The big story of the day on the internet is the rumor that Nintendo is planning to announce the existence of a brand new home console at E3 this year. There’s some circumstantial evidence that Nintendo plans to do this (unnamed sources, mainly) and while I’m not convinced there will be fire with the internet-smoke, if the Wii 2 is in development, I thought I'd put on my swami turban and make some predictions about the system. That way, when I turn out to be totally wrong, we'll have a record of it on the website.
In a nutshell, given the success Nintendo created this generation, I think the company is unlikely to make any major changes to the business plan that made the Wii the fifth best-selling console of all time. After all, why would they? With that in mind, here’s some predictions that I think it’s logical to expect from the Nintendo Wii 2--if it exists at all--as well as few features and innovations you most likely won't see with the release of the Nintendo Wii 2.
WHAT YOU MIGHT SEE IN THE NINTENDO WII 2 (OR WII HD)
- HD graphics : This is the most obvious improvement coming to the Wii 2. Since the Wii launched, one of gamers’ main complaints about the system has been the lack of HD graphics. That obviously didn’t matter to the masses of people who lined up at Toy R’ Us to pick one up for the kids on Christmas morning, but now the tastes and television sets of average people have caught up to the tech heads, so I predict any Nintendo console that is released in the future will feature highly defined graphics. Whether, as some are reporting, the mythical Wii 2 will be more powerful, graphically than current-gen systems, I think that depends on whether it’s possible for Nintendo to do it cheaply. Which brings us to...
- A Low Price: Nintendo destroyed all comers in this generation’s console war and they did it by providing a cheap console that kids like. They’d be crazy to offer up a system that is much more expensive than the Wii was originally. In other words: $250, tops.
- Backwards Compatibility: There’s no way Nintendo will alienate the millions of gamers worldwide who purchased Wii games, so look for the company to be the world’s console leader when it comes to backwards compatible games.
- A Hard-Drive: While Nintendo’s Wii does offer SD card storage, not providing a harddrive with the system really limits what consumers can do with it, so look for any potential Wii follow-up to feature a hard-drive. It probably won’t be a very big one, but it will exist and store the DLC you’ll get from…
- A Better Online Store: WiiWare just isn’t that good. Nintendo just has to look at the cash made by Sony and Microsoft on downloadables and will want to improve their online shopping experience beyond straight ports of NES games.
- A New Controller: The hallmark of the Wii is obviously the Wiimote and now that the other console manufacturers have taken motion control and surpassed the Wii in terms of accuracy and ease-of-use, look for Nintendo to come back with a newly re-vamped controller. While the Wii was cheap, extra controllers were pretty expensive, a trend you will see continue.
- Mario Games: A ton of 'em!
WHAT YOU MIGHT NOT SEE IN THE NINTENDO WII 2 OR WII HD
- Focus On “Core” Gamers: Sorry hardcore gamers, Nintendo has left you behind and they are not going back. The company’s last console made 38 bajillion dollars by expanding the market, not by catering to the taste of hardcore gamers. That’s not their market anymore (if it ever was), and it never will be again.
- Focus On Online Play: Nintendo’s Wii has rudimentary online capabilities, but it almost feels like a begrudging afterthought. There’s little chance they’ll make their future system more complicated by including a lot of online interaction. Look at it this way: ParentS hate their kids talking to strangers online (maybe for good reason) so Nintendo isn’t going to make that their focus with their next console.
- Focus On Third Party Games: Part of the rumor surrounding the Wii 2 is that Nintendo is actively courting third-party publishers to create a strong library of non-Nintendo Wii HD (or Wii 2) games. I don’t think this sounds likely. After all, this generation, third-party games didn’t sell all that well on the Wii but first-party titles sold great. The top 13 selling Wii games are first-party and have huge numbers – Wii Play alone sold 27 million copies. Why would Nintendo actively court their own competition?
What do you guys think of my predicitions?