Wii2 – For and Against
Nintendo's next console – are we really ready for it? Choose your side.
Australia, November 28, 2010
Nintendo must lead the charge into the next generation of gaming consoles – this much is certain. While Microsoft and Sony place bets on different forms of motion control styles, Nintendo is surely looking at advancing the market even further – looking for the 'next big thing' that will take concepts established by the Wii and put Nintendo even farther ahead of the competition.
With this in mind, we've weighed up strong arguments for and against the release of Wii2 in the near future. Will the Big N carry on in the face of Move and Kinect? Or are we going to see a new paradigm shift just around the bend?
The Wii has not aged gracefully – from a strictly visual standpoint – but that is, in many ways, very much intentional on Nintendo's part. The company has always maintained that it was backing away from the constant hardware/graphics treadmill that has plagued and underpinned gaming since day one. That said, further refinements in the areas of social interaction, motion control and even efficient rendering and processing power has made the Wii something of a hidey-hole for cheap and nasty ports, rush-job games and poor franchised titles.
More Direct Competitors
Sony now has Move and Microsoft just launched Kinect – not to mention Apple's touch interface platforms. Clearly the market has embraced the motion control and direct-feedback paradigm in a big way – and all of these competitors are slowly chipping away at Nintendo's mighty empire. Each time a direct competitor emerges, a little more shine is stripped from the Wii, and the platform looks less and less enticing in the eyes of Joe Consumer. The Wii2 might reset the standard and bring the focus back to Nintendo again in the living room.
The Wii has never traditionally been the lead platform of choice for many developers and, despite Nintendo's insistence, the system still isn't the cash-cow developers hoped it would be. Third party games still rarely sell as well as Nintendo's own franchised titles. While the situation isn't dire, a new console might stimulate development activity and bring the quality of the games back in line with its competitors – perhaps undoing some of the damage done by the glut of shovelware the currently plagues the Wii's library.
Nintendo Favours Half-steps
The Wii2 might well be a half-step forward, rather than another revolution in gameplay. By coupling in HD output, Wii MotionPlus and media streaming services, Nintendo might well do what the DSi did for the ageing DS hardware – refining a proven concept and bringing it more in line with changing market demands.
Nintendo Decides The Next Generation Debut
If the Wii2 is coming, it might well be an entirely new way of approaching games. Nintendo decided to upset the gaming industry with the Wii and DS, and it's through this disruptive approach that Nintendo technically declared a new generation of gaming consoles. The Wii2 might herald the true start of the next generation race – leaving Microsoft and Sony to play catch-up once again. It's a smart approach to take; the goalposts keep moving just as the competition gets its head around your previous efforts.
Nintendo has a new trump-card piece of hardware in the Nintendo 3DS handheld. Already garnering major press globally and terrific buzz from within the core gaming community, 3DS itself is a very valid reason for Nintendo to hold back the Wii2. Why dilute interest in 3DS by having to compete with another major Nintendo platform retail within the first year or so of its life?
The Hardware is Still Selling Well
Why rush out the next-generation replacement if the current generation is still doing solid bank? That's the fundamental argument behind this point. The Wii, despite more technically powerful competitors and advancements in the same space, has continued to power forward off the back of a few strong first-party game releases each year. Like DS, Nintendo knows better than to rush out a replacement and risk dampening sales. In fact, if the Wii2 is announced, like the 3DS, we'd expect a tight turnaround between announcement and shelf-date.
With the 3DS and MotionPlus, has Nintendo delayed the launch of the Wii2 indefinitely?
Is the Market Ready?
Motion control has taken the market by storm – and it's taken a few years to really cement itself as a genuine alternative to traditional game controls. Essentially, changing market perception was always going to be a gradual process –but the market's resistance to further change might take years to overcome. Wii2 might not be on the agenda simply because the market might not be as willing to embrace further gameplay refinements and revolutions.
Is Nintendo R&D Ready?
It's entirely possible that Nintendo's internal research and development team are toiling away on new technology and control advancements –and this takes time. If Nintendo isn't entirely confident about next steps forward, or if a suitably worthwhile jump isn't on the cards, it's possible that Nintendo itself might be sitting on Wii2 for the foreseeable future.
No Price Drop ...Yet
Off the back of a recent report from a Nintendo shareholder meeting in Japan, Nintendo has no plans to drop the price of the Wii at retail... yet. That is a strong indicator that Nintendo has no short-term plans to introduce new hardware, simply because it has confidence in the ongoing retail viability of the platform. If and when the price does drop, that might be the best possible indicator that the platform is slowing and Nintendo is gearing up for a new hardware announcement. On that note, IGN'll keep you in the loop as news comes to hand!