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New, more powerful Nintendo console for $400?

The combo of AMD's R700 GPU and a triple-core IBM PowerPC CPU could allow the Wii's successor to accommodate games that are visually superior to those for Xbox 360 and PS3, IGN reports.

What does Nintendo have planned for its next console?
What does Nintendo have planned for its next console?

A boatload of rumored details have emerged on what Nintendo's next console could offer.

Citing anonymous sources, IGN reported yesterday that Nintendo's upcoming console, code-named Project Cafe, could hit store shelves as early as October with a starting price of $350 to $400.

For that price, customers will get a 1080p-capable console that's about the size of Microsoft's original Xbox 360 and comes with the R700 GPU from Advanced Micro Devices, IGN is reporting. That, combined with a triple-core IBM PowerPC CPU, could make Nintendo's upcoming console capable of accommodating games that are visually superior to those on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the sources say.

For years now, reports have been swirling that Nintendo would be launching a new console in 2011. The company's current hardware, the Wii, has been extremely popular around the world, easily besting the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in total sales. However, the device lacks HD gaming and doesn't offer the same graphical capabilities as its counterparts, which Nintendo is seemingly addressing with its upcoming console.

Nintendo's improvements won't just stop at the console. Last week, reports cropped up with information on a new Nintendo controller, featuring a more traditional design with two analog sticks and action buttons. The controller would reportedly include a 6.2-inch touch screen, as well as a camera.

The reports claim that the touch screen will be used to extend the gameplay experience users are engaging in through the console. Players might also be able to play games on that controller while another title is being played on the television.

Last week, IGN reported that Nintendo's new controller could retail for as much as $80.

Not everyone is so sure that the next Nintendo console, which according to IGN's sources, could be named Stream, will be successful. In an interview with IndustryGamers earlier this year, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said that Nintendo's potential decision to release a console with HD support in 2011 would be too little, too late.

"I just think Nintendo's blown it; I think by the time they launch [their next console] if it's Christmas 2011, it's two years too late, and for sure one year too late," Pachter said.

Even so, Nintendo's next console will reportedly sit on store shelves for a long time before it's forced to face new hardware from Sony or Microsoft. Yesterday, video game blog Kotaku cited "industry sources," who claim neither Sony nor Microsoft is planning to release new versions of their consoles until 2014.

Nintendo did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.