State of the Nintendo Wii 2 Rumors - What is suggested and my practical predictions

Bill Loguidice's picture

As mentioned a few days back, rumors about a pending Nintendo Wii successor have been flying fast and furious, led no doubt by the dramatic lack of new game releases and overall declining sales for the worldwide console market leader. The first round of Nintendo Wii price cuts has already taken place, going from $199.99 to $169.99 at many major retailers. More cuts, no doubt, will be on the way. So, what is the present state of the rumor mill? Right now, here's what the most ambitious of the rumors are suggesting:

  • An HD console with slightly more power than either the Xbox 360 or PS3.
  • A controller with a 6" HD touch screen and camera that is capable of streaming all content from the console (in case your TV is occupied) and can also act as a secondary display for things like maps, inventory, and anything else that you'd normally have to pause a game to access.
  • The controller will feature dual analog sticks and a full complement of buttons.
  • A Blu-Ray drive.
  • A robust online service similar to Xbox Live.
  • Full backwards compatibilty with both the Wii and GameCube.
  • A renewed focus on the type of core games that are presently found on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, making cross-platform ports practical.
  • An additional, unknown gimmick/hook similar to the impact the Wii's motion controllers had when that launched.

All this for an "any day now" or E3 announcement, and a Japanese launch in mid-2012, with the rest of the world to follow by late 2012.

With the above pie-in-the-sky rumors noted, here is what I believe would be more like reality if any of that is to be practical, meaning hitting a price point between $249.99 and $399.99, and Nintendo making a nice profit (though I'm suspecting $349.99 will be the actual target):

  • An HD console with slightly more power than either the Xbox 360 or PS3.
  • A controller with a 6" touch screen and camera that is capable of streaming all content from the console (in case your TV is occuppied) and can also act as a secondary display for things like maps, inventory, and anything else that you'd normally have to pause a game to access. Note how I didn't say HD touch screen. I believe it will be similar to how the iPhone 4's screen is just really, really beautiful (reitna display), but not what we'd consider a traditional HD resolution. The "HD" part will simply be marketing speak for a really nice looking screen, like "4G" on cell phones is really just marketing speak for "faster than 3G" rather than descriptive of true 4G service.
  • The controller will feature dual analog sticks and a full complement of buttons.
  • A DVD drive. A Blu-Ray drive would add additional unecessary cost and would really only be a benefit if Nintendo embraced movie playback, which they've never done in the past.
  • An online service somewhere between Sony's offering for the PS3 and Xbox Live, sort of like a souped up version of what is hinted at at present on the 3DS.
  • Full backwards compatibility with the Wii (it will no longer be necessary to be GameCube compatible, as that could be part of the new Virtual Console service; it COULD be GameCube compatible, however, assuming it doesn't present any additional problems or represent unecessary costs, so I'm not really sure on this one since in theory the new controller layout would mitigate needing legacy GameCube controller ports).
  • A renewed focus on the type of core games that are presently found on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, making cross-platform ports practical. This is a given--Nintendo has mastered the production and sale of evergreen family-style titles, now they just need to seal the deal by catering to fussy core gamers as well.
  • No additional gimmick/hook. This is for practical reasons, because if you have such a sophisticated, costly controller, you need to make sacrifices elsewhere. I find it unlikely they could have such an advanced controller and on top of that include another groundbreaking feature. With that said, I wouldn't consider that type of controller groundbreaking, but it would at least be interesting. The ability to stream to the controller would be pretty much useless in my opinion, outside of the aforementioned ability to display info you'd normally have to pause the console to access or clutter up the main screen with.
  • Storage is not really addressed in any of the rumors. I can see it going one of several ways. First, is include an 8GB - 32GB high speed SD card. Another is to include a 128GB SSD drive. While the former is practical now in volume, the latter will be practical in volume by the time of the system's intended mid-2012 release. A smaller capacity SD card may be a viable option assuming more focus is put on streaming, a la what Netflix or OnLive do, rather than focus on onboard storage. This all depends upon how much Nintendo is willing to gamble on the general availability of high speed Internet.

So, what do you guys think? I'd love to hear your thoughts on both the rumors floating around and my own take on what form the system would have to take given the current scuttlebutt.

Comments

clok1966
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wel the Gimic/hook would be

wel the Gimic/hook would be the touchscreen controler, its been done somewhat with the Dreamcast and the ability to do it with the PSP, not touch i agree, but the adme thingin theory. As for BluRay, im not sure Nintendo can skip it, Many game developers are already "in hate" of the DVD for storage concerns. RIght now they have pushed the graphic envelope amost as far as possilbe without upping t he costs dramticialy. Consoles are always at least 1-2 years behind mainstream PC video standards and the Wii was behind about 5. The cheapest way to upgrade is textures, and DVD drives dont let you do it on any large (most nowdays) games. BlueRay drives right now in large quanities (like a console) wouldnt add more than $20 a mahcine. That is alot, but in the big scheme, Nintendo is already thought of as Kiddy and behind graphics wise, they really need to step up if they want the "hardcore/Major" game players, and thats going to take some "buzz words".

Of course Nintendo has walkled its own path, which almost maed it a third stringer once, holding the cart standard to long, sticking to its in house games to keep the console afloat (gamecube) all big mistakes. In all reality the Wii was as much luck as it was brillant timing. Nintendo didnt have anything to lose, they swung hard and made one of the biggest gambles in console history. And it paid off huge! problem was the flaws grew far more easy to see as it aged, and Nintendo is paying now. Poor sales, no third party support (again that is really the 3rd parties issues in not seeing the Wii had a chance, and playing catch up late int he game by shoveling out crap).

Personally I dont think nintendo can play 3rd best tech (not counting gimics) again. A tiny upgrade over the 360/PS3 a year or two before those two come with new hardware will help some.. but as sales are showing, slow and steady wins the race in the end, the PS3 will (or has if you belive some sites) pass the 360 this year in sales worldwide and it had a DISMALL first year, started a year later, didnt have the 20%+ percent fail rate to inflate its numbers (no matter what anybody tells you MS counts every singel 360, failed or not as sold). Of course hardware isnt where the money is, its attach rate.. Im pretty sure the 360 may be winning this. Nintendo has a very bad one, and last i saw the 360 was at like 9 games per system, the Ps3 was 5 and the Wii was around 3 (this was maybe a year ago or more).

Nintendo knows the market it seems, and the gimics when they work, seem to draw in the sales. I think Nintendo knows this, now they just need to tap the Adult market some, and build some long lasting appeal.

Bill Loguidice
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If you're interested in

If you're interested in things like attach rate and what-not, this Gamasutra article provides an excellent analysis: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6350/npd_behind_the_numbers_march_...

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Matt Barton
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The Blu-Drive option is

The Blu-Drive option is interesting, though I'll probably sit this one out since I still don't have a TV capable of taking advantage of it.

Seems like if you're going to go that crazy over a controller, you'd just find a way to make the 3DS a controller option. Didn't they do something like that for one of their earlier portables? (Could be mis-remembering here). I'm also not clear how "full backwards compatibility" will be possible with such a radical new controller design. I'm guessing you'll have to spring for "classic" controllers if you want to play a Wii game?

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Bill Loguidice
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Matt Barton wrote:

The Blu-Drive option is interesting, though I'll probably sit this one out since I still don't have a TV capable of taking advantage of it.

I could of course be wrong, but I think of all my predictions, going with a DVD drive that can't play movies is one of the safest bets.

Matt Barton wrote:

Seems like if you're going to go that crazy over a controller, you'd just find a way to make the 3DS a controller option. Didn't they do something like that for one of their earlier portables? (Could be mis-remembering here). I'm also not clear how "full backwards compatibility" will be possible with such a radical new controller design. I'm guessing you'll have to spring for "classic" controllers if you want to play a Wii game?

That will indeed be interesting. In theory, with the right design, it could perhaps snap apart and become a regular Wii Motion+ controller for true Wii compatibility, and when docked, work like a regular controller with the touch screen and camera. It's also not entirely unprecedented to combine a traditional controller and motion controller--it's how the regular PS3 controllers work, they're regular Dualshocks with the addition of basic motion sensing.

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Bill Loguidice
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IGN's Updates on the Rumors for 04/21/2011

http://gear.ign.com/articles/116/1163325p1.html

QUOTE More details of Nintendo's forthcoming console, codenamed Project Cafe aka Wii 2, have been revealed to IGN, including the system's estimated pricing, release, console design, processing architecture, and name.

According to sources with knowledge of the project, Nintendo's next console could have a retail cost of anywhere between $350 and $400, and will ship from Taiwanese manufacturer, Foxconn, this October, putting the earliest possible retail release anywhere between mid-October and early November.

However, Nintendo could also opt to build up a sizable supply of the system and allocate more time for software and games development by launching in early 2012. Similarly, Nintendo could attempt to lower the retail price of the system with lower profit margins to make the price more alluring.

Since the manufacturing is taking place in Taiwan, the earthquakes and tsunami that hit Japan last month will not impact the console hardware as previously expected.

Additionally, IGN has learned that the system will be based on a revamped version of AMD's R700 GPU architecture, not AMD's Fusion technology as previously believed, which will, as previously reported, out perform the PlayStation 3's NVIDIA 7800GTX-based processor. Like the Xbox 360, the system's CPU will be a custom-built triple-core IBM PowerPC chipset, but the clocking speeds will be faster. The system will support 1080p output with the potential for stereoscopic 3D as well, though it has not been determined whether that will be a staple feature.

In terms of the design of the console itself, the overall size will be comparable to that of the original Xbox 360 and the system is likely to resemble a modernized version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

As reported last week, it will indeed utilize controllers with integrated touchscreens and be capable of streaming games to each controller, though given the power of the system, could also feasibly provide a virtualized console for each individual unit.

Finally, Nintendo is considering naming the console Stream, though it is potentially one of several names currently being vetted by the company.

We contacted Nintendo representatives, but they declined to comment on "rumors or speculation."

For more on Project Cafe, stay tuned to IGN.com. END QUOTE

Everything is pretty plausible, though I would be shocked if the price exceeded $350 (unless it contained two controllers, for instance), and I seriously doubt anything about its looks will remind of the Super NES...

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Bill Loguidice
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Talk about a

Talk about a non-rumor--Microsoft and Sony will release their next consoles in 2014: http://www.gamefocus.ca/?nav=new&nid=13798

Gee, you think?

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Bill Loguidice
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More rumor-mill "proof" that

More rumor-mill "proof" that it's more and more likely that the only new gimmick will be the screens-on-the-controller thing: http://www.maxconsole.net/content.php?45745&s=a729758cf24474353f9f23acf3...

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Lorfarius
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I think what people need to

I think what people need to remember is Nintendo rarely go for the high end of cost when it comes to developing these systems. Whatever we get will be made from cheap and readily available parts they can mass produce so when it comes to the likes of HD storage expect a middling yet affordable solution.

Bill Loguidice
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Where there's smoke, there's fire

Well, the rumors were indeed correct: http://wii.ign.com/articles/116/1163764p1.html

2012 release with as-of-yet unconfirmed rumors of "significantly" more power than PS3 or 360, and it will feature a tablet-shaped touch-screen controller with dual analog sticks. We'll see what other details play out. The official reveal will be at E3.

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