Nintendo plans to launch a slimmer Wii console in Europe that drops compatibility for Gamecube games and accessories, but it’s not coming to the United States — at least for now.
The Wii redesign will arrive this holiday season, bundled with Wii Sports, Wii Party, a Wii Remote Plus controller and a Nunchuk attachment. The console is designed to sit horizontally, and trims away the controller ports and memory card slots that supported Nintendo’s old Gamecube console. Nintendo will discontinue the old console design in Europe.
In the United States, Nintendo sellsl the existing Wii design in a $150 console bundle with Mario Kart Wii and a plastic steering wheel peripheral. The company confirmed to CNet that it has “does not currently have any plans” to bring the slimmer console stateside. (But don’t rule it out. In video game PR speak, “we have no plans” usually means “we have plans that we’re not telling you.”)
At the moment, I’m happy to see the old Wii live on in the United States, if only because Gamecube controllers come in handy for the classic SNES and Nintendo 64 games you can download from the Wii Shop. (Otherwise, those games require a $20 Classic Controller peripheral.) The Gamecube also had some great games of its own, such as Metroid Prime, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Super Smash Bros. Melee. It’d be sad to see support for those games go away, although I do wonder how many people own a library of GameCube titles but still haven’t pulled the trigger on a Wii.
Nintendo may still shake up its Wii offerings in the United States somehow, perhaps with a bigger or fresher bundle of software and accessories, if not another price cut. But I won’t shed a tear if the hardware looks the same. Besides, the Wii is still pretty svelte compared to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.