulse sensing feedback'? So... when I pulse.... it pulses?! sounds sexual.

    Gotta say at the start; love their work but they're doomed.

    Nintendo have always wanted the world to do what they say; it's made for many great games and a selection of good consoles. Their problem is they still think the world will do what they say, and they don't care what the world says.

    Unfortunately for them, the world is also moving on. (And perhaps, (perhaps) unfortunately for the world, the world is also moving on).

    Nintendo: get out of the 20th century, it's so last century - a reed that won't bend will often sadly break.

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