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Official concept art of Revolution in various colors

Official Wii Remotes on display at E3 2006 - Image courtesy Kotaku

An artist mock-up of a Wii Remote charging dock - Image courtesy IGN

Fan art showing what a possible Metroid Prime 3 bundled Wii could look like - Image by Sardu of Nintendo Forums

Fan art showing what a retro-themed NES throwback Wii could look like - Image by Sardu of Nintendo Forums
The Wii may see a hardware revisions sooner than expected

Video game consoles are essentially a closed platform. Once the hardware is finalized, the specifications usually remain the same throughout the lifecycle. There have been little tweaks here and there with home consoles towards the end of their life cycles, such as slimmer and smaller PlayStations, but game systems usually keep to the status quo.

Handhelds are a different story, however, as Nintendo has written the book on how to reinvent and redesign portable systems. Nintendo clearly realizes the profit potential of incrementally improving its hardware—not so much as to introduce new functionality, but to increase usability—so that customers may even buy the same system twice.

The most recent example of this is the Nintendo DS, which saw an initial release form of a bulky, sturdy folding brick, and later reinvented into the DS Lite, a sleek, shiny iPod-like fun machine. Considering Nintendo’s great success with this strategy, it should not be surprising to learn that the games maker is plotting a similar strategy for the Wii, perhaps even earlier than most expected.

In an interview, GameDaily asked Nintendo of America  VP Perrin Kaplan if the ‘hardware revision model’ would apply to the Wii, to which she replied succinctly, “Sure, absolutely. You'll see the ways in which we do that.”

Kaplan’s assertive but tight-lipped answer points to more than just adding something like DVD video playback. In fact, a DVD movie-enabled Wii has already been announced for release later this year. Kaplan comments on the DVD playback as something minor in the scheme for Wii: “I think it's just to give them a choice. We've not yet come out with a firm date; we haven't talked about it too much. It's not the top thing on our list.” When asked if DVD video capability was part of the plans for a new Wii hardware revision, Kaplan says, “There are always lots of things in the future.”

The Nintendo marketing VP isn’t showing any of her cards, but one thing is for sure: there will be another Wii. The obvious things that Nintendo would do to make the Wii more attractive are add new colors, increase its internal flash memory, include rechargeable batteries for Wii Remotes and component cables. There isn’t much merit to making the console any slimmer or lighter, and high definition support isn’t likely to happen.

The Wii is attaining mass-market appeal, much like the iPod. It may only be a matter of time before Nintendo adopts Apple’s hardware redesign strategy.



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Apple's hardware redesign strategy???
By rdeegvainl on 2/23/2007 8:06:32 AM , Rating: 2
I think that entire last paragraph is kinda odd, Considering how they were talking about Nintendo already doing this kind of thing on there handhelds. But anyways, I might actually get this console though, if I can find one with that Retro look. That is sweet!




RE: Apple's hardware redesign strategy???
By the taxman on 2/23/2007 8:11:47 AM , Rating: 2
yeah i like the retro looking one too and with the classic controler it would look even better if it got retrofied i used to play nes all the time and i would much like the dvd playback considering the wii is like the only system out there that doesnt have it and upgrading the v memory would be a huge plus


RE: Apple's hardware redesign strategy???
By lufoxe on 2/23/2007 9:03:14 AM , Rating: 2
if you really want it, and have a wii you can find that here

http://www.decalgirl.com/browse.cfm/4,5221.htm

call me crazy: I'd rather spend the money on a decal then have to repurchase the system over again.


By R Nilla on 2/23/2007 9:15:42 AM , Rating: 2
Too bad that decal's design doesn't look as good, or make as much sense, as the fan art depicted above. The black stripe and the gray bottom are in the wrong places.


RE: Apple's hardware redesign strategy???
By Houdani on 2/23/2007 9:30:06 AM , Rating: 3
Retro looks great, much better than the Metroid one ... particularly since the artwork on the Metroid Wiimote is (ahem) upside down.


By jay401 on 2/24/2007 12:37:11 PM , Rating: 2
Yes the Retro style would be a big seller!


Not problem with revisions but...
By bysmitty on 2/23/2007 7:59:44 AM , Rating: 2
I have no problem with revising the system later on but please, for the love of god, let us transfer our virtual console games to a newer system should we decide to buy one. Right now VC games are tied solely to the hardware which is complete bunk. If my current system were to die or if I upgrade to this rev 2 whenever it comes out, I lose over $100 is classic games. :(

...bysmitty




RE: Not problem with revisions but...
By Mudvillager on 2/23/2007 8:07:36 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I've thought of this too, so I've decided to stop buying VC games until they can be redownloaded on one account as many times as you want, like Steam.
Talking of Steam, it's the future of game distribution.


RE: Not problem with revisions but...
By jon1003 on 2/23/2007 9:09:45 AM , Rating: 2
This makes me want to sell my Wii already in anticipation of a better system. I just keep thinking how I would have payed $50 more for better graphics as I stand in front of my HD tv playing tennis. The article does say that better graphics probably waren't on the list of things that will be improved, but that's just speculation. The different colored Wiimotes look pretty cool though. At $60 for a set of Wiimote/nunchuck, it sucks to see the new designs around the corner and be faced with spending $180(40+20 *3) now, or having to wait with only 1 Wiimote. :-/ Anywho, there is already a 3rd party Wiimote dock released that comes with a new battery cover and rechargeable battery pack. You could always just use rechargeable betteries... unless you reallyyy need to "dock it." You can buy very high quality skins from decalgirl.com, including retro I think. The mod to change the LED color of the slot is easy.


By Gastrian on 2/23/2007 9:31:44 AM , Rating: 2
Its unlikely we'll see a revision in the graphics. For a start all early adopters are going to feel cheated but from a technical aspect by improving the hardware you've created two consoles, which means software either has to accommodate both versions or as we see with many multi-platform games, they will be built for the least powerful and ported over.


What I want
By dblagent on 2/23/2007 8:03:30 AM , Rating: 2
Something I would really like to see is a cordless classic controller for the classic games. I'd hate to have the cord hanging off the top of the TV where the Wii is, and it should not be too hard to do.

Good idea, or is there already one coming?




RE: What I want
By |TOAST| on 2/23/2007 8:52:14 AM , Rating: 2
It already is wireless in a sense because you do not plug it into the Wii, rather the Wii Remote. The only controller's you plug directly into the Wii console via cords are up to 4 Game Cube controllers or other USB peripherals.

What I want to see is if I have to buy 4 new Wii Remotes in order to attain rechargeable functionality. Disposable batteries don't last long for those. Hopefully there will be a drop in rechargeable battery solution. I doubt the existing Wii Remotes are outfitted to handle recharging batteries via dock as depicted above but who knows.


RE: What I want
By lufoxe on 2/23/2007 9:01:05 AM , Rating: 2
RE: What I want
By giantpandaman2 on 3/1/2007 2:22:23 PM , Rating: 2
You could just use a wireless gamecube controller. That's what I bought for all my VC games.


This is why I don't like consoles...
By THEREALJMAN73 on 2/23/2007 9:58:50 AM , Rating: 2
If something new comes out for my PC I just buy a new part, pop it in and am on my merry little way.

If you have a console and want an "upgrade" you need to buy the whole thing again. It seems rediculous.

I will stick to PC gaming..




RE: This is why I don't like consoles...
By thejez on 2/23/2007 10:24:35 AM , Rating: 2
except your "upgrade" is usually a $250 video card (or more!), or a $250 memory/CPU upgrade, etc... which is the price of another console anyway.... kind the same when you think about it...


RE: This is why I don't like consoles...
By bohhad on 2/23/2007 8:10:30 PM , Rating: 2
i dont think you can look at it that way however, a console does one job, (ok, two if you want to count dvd playback, which not even all consoles do) whereas something like a cpu upgrade would help with gaming and all the other chores computers can do

i was just about to go buy a wii too, maybe i'll wait a bit now


By ElJefe69 on 2/23/2007 8:43:00 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, same here. Wait a bit and see the next revision.

being a tightwad rox :)


By psychobriggsy on 2/23/2007 8:40:40 AM , Rating: 2
I can definitely see Wiis being sold in different colours, and I'm sure the amount on on-board flash memory will be increased over time.

However I don't see them making the hardware better/faster until the WiiToo (i.e., about 4 years time).




By Deviousvoid on 2/23/2007 4:03:44 PM , Rating: 2
Why bother when you can spend $20 to get a 1g sd card. I have around 12 vc games and it takes up nothing om my 1g card.


By CyberInferno on 2/28/2007 5:32:30 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure your 12 VC games take up nothing on your 1gb card. Because you can't copy VC games to your SD card. Go ahead and go to your Wii data management and try and you will get an error. Thanks for playing...


By encryptkeeper on 2/23/2007 9:49:44 AM , Rating: 2
Don't get me wrong, I love my Wii, but a lot of this was supposed to be available at launch (like different colors). Some of the things, like DVD playback, are really just novelties that very few of us need. Truthfully, how many of us have Wii's but don't have a DVD player. And no, there's no way they're about to tweak the graphics. Don't even fool yourself. Charging stations (kind of a novelty if you already have a AA battery recharging station) aren't really necessary, but increasing memory size would be good. I'd like to see the ability to attach a USB hard drive. ANY USB hard drive not just something sanctioned by Nintendo. Plus, if the damn remote speaker wouldn't have so much static. For anyone who hasn't seen this before, this is from Nintendo. If you change the batteries too quickly, it can cause static. Take the batteries out for at least a minute and reinsert. I haven't tried it yet, but you can't make that shit up.




By encryptkeeper on 2/23/2007 10:07:26 AM , Rating: 2
I almost forgot, Nintendo initially said no DVD playback on the Wii, then they changed their minds, then they said no DVD playback again, then said the DVD playback was only going to be in Japan (or at least I think that was the sequence). Anyone know if it's true that DVD enabled Wiis will make it to America?


By goku on 2/23/2007 6:51:42 PM , Rating: 2
they can tweak the graphics, what I think they will do or at least should do is have the games internally rendered at 640X480 and then for HDTVs outputted at 1280X960 or even a scaled vertical resolution of the resolution in mind whether it be 720 or 1080, then leave bars on the side. If they were to do this, yes you wouldn't have the 720 or 1080 quality but you'd have it look significantly better than if you were to use the TV's own scaler as thats usually junk. But inorder to do this, I would assume you'd need more video memory than is currently available on the Wii.


Prediction: All Black Wii
By Teckan on 2/23/2007 5:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
I thought Nintendo was smart not to get into a hardware war with Sony and Microsoft. Redesigns are fine, but I can't imagine them doing anything that significant with the hardware like adding say HDMI. That's not the market they are after and it's not a war they'd win. I expect any changes to just be exterior changes: colors, slimmer design, etc.

Also adding DVD playback would make headlines if the year was 1998. 2007? Not so much.




RE: Prediction: All Black Wii
By ElJefe69 on 2/23/2007 8:41:59 PM , Rating: 2
It's 480p max resolution.

hdmi is good but I think one needs more to be worth the next jump. xbox needs it on account of its hd-dvd playing abilities now. Not that it would be bad, but most would use component. same picture at 480p


New Wii
By SmokeRngs on 2/23/2007 6:14:55 PM , Rating: 1
Something has been bugging me lately and I wonder if anyone here might know the answer. I know that most consoles are made for a 4-5 year timespan. However, has anything been said about how long Nintendo predicted to stick with the Wii?

I wonder because they have made profit off the console hardware since day one. Normally, you need years to make up the loss on the console hardware and it's in the company's best interest to keep the console out there for as long as possible to make up the costs associated with development and then profit.

Nintendo does not suffer from this with the Wii. I've been thinking that it would be possible for Nintendo after a couple of years to release an upgraded Wii but as a new system. One with new features but still doe everything the original did. Basically, they would be doing a major product refresh about halfway through the normal life of a console.

In this case, a possibility to include HD along with more powerful hardware. Graphics do not make a good game, but it is nice to have good graphics with a fun game. Good games with upgraded graphics in possibly HD resolutions would be nice.

If it's not cost prohibitive, I think it would be a good idea. Especially if they can keep the price of the console close to what the Wii is currently at. While the PS3 and Xbox360 are static for hardware, the Wii could get an upgrade.

I only bring this up due to the current hardware in the Wii. It's not powerhouse hardware and was never meant to be and the upgrade doesn't need to be either. The price and the games are what matters. If they were able to do this and keep costs down, I think it would be a blow to both Sony and MS. A mid-cycle refresh like we've seen with video cards for a while would be a welcome change.




RE: New Wii
By wetwareinterface on 2/24/2007 6:52:39 AM , Rating: 2
the time frame for a newer system from nintendo is a lot closer than 4 years. the wii is nothing more than the game cube with a good controller, larger disc storage and internal memory, and better dev tools.

nintendo knew they didn't have to worry about a major upgrade like xbox and ps as they weren't in the smae market. they concentrated on what they did need to do and kept the platform they had and redesigned the play mechanics and enhanced it slightly. sell the same tech in a new package and mke more money. sony is hurting right now and probably won't survive in the game console market they themselves re-invented as they flopped with the ps3. same problems the ps2 had in regards to developer frustration multiplied and a graphically inferior product to the competing xbox. tying blu-ray to it at the same time and they are going for a slam dunk betamax/ps2 problem. the ps2 hardware sold well and the games did allright despite the difficulty the devs had writing games for it. this time around the devs are looking seriously at xbox instead as the last round was a tie in microsoft vs. sony and sony had a huge lead in sales with the ps2 and it was cheaper than an xbox. now sony has a more expensive lower graphically capable system and a 1+ year late start.

microsofts only next competitor is going to have to be a joint nintendo/sega or a google or aol/timewarner out of the blue console like sony's original playstation.


By d33pblue on 2/23/2007 8:44:39 AM , Rating: 2
ASAP... thank you in advance <3




colors
By wallijonn on 2/23/2007 12:57:21 PM , Rating: 2
I think that if they do include new colours, that they be for different revisions. So a faster video chip can be installed and it be enabled accordingly, so that while it will continue to play old games, the newer games will have more eye-candy. If you have played Z:TP you know that there are many good effects, like bump mapping available.




hm
By ElJefe69 on 2/23/2007 8:39:24 PM , Rating: 2
HDMI and dvd, more connectivity and maybe some storage.

charge 80 dollars more a unit for like 320, blam. would rock the party. bump it like 1 gig for ram too :)

i hate "techies" who bash the dvd addition as being inconsequential. Its the only thing people want that is feasible without a lot of cost involved besides hdmi. I am waiting for the dvd option myself. a quality dvd player is still 100 dollars, and is large and ugly. One thing hooked up to my tv would be ideal.

these companies act as if they know better than consumers as to what the consumers want, bad idea. Another thing people want are games that dont need the wii-mote. Some games just are ported poorly but the games themselves could be fun with a standard lame gamepad.




whoah
By jay401 on 2/24/2007 12:36:47 PM , Rating: 2
That classic NES style is very cool! =)

Curious though... wouldn't multiple revisions start to turn some folks off from early-adopting if they know within a few months a better model will come out? Surely there will always be SOME early adopters, but isn't a schedule of several iterations guaranteed to reduce the initial sale by even some small degree? And as we know, initial launch sales numbers are bragging rights in some circles. =)




So it's great when Nintendo
By Sharky974 on 2/24/07, Rating: -1
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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