I don't think they're actually doing anything to attract a "core." I'm really not even certain what that means, like, is Nintendo trying to convince hardcore gamers on the Xbox360 and PS3 that Cafe is worth a purchase? Or are they just trying to appeal to their own personal "core" consumers?
Surely by now they must know they'll never be a company that will appeal to serious gamers, as in, Nintendo will never be seen as the place for hardcore gaming. Back on the SNES, they certainly were. The GameCube tried to be a hardcore machine, but still sold below comptitors. Hell, I think if the Dreamcast hadn't died early, it probably would've outsold the GameCube in the long run. In two years, it managed to sell half what the GameCube took 5 years to do.
I don't think Nintendo does "logic." There's zigging and zagging and then there's Nintendo. We can't even call it "zogging." It requires a weirder word. Like "splortch" or something. Zig, Zag, Splortch. Cafe sounds like it's essentially in the same league, technologically, as the X360 and PS3. I mean, if you don't think Nintendo would launch a system that would essentially be considered "last gen" for another four years, keep in mind that the DS, Wii, and even 3DS are largely "last-gen" technology.
I like the 3DS and it is powerful and all, but let's face it--it's core processor isn't that much more powerful than the PSP (with the exception that unlike the PSP, the 3DS has a GPU rather than running everything off the CPU). Aside from the 3-D aspect, pretty much everything else the 3DS does isn't a revolutionary leap in any way. Limited motion controls, gameplay involving the camera (PSP did it), the wi-fi, and touch-screen, etc. It's damn near last-gen tech... for another four years or so.
Splortch is funny because its the sound that something makes when it sinks into a mug of café.
I think your 3DS argument is spot on. The 3DS is aligned with their current core vision, and since it's almost last gen (as compared to portable PS products, not as compared to the usual portable Nintendo line) your point is very good. About the core, let me be more specific. Nintendo is going after the real core, not the Nintendo core. That's why they're looking to snag Rockstart games like GTA, which are very popular in that segment. That market is very important to them, as it is a very vocal crowd, and indicates the general coolness of a console (not its popularity mind you, but its popularity for a very vocal segment). As for Cafe, I believe its development began 2 years after 3DS, and so its vision is even more aligned with the aggressive core stance we learnt about. Then again, I'm basing myself off vision, and not off blueprints, so that's where I'm limited. But at least, my predictions are based on something for the most part, so I can stand on that for the time being.
Nintendo may not be the place to go for core or serious gamers immediately, but the direction is right, and they are a 20-year vision company (they've always said it), so I don't see a lost objective if they become a viable platform for core gamers within 2 or even 3 generations.