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The only hardcore audience that matters to Nintendo

Rumors of the Wii's successor have sparked some discussion about Nintendo's relationship to "hardcore gamers," which I guess would be defined by most people in these discussions as dedicated gamers who want traditional, non-watered down games.

The only hardcore audience that matters to Nintendo is their own dedicated fanbase - the hardcore Nintendo fans. And before you stereotype, I'm not just talking about Nintendo fanboys on the internet who defend Nintendo to the death and hate every other console maker with a passion (though they are part of the hardcore Nintendo audience). Anyone who loves Nintendo's brand of games, whether it's their cIassic franchises like Mario or Zelda, or their new stuff, like the Wii series or Nintendogs, is part of Nintendo's most important audience.

In this sense, Nintendo has never changed. Their strategy with the Wii and DS brought in more fans (outside of the existing hardcore fanbase) than any other generation, but they've still managed to make a greater-than-average number of cIassic Nintendo games this gen. They've been going after their own hardcore fanbase all along, so to say that "now Nintendo is really going after the hardcore gamer" doesn't really make sense to me.

Nintendo is going to stick with what they do best, maybe innovate a little, who knows, but they've said for years that "faster and flashier" is a dead end, and they don't want to contribute to the rising costs of game development. Making a high-end spectacle of hardware innovation with expensive controllers to attract "hardcore" gamers doesn't seem to fit with what they've been doing.