The price of the Nintendo Wii has fallen from $199 to $169.99 at major U.S. retailers like Gamestop, Amazon, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Target and others. The $30 price-cut is fueling the speculation and rumors regarding an E3 announcement of a successor to the Wii at E3 2011 in June.
The rumors parade kicked off last week, with unnamed sources saying that a price-drop for the Wii was imminent, specifically, that $50 would be sliced off the retail price on May 15. How (or if) today's cost-chopping relates to a potential bigger bargain coming in a couple weeks isn't clear... but I'd consider waiting a month before buying a Wii, just in case.
The revelation of the supposed price-drop led to the speculation that it was part of a Nintendo strategy to reveal their next generation of console at the Electronic Entertainment Expo to be held between June 7 and 9 in Los Angeles. Essentially clearing the shelves of old Wiis before the new one has its coming out party at E3.
Later that same day last week, a couple high profile media outlets (Kotaku and Game Informer) cited their own unnamed sources who not only confirmed the next Nintendo console would be announced at E3, but also had some technical information about how powerful the system would be and a release window (2012) for the rumored device. Here's what the rumor mills say about the Wii 2:
- The Wii 2 will be "more powerful than current-gen systems."
- will feature higher resolution graphics than the Wii (I'd hope so!).
The final, and most interesting, piece of Wii 2 rumor comes from, of all places, France, where website 01net.com went as far as giving the machine a codename: Codename Cafe. According to the French site, the Cafe will be powered by a “custom IBM PowerPC with three cores," an ATI-built GPU, and will sport at least 512MB in memory, putting it on-par with a 360. It will also reportedly be backwards compatible with both Wii and the Gamecube games.
Even more revolutionary than a graphically powerful Nintendo console is the advance word on the device's controller. The device, supposedly, combines the high-res display and touchscreen of an iPhone with the sticks and buttons of a traditional controller. Supposedly, you'll be able to stream full games from your Codename Cafe directly to your controller, to, apparently, take them on the go.
Nintendo has been almost entirely mum on the matter, issuing blanket "We don't comment on rumor and speculation" response to media queries, so for now, we're left with rumors, possibilities, analyst-analysis and fan created mock-ups of what the device's controller will look like.
In my opinion, there's a huge amount of smoke here, making it seem increasingly more likely that there is, in fact, a fire coming at E3. But don't take my word for it. I asked professional gaming prognosticator Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter about the rumors of the Wii 2, and while Pachter didn't have any firsthand knowledge of the device, he said, "Everything I know about Wii 2 I learned from the media, and they assure me that developers are getting SDKs now, so it sounds pretty true to me."
Obviously we'll let you know if we find out anything else, and I'll take this oppurtunity to remind you that if Nintendo announced anything at E3 2011, from a new console to a new Vitality Sensor, G4 will be all over it, as soon as it happens. We're planning massive, wall-to-wall E3 coverage, so keep your TV tuned to G4 and your browser pointed here during E3 week.