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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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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.


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