Iwata Asks: Can you be patient?

There was a time when each of The Big Three offered something a little different with their respective consoles. With motion-control billed as the main event at this generation of home consoles, Nintendo can take pride that it was the company that warmed up for the evening, and that it's still going strong today. So what can we expect from the Wii's successor then? Well, it looks like we're going to have to wait a while longer before we find out because that's the price we pay for innovative ideas being kept secret from the competition.

During the last general meeting of shareholders, Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata explained that the company is "developing new products all the time" and once a new product is released, development teams move straight onto the next project.

...we are of course studying and developing the next console to Wii. However, there is a big difference between studying a product and announcing what it is and when we will release it. I am afraid to say that the history of entertainment is also the history of imitation. A great idea will promptly be copied unless protected through patents. At the same time, it is really important for our business to positively surprise people.

Emphasis is on the "surprise" element as new products that have the inner-most details splashed about years before their release will suffer from the detrimental effects caused by such openness. Which is why Iwata prefers the release of information as late as possible:

Again, we are planning the next products for Nintendo's continuous growth, but we cannot tell you what, when and how we will release it here. Thank you for your understanding.

[source nintendo.co.jp]