Wii 2 May Debut At E3

By  |  Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Well, this might explain this week’s rumored Wii price cut: Both Game Informer and IGN cite unnamed sources who say Nintendo will reveal a Wii successor at this year’s E3 trade show in June.

Neither story provides much detail. IGN’s Jim Reilly writes that the new Nintendo console is “significantly more powerful” than Sony’s Playstation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and will be backwards-compatible with the Wii. Game Informer’s Matthew Kato says he’s heard conflicting reports on whether the console will match its rivals on performance, and can’t confirm backwards compatibility.

Both journalists agree that the console will support high definition gaming, and that Nintendo is showing off the console to publishers in preparation for a 2012 launch, although IGN also says there will be a “pre-announcement” this month.

So far, ho hum. Rumors of a Wii HD date back to 2008. (At the time, What They Play’s John Davison wrote that the console would arrive by 2011.) With the Nintendo 3DS launch out of the way, and the Wii losing momentum against the competition, it’s high time for new hardware. I’d be surprised if Nintendo didn’t have a new console to show — or at least announce — at E3.

But there’s one other nugget in IGN’s report that seems like a major curveball: Nintendo’s intent, Reilly writes, “is to recapture the hardcore market.”

Say what?

The Wii was a success because it ignored the hardcore market. In 2008, Nintendo carried the video game industry on its back with hits like Wii Play, Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii. That’s what led Sony and Microsoft to build their own motion controllers. I understand that Nintendo has alienated its core audience with the Wii, but I’m skeptical that Nintendo is building a new console just to get that market back.

Anyway, I probably shouldn’t be reading into this so much. We’ll probably hear more chatter as E3 gets close. It’s tradition.

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