With the most recent reports from all the media outlets forecasting a new console coming soon to replace the aging Nintendo Wii, we wanted to re-cap on the latest buzz and to make an educated guess at what we will be seeing in the near future from Nintendo regarding an upcoming Wii console. For now for the sake of identification, although not confirmed, we will call this new console the Wii 2.
What will be the new Nintendo console called
For the most part, there seem to be a consensus from the media that point out that the replacement for the Nintendo Wii will be called Wii 2. However, this one is a tough one to call. Nintendo has had a history of changing names ranging from very basic description, Such as SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) to names that describe the form of the device (Gamecube). Nintendo does not seem to follow consistency within console generation like their competitors.
Another name that has been speculated greatly is the Nintendo Wii HD. Since it's expected that the Wii's successor will have support for HD outputs, the HD name seems to fit perfectly. However, this name is dependent on the fact that HD support will come with the new device, which at this point, is pretty much hear say.
Finally, it has also been rumored that the new Nintendo console will be codenamed "Project Butterfly". So far this is the name that we have the least information on. It only seems to be appearing reported on some magazines and forums on the net.
What features will the new Nintendo Wii 2 have
As we mentioned before, the new Nintendo Wii 2 console has been rumored to support HD output. The gaming industry has criticized Nintendo for not keeping up with the trend of supporting HD, which competitors Sony and Microsoft have followed. Also coupled with the fact that HDTVs are becoming more and more popular, it feels as though Nintendo is falling behind by not upgrading its existing console. The higher ups at Nintendo have not denied nor confirmed the HD feature of the Wii 2, they just keep on holding any information as late as they can arguing that they want to really set themselves apart from the competition. In a recent interview, the President of Nintendo Satoru Iwata declared:
"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. Will you be surprised by our completed product if we told you how it is surprising three years in advance? Therefore, we basically disclose information on our products as late as possible."
It has also been heavily rumored that the HD support will more than likely mean also support for Blu-ray technology on the upcoming Nintendo platform. However, since the model of distribution of games seem to be slowly shifting from regular disks to digital format, we really don't feel too strongly about Blu-ray support. Nintendo could as well support distribution of digital downloads to boost its HD features, without the need to add additional Blu-ray technologies to the new device.
This brings another feature that has been heavily speculated for the Wii 2: Bigger storage. This is actually a feature that is likely to be added not only to support digital distribution of games, but to remain competitive with the PS3 and the Xbox 360. The first Wii's SD card support always felt rudimentary and tokenistic, not really designed to keep up with the explosion of downloadable games from the Wii Store anyway. Quite possibly, it'll be a small, low-power solid state drive rather than an energy-hungry, noisy hard drive – but that depends on the current sky-high price of SSDs coming down enough to be viable.
If Nintendo is really planning to have support for HD on the upcoming Wii, it will have to bring out the product soon, because if the price of the PS3 drops below $299, Nintendo will have a tough time in putting a competitive price tag on the Wii. Add to that the fact that the PlayStation Move Controller can now provide the same gaming experience to users as the Wii, and you will end up with a product from Nintendo that really does not differentiate itself from its competitors.
NGamer, has shared in its latest issue that the new Nintendo Wii 2 console is planned to be something that last for LIFE. Instead of buying a new console every year a new generation comes up, all you need to do is buy a new component that just upgrades it. Also, other rumors have lead to believe that the Wii could have a projector built in, so no external TV will be required, but in our humble opinion, if this feature was to be added, it will add a lot of overhead to the final product and the price would not remain competitive, so we would bet there will be no projector included in the Wii 2.
Another exciting feature that has been rumored for the upcoming Wii 2 is the support of 3D gaming. Nintendo has been experimenting with this technology for years and although has not always been successful at gaining mass acceptance, they have certainly gained enough experience to deliver a technology that could compete with the existing 3D available on the PS3 and the Xbox 360.
Finally, and we thought this is a given, it has been rumored that the new Wii 2 will have better motion controllers and a better sensor bar. This is of course something that we expected to hear given the fact that competitors have adopted similar technologies and to keep competitive Nintendo will have to make it worth it for users to get a new Wii 2. Sony's Playstation Move and Microsoft's Kinect seem to have improved the original concepts that the Wii brought to the table, so if Nintendo wants to remain competitive, they will have to get back to the drawing board to deliver an innovative product that appeals to the mass market.
When will be the Wii 2 be released
The Nintendo Wii 2 has not been officially announced by the company. Perhaps because of the fact that Nintendo wants to keep any details under wraps as much as possible, but after a cycle analysis of Nintendo products, the media has once again speculated that a new Wii 2 is coming in the near future. Some media outlets such as T3 and Slashgear have rumored that the Wii 2 might be announced at E3 in June and some heavy weights in the gaming world have hinted that is time for the Wii to get a facelift and that it's slowly becoming a legacy platform. The industry seems to point that if the Wii does not upgrade soon (like this year!!) will be left behind and will have to play catch up with its competitors.
In a recent interview with Kotaku, Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America, has suggested that the existing Wii console would have to continue selling several million units before a new Wii version is announced: "After we've reached an installed base of 45 million here in the U.S., we can have a conversation about the next generation.". He also declared that the existing Wii has a long way to go before it reaches the intended targets.
These are the rumors that we could gather so far, however, we are sure that in the coming weeks or even months there will be much more to come, so stay tuned to get the latest information on the upcoming Nintendo Wii 2.