Confirmed: Nintendo announces working on Wii 2 console

Confirming a continuous glut of rumours spread over the past two weeks or more, Nintendo has announced it is indeed working on a new version of its popular Nintendo Wii console, which will be previewed at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles in June.

The original Wii proved a runaway hit for Nintendo when it launched five years ago. However, sales have been gradually declining in the face of tough competition from PlayStation, XBox 360 and mobile gaming platforms.

Wii was the first console of the current generation to offer motion controlled gameplay. However, in the past year, Microsoft has introduced its Kinect system for XBox, while Sony launched PlayStation Move. It has long been speculated that Nintendo may try to improve on the console in the near future to continue their trend of gaming innovation – and Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s Chief Executive, suggested that his company was preparing to do just that.

“It will offer a new way of playing games within the home,” he said.

No technical details about the machine have been revealed, leaving us guessing for now just what is planned. Prior to this announcement, some observers had speculated that the “Wii 2”, as it has been unofficially dubbed, would simply update the existing machine, adding a handful of features such as high-definition graphics. However, analyst opinions are that Nintendo’s enthusiasm for trying new things is too high for them to just leave it at that.

“The talk was about Wii HD, but I do not see Nintendo doing that. It will do something more innovative,” Johnny Minkley, an editor at Eurogamer.net, recently stated in an interview. Mr Minkley noted that Nintendo marketed the original Wii around its motion-sensing handset, rather than technical specifications – something he expects to see repeated.

“PlayStation 3 and XBox 360 were part of the graphics arms race. Nintendo would never launch a console based on the strength of hardware. Theirs has to have a gameplay point to it,” he said.

Quite right, too. Games should be about the entertainment value, not just the technical wizardry. A game that isn’t fun to begin with isn’t going to improve with ace graphics and an awesome soundtrack – and similar comments also go for how we interact with those games. Feel free to agree or disagree in your comments.

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