The Next Generation Wii
Nintendo released a press statement a few days ago that confirmed a new console was in development. It’s nicknamed “Project Cafe”, and few details have been revealed. However, we do know a few things about the console, including the fact that it will be playable at E3 come June this year! The announcement came as a surprise, since the Wii has enjoyed gigantic sales recently – though it has been out for about 5 years now.
The technical details of the console are relatively unknown, though the controller has been leaked. It looks like a normal gamecube controller fused with a playstation controller, except that it has a large (800×500 pixels) screen inbetween the two button pads. Expect this screen to be closely integrated with the games you play – for example, if you were playing a Zelda game, the inventory may be displayed on the controller screen so that it doesn’t interrupt the gameplay on your TV. It’s unknown whether this console will make as extensive use of Motion Control features as the Wii, but the Wii 2 apparently has excellent graphics, possibly being more powerful than the Xbox 360 and the PS3.
Wii sales will probably take a hit due to the announcement. Right now, the Wii has sold over 90 million units worldwide, but it may not be able to break 100 million units due to this announcement. The Wii 2 will be compatible with Wii games, though if you decide to wait for it rather than buying a Wii now, you’ll have to wait a while before you get the chance to play flagship Wii titles that are due for release later this year, such as The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword. But Nintendo will be keen to keep people focused on the Wii this year – the Wii 2 is not due for release until at least 2012.
Expect only a few details to emerge about this console during E3. Although the console will be playable, Nintendo will probably want to sell as many Wiis as possible before they finally relegate the console. 2011 is a crucial year for the Wii. During E3, Nintendo have a lot of huge, exclusive games to show off, such as The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, Mario, and so on. With such a rich amount of exclusive games available for the Wii, it seems unlikely Nintendo will want to direct too much attention away from the original Wii. Indeed, Nintendo assured investers in their financial statements that top games such as Skyward Sword would be for the Wii, and not the upcoming console.
With this console, Nintendo seems content to keep it’s grip on the console market. The Gamecube died and early death, but the Wii was a phenomenal success, and the hype of “Project Cafe” looks set to continue this success.