[Games] New Wii or Not New Wii? That is the Question

Could Nintendo be readying a new home console?

Edge certainly seem to think so.

As they report, THQ’s president let slip at a conference that something might be in the works. It would certainly make sense. The Wii’s sales are declining, and its dismal attach rate doesn’t look set to improve. On top of that Kinnect and Move, with their new-fangled technology and HD graphics, are making the GameCube-based Wii look decidedly last-gen. It could well be time for something a bit more powerful. I’m guessing they’ll go an iterative improvement, with more powerful hardware and an updated controller (wireless nunchuck anyone?) that retains full backwards compatibility. A kind of Wii-Plus if you like. Nintendo will be super-keen to retain the casual crowd they’ve sucked in so far – and an all new device that leaves those old Wii discs obsolete would be a big turn off.

That would suggest that the new machine will be DVD-based. I’m betting the big-N won’t follow Sony and install Blu-Ray. The Wii’s never been a media centre, and I don’t expect its follow up will be either – that part of the market belongs to the PS3, and to a lesser extend the 360. I would, though, expect Nintendo to up its game when it comes to online features. The matchmaking on the Wii is poor, and the shop is badly underdeveloped. Next to PSN and Xbox Live it’s a fairly pathetic offering. Nintendo’s clearly not giving up on physical media just yet, as their commitment to the cartridge format on the DS shows, but with casual gamers now fully used to downloading titles on their iPhones and Android devices, it’s not a stretch to imagine that many full and bargain price titles will be available digitally on the new platform.

In terms of the polygon pushing capabilities, I doubt the new machine would push beyond the capabilities of the PS3 or Xbox, but HD output is an absolute must – and I’d be amazed if 3D didn’t rear its head at some point. Nintendo will be keen to keep costs down, so I’d imagine the CPU, GPU and RAM specs to be something like those of the 360. It may be six year old technology, but its still the benchmark for many gamers, and the price of hardware capable of matching the Microsoft machine’s performance is dropping all the time.

It’s also telling that Nintendo have so far refused to say whether the 3DS will be able to communicate with the Wii. It would be very strange if the two machines weren’t able to chat to one another (a la PSP and PS3) – unless of course the Wii is not long for this world. In that case Nintendo would surely focus their cross-platform efforts on the new home console.

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Categories: Games

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [Tech] It’s Coming – Wii 2 Set for E3 « TGIGreeny.com - April 15, 2011

    […] as I reported some time ago, the momentum behind rumours of a replacement for Nintendo’s Wii are starting to gain […]

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