Tag Archives | Nintendo Wii

New Wii Bundle: Same Price, New Game, No Gamecube

Nintendo’s repackaging the Wii once again for U.S. gamers, with a slighly different design that removes Gamecube support.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Nintendo introduced a similar model for Europe a couple months ago, saying at the time that it “does not currently have any plans” to bring the console stateside. (But as I noted back then, “no plans” usually means “we have plans that we’re not telling you.” Nailed it!)

Anyway, the new Wii bundle costs $150 and includes New Super Mario Bros. Wii, a vamp on Nintendo’s classic 2D platformer that supports four players on the screen at once. It also includes the soundtrack to Super Mario Galaxy, which is a puzzling addition, but also kind of cool if you like boppy orchestral music. The console’s physical design isn’t much different from it’s predecessor, but it removes the stand that allows you to prop the Wii up vertically.

In the United States, Nintendo will continue to sell its existing Wii model and bundle, which supports Gamecube games and includes Mario Kart Wii and a Wii steering wheel. At least, that’s the story for now. In time, I expect Nintendo to phase out the backwards-compatible Wii. No one’s developed a Gamecube title in four years, and demand for backwards compatibility is surely dropping among whoever hasn’t bought a Wii yet.

Still, I’d urge anyone who’s interested in a Wii to consider the old model, and the treasure trove of great GameCube games it supports. You might want games like Metroid Prime and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker in case the novelty of motion control wears off.


Slim Wii Not Planned for U.S. (Phew)

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.

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Wii Price Drops As Wii Sports Loses Pack-In Status

The rumors were mostly right. On May 15, Nintendo will cut the price of the Wii from $200 to $150, but it’s not a straightforward price drop.

Instead, Nintendo will replace Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort with Mario Kart Wii as the pack-in game. Nintendo will also throw in one Wii wheel to enhance the kart racing experience. Wii Sports, which had been bundled with the console since the beginning, will join a handful of other games — Animal Crossing: City Folk, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Mario Super Sluggers — in a “Select” (read: budget) collection for $20 each. Wii Sports Resort will sell on its own for $40.

I’m happy to see the change for entirely selfish reasons. My Wii Sports disc went missing years ago, and it’d be nice to get a boxed copy as a replacement without spending too much money.

But for everyone else, this price cut isn’t necessarily a great deal. If you want Wii Sports and Sports Resort, you’ll pay an extra $60, bringing to total price to $210. Meanwhile, most retailers are selling the current Wii Sports and Sports Resort bundle for $170. If you’ve been eying a Wii but have no interest in Mario Kart, you might consider the current bundle while supplies last.

Or if you’re really patient, you can wait until 2012, when Nintendo will launch its next console.


Wii Vitality Sensor: Not Dead, Still Vapor

When Nintendo announced its plans for a next-generation video game console in late April, I wondered if we could unequivocally declare that the Wii Vitality Sensor was vaporware. The answer, according to Nintendo Chief Executive Satoru Iwata, is no.

In a question-and-answer on Nintendo’s website (via Eurogamer), Iwata explains that the Wii Vitality Sensor is very much a work in progress. The problem, he said, is that only 80 percent of test users felt that the sensor naturally detected their biological information. Nintendo doesn’t want to release a product until 99 percent of users feel comfortable. Iwata said “it is difficult to overcome this hurdle,” and wouldn’t commit to a launch date.

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Wii 2 May Debut At E3

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.

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Wii Price Cut Rumor: And So It Begins

Engadget’s Sean Hollister just re-kindled a great video game tradition: the pre-E3 price cut rumor.

A “trusted source” tells the blog that on May 15, Nintendo will drop the Wii’s price from $200 to $150. A May price cut would actually preempt E3, which starts on June 7, but could also set the stage for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 price cuts during the trade show.

It’s been more than a year and a half since any console maker reduced prices. Nintendo cut the Wii’s price from $250 to $200 in September 2009, just after Sony slashed prices on the PS3 from $400 to $300. Microsoft cut the mid-range Xbox 360’s price to $300 in September 2008, and has only redesigned the hardware and boosted specs since then.

The console market could use a boost, too. Although revenue was up in February, the industry shrunk in 2010 according to NPD. The Wii in particular has seen its dominance challenged in the United States by the Xbox 360.

But so far, the rumor mill has been fairly quiet. Michael Pachter, the oft-quoted analyst for Wedbush Morgan, said in March that he expects an Xbox 360 price cut at E3, with the Wii and PS3 to follow, but that’s just speculation. Juicy rumors have been in short supply. With E3 less than two months away, expect that to change.

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We Dare: The Brilliance of Horrible Marketing

I don’t know if my Twitter feed is a good indicator of something going viral, but right now it’s lit up with people talking about We Dare, a Wii and Playstation Move party game that Ubisoft describes as “fun and flirty” and “sometimes kinky.”

A trailer for the game lives up to the creepy concept: Two guys and two girls huddle in front of the TV and play a bunch of mini-games with a sexual bent. In one instance, two partners gnaw at the base of a dangling controller to mimic waterless bobbing for apples. In another, one of the girls bends over her partner’s lap for a spanking, Wii Remote tucked into the backside of her skirts. All the while, the actors giggle with convincing awkwardness. (The trailer is embedded after the jump to protect the innocent.)

But here’s the rub: We Dare was announced a month ago, and the Internet barely noticed. Ubisoft’s disaster of a trailer has brought far more attention to the game than the concept itself.

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Yep, Kinect is the New Wii, Pitfalls and All

If there was any doubt that Kinect is a smash-hit, Microsoft erased it with official sales figures: In 25 days, the company sold 2.5 million units. As ReadWriteWeb notes, Kinect is being adopted faster than the iPad.

In essence, Kinect has become the new Wii, the hot gaming toy on top of many holiday wishlists. If Microsoft can keep it up, Kinect could keep the Xbox 360 alive for at least another couple of years.

But following the arc of the Wii is as dangerous as it is lucrative. Indeed, the news of Kinect’s soaring sales pairs nicely with Ben Fritz’s look at the declining Wii in the Los Angeles Times. He notes that stereotypical non-gamers — the same folks Microsoft is targeting — eventually lost interest in the Wii and didn’t buy enough software, and now monthly hardware sales are behind the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Major publishers eventually soured on the console as well. Now that Microsoft has proven that people want Kinect, its challenge is to keep those customers around.

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Metroid Bug Fixed By Mail

Solid proof that Nintendo underestimates the value of Internet connectivity: Instead of issuing a patch for a game-stopping bug in Metroid: Other M for the Wii, the company is instructing players to send in their SD cards — with game save files enclosed — for repair by snail mail.

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