Nintendo is working on its next console, which may be powered by AMD

Will Nintendo suddenly be the fastest horse in the race?

Nintendo's dropped several hints that it's already looking ahead to the Wii U's successor, but it's now being a tad more explicit about its plans.

Nintendo game design chief, Shigeru Miyamoto, has confirmed that the next console is in development, and even dropped a hint about who might be helping to launch it.

"While we're busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be," he said in an interview with the Associated Press.

What makes this (mostly unsurprising) news a tad more interesting is a separate announcement that may turn out to be nothing more than a coincidence. Recently AMD CFO Devinder Kumar announced that the company had just landed two big design wins. At the time he said: "one is x86 and the other is ARM, and at least one will be beyond gaming, right. But that is about as much as you going to get out me today. From the standpoint [of being] fair to [customers], it is their product, and they launch it. They are going to announce it and then […] you will find out that it is AMD's APU that is being used in those products."

It's unclear as to exactly which ARM project he's hinting at, but if it were to appear in the Wii U we're crossing our fingers that it's the Project Skybridge SoC that was announced earlier in the year.

More likely is that the next Nintendo console will be powered by a x8 SoC like the PS4 and Xbox One, but as we're probably not going to see the platform for at least a couple more years, who really knows?

Gettin' Shiggy with it

Shigeru Miyamoto also hinted that Mario might be the one to launch the console, however the Italian plumber may get a makeover beforehand. Miyamoto explained that, like the gradual evolution of Disney's Mickey Mouse, he'd like to see the next phase of Mario tie in with the next platform.

"With each digital evolution, [Mickey Mouse] was there to usher in the next era," he said. "I think that maybe when we release the next hardware system, you can look forward to seeing Mario take on a new role in a new game."

Interesting - perhaps we'll see Nintendo go all Frank Miller by portraying a older, weathered Mario a la The Dark Knight Returns. Or maybe we'll finally get the GTA-Mario crossover game we've been pining for, with Mario trading in his hat and wrench for cigarettes, women, tasteless tattoos, and an affinity for street crime.

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