If you haven't read/heard it yet, here's the complete quotation from NGamer magazine that GoNintendo.com posted on their website today:
"At GDC, we heard reference to Nintendo's "Project Butterfly", the intended succesor to the Wii. No specs were given, though the hardware is designed to be physically upgraded over time. As it was explained to us, by plugging in new parts it 'becomes' a new machine. It will be marketed as the antidote to Apple's yearly redesigns. One machine, for life." -Ngamer, issue 61, page 7.
The authenticity of this quote remains the question, but if its true you can be sure that this is the future of gaming we're looking at right now. Just imagine: a system for life. No more must we buy expensive consoles in order to play new gen games; instead, we buy "parts" to connect to our systems to make them updated. As a gamer who's always last gen behind, being able to buy new upgradable parts that would be extremely cheaper than buying a whole new console would be a dream to me.
But wait a minute...this sounds vaguely familiar doesn't it? Where have I seen this- oh yeah...
Oh yes, the SEGA lock-on technology. The wonderful days of connecting two systems together, temporarily upgrading it to a new "system" only to learn that you have to buy another upgrade a few years later. It was dorky, it wasn't all that popular, and it ended up costing SEGA more money than they gained from it. Probably the reason why they didn't even bother upgrading the Dreamcast when the PS2 loomed over its shoulder with a built-in DVD player and said "Hello, I'm going to kick your butt".
But could Nintendo pull this off the right way? The technology is there, but its limited. Even if they upgraded the system every 5 years it would still look HUGE with "parts" on every inch of the system by the year 2040. And internally the graphics engine would have to be replaced every 5 years anyway, which means if you don't like to look at outdated last gen graphics for years to come then you'd have to buy a whole new system - not an add-on. If they gradually updated the graphics little by little per "part" then maybe it could work, but it wouldn't be too extremely noticable and you'd end up with a console that keeps getting bigger and bigger until it becomes that poor soul up there.
But skepticism aside, I think Nintendo could pull it off. They're still the pioneers in innovation, so I wouldn't doubt seeing something like this revealed at this year's E3. With that said, I'm ecstatic for this year's E3.