If Cafe is only a third more powerful than a PS3, that means it'll place in roughly the same way, hardware-wise, as the Wii over the PS2/GameCube--as in, it won't be substantially more powerful than current-gen machines. It might get some 3rd party ports of Xbox360 and PS3 titles, but the second Microsoft and Sony launch their systems, 1-2 years later, Cafe won't matter any more. It'll be the Wii all over again.
It'll be a system that isn't powerful enough to handle the engines of the next generation that are optimized to run on the X720 and PS4. In much the same way the Wii got nothing on the current Unreal engine, Cafe won't get anything for the Unreal engine made to run on X720 and PS4.
Project Cafe needs to be actual next-gen technology, and if it's only a measly third more powerful than the X360 or PS3, then that means Nintendo's next-gen system is made with current-gen technology again. The PS3 isn't only a third more powerful than the PS2--it's several times more powerful.
The timing will be awkward--Dreamcast awkward. Coming out before this generation is finished, and before the next is truly ready to go. It'll sell mostly to just Nintendo's core fans, that that'll be it. When the PS4 and Xbox720 launch, Cafe will look like generation-old technology, just as the Wii did. The Dreamcast launched 12-18 months before it's competition. First to market is never first in sales. The difference is that Nintendo didn't burn bridges with the Wii the way Sega did with the Saturn (Sega-CD and 32X), so Cafe might not end up being their last console--but it certainly isn't on track to be a success.
Asuming the PS4 won't be drastically more powerful than the PS3 is just silly. Obviously it'll be drastically (hella, if you like) more powerful, otherwise there'd be no reason to do it. Just like the next Xbox will be drastically more powerful than the X360. They won't be a laughable "third more powerful." They'll be a good three to nine times (or more) more powerful than the current gen machines. Again, like the Xbox360 over the Xbox. Sony said they're going to be more mindful of the cost, that doesn't mean they're going to make a weak-ass console. They're going to make another powerhouse, but be more mindful of the way in which they do it.
Nintendo aiming low (hardware tech wise) like they did with the Wii earned them a lot of laughs, little 3rd party support, and even fewer ports of popular multi-platform titles. If Cafe is truly only a third more powerful than the Xbox360 or PS3, it's a "next"-gen system with last-gen appeal. Either it's a true current-gen system releasing too late to matter, or it's a next-gen system barely any more powerful than current-gen systems. And it'll launch a good year or so ahead of Microsoft and Sony's next machines, which means any success it has will be short lived as they'll have time to properly capitalize on Cafe's successes.
Cafe isn't going to set the gaming world on fire. Especially if the rumors of it's strength are true.
However, this is still assuming that the PS4/720 will be leagues stronger in power, which they simply cannot. Sure, they may have pieces in place that can run frames, and aliasing etc at faster speeds, but GRAPHICALLY, what they will be able to achieve with these consoles will not be that much greater than what Café can do. You must realize, such exaggerated power will cost more than most publishers can sustain to afford. You cannot just make everything look like crisis on food stamps and elbow grease.
The situation with Café is not the same as it was with the Wii in 2005. Nintendo is not coming off their worst-selling console (ignore Virtual Boy). No one is expecting their marketshare to dwindle to 15%. The company itself is reaching out to others to secure exclusives and ensure a stable library. They are adopting the same strategy with the 3DS, letting 3rd parties have a shot early on. Part of the reason they complained of Wii in the 1st place was due to space limitations and power – even when PS4/720 release that still won’t be seen as an issue.
The leap will not be as large between consoles. Besides, are you telling me that they will skip out entirely on a Café-compatible engine to make a bleeding-edge one for the others. By the way you make it sound, it seems like 3rd parties will avoid the console completely and make it go Dreamcast. Even if that frustrating circumstance did occur, whats to stop Nintendo from repeating the same strategy adopted by the Wii again to succeed despite lackluster support?
As you said, the Dreamcast failed for a variety of reasons. The only you can relate to the console is the timing of its release. Besides, the position Sony was in, and the postion Sega was in were two COMPLETELY different things, and the circumstances this time around are nowhere near the same.
It does not matter how mindful they are of how they make it, the parts will still come at a price. Lets assume these consoles are coming in TWO years time, 2013. Since R&D has already begun, it makes sense they will use parts from this year right? If that is the case, which graphics cards can they use now which quadruple the PS3 in strength and still be profitable with? Who can afford to create every game with a budget around $60 million (Ubisoft stated this will be the average - http://kotaku.com/5293126/ubisoft-ceo-expects-60-million-game-budgets-next-gen)
Graphical strength will not be the only upgrade the console will have over this generation either. E3 is only about a week away, so it will be confirmed there, but what is to say the Interface will not take main precedence like it did with the Wii? What if the controller is revolutionary/innovative and is unique like motion controls was? Storage? Compatibility? Resolution? 3D? Holograms? Streaming? Vitality Sensor?
Graphics will not be the only determining factor whether Nintendo sinks or swims this time.
Leatherhat on July 6th, 2012 3pm. Vita sales:"3 mil for COD 2 mil for AC. Maybe more. " thehusbo on July 6th, 2012 5pm. Vita sales:"5 mil for COD 2.2 mil for AC."