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Nintendo Wii 2: Desperation or Masterstroke?

Gordon Kelly


The Good CV

'Everyone has a good CV and a bad CV'. This was some of the best advice I have ever received. The point is nearly anything can be seen in a positive or negative light and never was this truer than with Nintendo's official announcement of its next generation Wii.

"We will show a playable model of the new system and announce more specifications at the E3 Expo, which will be held June 7-9, 2011, in Los Angeles" said the company in a remarkably short press release. "Sales of this new system have not been included in the financial forecasts announced today for the fiscal term ending March 2012," it added vitally – but more of that later.

We can't deny the news is exciting, so let's first take a look at the 'Good CV'. Nintendo arguably won the last round of console wars. To date the Xbox and PS3 have each shipped around 50m units while the Wii has sold 86.01m "on a consolidated shipment basis between its launch in 2006 and the end of March 2011" according to Nintendo's own statement. 'Consolidated' or not, that's a staggering figure and arguably all the more impressive because Nintendo achieved it by daring to be different.

The genius of the Wii is it was never a rival to the Xbox or PS3. It let the two hardware heavyweights fight it out while targeting a casual audience. It wooed them with low pricing and an innovative control system now aped by Sony's Move and Microsoft's Kinect. The cost of developing these accessories has led to widespread reports that neither Sony or Microsoft will replace their consoles until 2014. By daring to be different Nintendo now looks to have a two year head start.

What about the Wii 2/Wiiii itself? With its predecessor being such a low technological barrier to beat it would seem Nintendo can't go wrong. Just increasing the power of the new Wii to match the Xbox and PS3 would see Wii games transformed. Tweak it a little further and it may even win over hardcore gamers bored waiting for the evolution of their consoles.

More specific speculation is difficult. Kotaku reports the Wii 2 will have an eight button controller with 6.2in screen and a camera. This would work in addition to the existing Wii Remote-style controllers and could see DS-esque gameplay innovations come to the living room. Given the Wii 2 will inevitably support high definition as well, the multimedia applications would be limitless.

Could Microsoft and Sony this time find themselves not only years behind, but again chasing their tails trying to mimic yet another revolutionary control system? Quite possibly. Backwards compatibility with existing Wii titles is also surely guaranteed and what if Nintendo launches with an RRP below both the Xbox and PS3? The outlook is extremely rosy.

Then again, what about the 'Bad CV'?

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