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Nintendo Wii 2: Desperation or Masterstroke?

To see that not all is sunshine and light at Nintendo you just have to look a little closer. Remember that addendum in the official Wii 2 press release: "Sales of this new system have not been included in the financial forecasts announced today for the fiscal term ending March 2012."

Nintendo is desperately trying to prove itself to investors and gamers. The Wii may have sold 86m units, at least 'on a consolidated shipment basis', but much of that momentum came in the console's early years. A time when it was virtually impossible to find a Wii in stock anywhere in the world. Since then interest in the console has stagnated, its rivals have more advanced equivalents of its movement controller technology and for use on more powerful consoles. In the past a casual gamer may have chosen the Wii, but now why bother when both casual and hardcore gaming needs can now be satisfied by Microsoft and Sony?

Nintendo also claims it has been affected by the strength of the yen with the company admitting it has "large cash deposits and other assets in foreign countries" which have been negatively hit when they are converted to yen for its quarterly results. Regardless, Nintendo's financial figures do not make for good reading. Last October it reported a $24.7m net loss. This week the Christmas period saw it return to a profit of $146m (12 billion yen), but that was still hugely down on the 59.9bn yen ($722.2m) it made during the same period last year. According to its consolidated results net income is also down 66 per cent and operating profit has fallen 52 per cent.

Nintendo does boast profitability will increase with the global release of the 3DS, but that only serves to illustrate how little life the Wii has left and how mimimal its impact now is. It could be argued the Wii 2 has a two year head start only because Nintendo had no choice. The Wii's lifespan has proved short once the other consoles evolved to become its rivals.

In the current economic climate it also raises the question whether the public have the appetite to buy another console this year? Especially one which is unlikely to offer any great performance advantages over machines they already own.

Even the 3D aspect Nintendo is heavily promoting with the 3DS is unlikely to be continued with the Wii 2. "It’s difficult to make 3D images a key feature, because 3D televisions haven’t obtained wide acceptance yet,” said Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. He may be right, but if talk of the new controllers having screens is true omitting 3D entirely would limit the crossover appeal of the two. And what of the controllers themselves: the Wii 2 console may well be cheap, but what will be the cost of additional controllers and will they add complexity that alienates the mainstream audience Nintendo worked so hard to build up in the first place?

Yes indeed, everyone has a good CV and a bad CV. Neither is completely true, they never are. What is beyond dispute though, is while Microsoft and Sony will be nervous about Nintendo's plans Nintendo will be having just as many sleepless nights – if not more…


April 27, 2011, 1:26 pm

For me the worry isn't the hardware, but the games.
Nintendo haven't created any new game franchises in a long time, Look at the line up for the 3DS nearly all of the released games are remakes or sequels!
Its good to see them creating a new control pad as it will hopefully encourage publishers to release their games on the Wii 2 as well, especially if it's similar spec as the competition.


April 27, 2011, 3:57 pm

"More specific speculation is difficult. Kotaku reports the Wii 2 will have an eight button controller with 6.2in screen and a camera."

While the screen might add some DS style functionality it is the presence of dual-analogues that interests me, because it tells me that Nintendo intend to use their two year head-start by competing with the 360 and PS3 in mainstream console gaming, assisted by a more powerful console capable of accepting easy ports from other platforms.



April 27, 2011, 9:51 pm

@Gordon "In the current economic climate it also raises the question whether the public have the appetite to buy another console this year?"

It's not coming out this year, though I agree appetite has maybe gone, I have said this before with the numerous DS iterations. Nintendo has to back up their quality hardware with games as well as boldly introducing new IP's as @sapporadan mentioned.

Competition wise the other two will wait for this move, maybe then Sony will have added a pinch of salt to PSN LOL.

Personally my Wii is going nowhere and is played daily albeit fitness games, never even touched Mario Galaxy, to some this may sound criminal.


April 28, 2011, 3:42 am

Ive loved Nintendo for years. Being 28 Ive been lucky enough to have grown up with the company in it's golden age.

Having owned all of their consoles I have to say that the Wii has been the biggest disappointment for me but I think the rot started with the Gamecube. The Nintendo games have always been there but 3rd party efforts have weakened considerably over the years.

Anyway, when the Wii was released I always expected Nintendo to make a move a good year or two earlier than Sony and Microsoft. Possible 3 years ealier if Sony stick to their 2015 promise made a year or so back. My problem with this new Ninendo effort is that Im 99% certain that it will ignore what I want most from a console - for it to be a killer media centre. 360 and PS3 opened the door but either lacked features or wasnt intuitive. I hope the next gen nail it with huge hard drives for media storage, proper wireless integration, etc of the bat.

So, while Im pretty certain gaming wise this will be a great progression from the Wii - that possible controller looks fantastic with heaps of potential - I still think it will fall some way short of the non gaming possibilities of the current gen consoles let alone the next gen Sony and Microsoft efforts.


April 30, 2011, 1:54 am

Desperation or masterstroke? to be honest nintendo haven't smacked of desperation for a very long time.
Asking them to release this with full digital connections is a none given,however say they release this on a holiday with mario universes and resort hd,with a new zelda and metroid to follow then yes that would be a masterstroke.

@jones i couldnt disagree more,the gameube may have lacked in amount of titles but they had dozens of killer games,without trying to sound offensive you sound like an xbox owner(more the merrier),gamecube titles have set the standards we still expect.
Also your not much of a business man,a 1tb hdd is about £35 put it in a special nintendo cage and then charge £80 for the pleasure,it's true ps3 and xbox have become far more than a games machine and need to recoup loses also noones crying out for a new gen,the production cost and time may well cripple man software houses.

@gordon?who needs to bu another console this year?hang on its been 5 years since a console was released thats hardly crowding a market is it and if anything needed some form of update it was the wii,my niece told me hers came with a cookie cutter until i went round and realised she ment a scart lead.


May 2, 2011, 4:23 am

@ the Editor, Americans "take" a look, British "have" a look. This is a British site, can we keep the header text British please?


May 2, 2011, 4:31 am

@betelgeus - no offense taken but Im struggling to see the relevance in whether Im an xbox owner or not! Other than the PS1/2 and Saturn (not including any of the also rans here) I have owned (and mostly still do) all of the consoles released since the NES.

Maybe my problem is that Im largely getting bored with gaming on the whole. My iPad satisfies most gaming these days to be honest. 1st person shooters, for example, got a little boring to me shortly after Goldeneye though Time Splitters 2 on the cube was great for the old multiplayers. Nothing really stood out about the Gamecube for me other some pretty dire ISS effort. The same is true of the Wii (again, in my opinion). Both offered some decent nights entertainment but neither system had a game that gripped me from start to finish.

I look forward to the new machine Im just fairly certain it isnt going to deliver what I want from a console. The 3rd party games will continue to be lacking and Nintendo will continue to spit out the usual franchises (though usually great games). I want more than something that "just plays games".


May 4, 2011, 5:49 pm

Good grief, I really don't want the next Nintendo console to be a "killer media centre".
I am very much against "one system" for everything (converged device or whatever). For the most basic reason of: when that system breaks, you're f**ked. Also mostly ends up being a case of "jack of all trades, master of none".

Friend of mine's been whining about lack of MKV support on PS3 for months (possibly years). I have no idea if they've added it since, as haven't spoken to him for a while, but the £65 WDTV player I grabbed off Amazon runs them fine.

Anyway, I'm drifting (as usual). I disagree with Jones's need for a games device to be a killer media centre (Sony tried to deliver that and failed PLUS people complained about the price anyway, so didn't appreciate it).

I do think betelgeus came on a bit strong with xbox gamer quips though :P.

As for the article, good and fairly weighed, although I realise the second half was supposed to be "negative" but disagree with any assumption that Nintendo "had no choice" but to release a new home console. The Wii has fulfilled the 5year life cycle which Nintendo have usually stuck to, and I doubt their plans have changed much. The 10 year cycle was a bit of publicity/marketing drummed up by Sony anyway when the PS1 went on to survive 10 years in the market (this was a fluke). Heck there are still random Japanese studios making shooters for the Dreamcast (or there were last year), but no one publicises that. The PS2 was dropped by everyone serious a couple of years ago and Sony were just dragging its carcase behind their E3 bus whenever they set out. Harsh, but true.

Also, let's not forget Nintendo always makes a profit on hardware. The other 2 need to string things along a bit as it takes them at least 1-2 years to start breaking even/making profit on HW.

Right, with that cleared up, E3 will certainly be exciting :D.


May 4, 2011, 8:33 pm

>> Good grief, I really don't want the next Nintendo console to be a "killer media centre".

Good for you!!, then don't use the features if it appears.

The thing is, it's unlikely to be a "killer media centre" anyway, the PS3 and XBox360 could already be this, the hardware has plenty of grunt to play anything you throw at it, but Microsoft & Sony choose not to go this route, probably due to Cooperate politics / licencing etc. Currently for both systems transcoding is the only option, that then requires a PC :(

Your "one system" for everything argument seems a bit odd here too, consoles are not exactly expensive are they?

IOW: Although not likely to happen, if Nintendo did create a next gen console with WDTV capabilities surely that wouldn't be a bad thing.


May 5, 2011, 7:56 pm

if enough people say your comments are offensive then they must be,i'll try to rephrase it,i didnt say you where an xbox fan but our comments brought to mind what i usually hear from xbox fans.i guess even that is offensive.

i still think the "all in one is the pc" therefore the extra expenditure on massive hdd for any system will hurt the pocket,manufacturers make up money on accessories.

saying all that i will buy this one day one even if they only offer updated wii games.

gamecube- re4,eternal darkness,metroid prime,wave race,twilight princess,pikmin,super smash,rogue squadron etc etc.

wii=mario galx 1 and 2 thats £200 well spent in my case.


May 5, 2011, 8:03 pm

again i'll try to clarify,since the xbox was a cheap server many people want just the one system and to many millions the xbox 360 is ideal,however i still think the parts are cheaper on a pc,thats what i mean by "xbox user"


May 5, 2011, 8:07 pm

also i think the reason most large oems dont support mkv is because they may be deemed to be supporting piracy and its not worth the law suits to them.


May 5, 2011, 8:21 pm

But then you do wonder how WDTV and many other media players can.


May 6, 2011, 12:55 pm

This will be the first Nintendo home console I don't buy at launch in a while. Mario, Zelda and Metroid aren't enough any more for me to buy a console for.

I don't know why people think Nintendo have always made underpowered consoles just because of the Wii. The GC was easily more powerful than the PS2. And it had some totally awesome games as betelgeus said. More me Metroid Prime and Resident Evil 4 were easily the two best games of the last generation.

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