A Challenger Approaches: Details Leak On Next-Gen Wii

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News Posted: Tue, May 3 2011 4:48 PM
Rumors regarding Nintendo's second-generation Wii have been circulating following news that the console would be demo'd at this year's E3. Unlike the Playstation or XBox 360, the Wii has never been significantly updated, which is part of why fans and gamers are curious to see what Nintendo has come up with. Although Nintendo has yet to formally announced anything, Kotaku has proven a reliable source of information in the past.

According to current info, the Wii's successor (Wii 2?) will contain:
  • 8GB of internal flash-based storage
  • 25GB optical discs (Nintendo has not stated what types of discs these are)
  • HD graphics support
The limited storage space suggests that Nintendo has no plans to offer modern games or major expansion packs for download, but would leave plenty of room for retro titles, standard definition movies, or similar fare. Storage will still be expandable via SD slot; official internal storage might increase as flash prices drop.

We'll take a Wii 2 but we're hoping for a different color.

Disc capacities, if true, suggest that new games will take advantage of HD graphics in a way the Wii heretofore hasn't; there's still no word on whether or not the next-generation system will top out at 720p/1080i, or go all the way up to 1080p. Regardless, Japanese executives have made it clear that graphics won't be the focus of the second Wii anymore than they were the focus of the first.

Current rumors suggest that the next Nintendo console's controllers will integrate a touch-sensitive display. Presumably this touchpad would function similarly to the second screen on the Nintendo DS. On a full-size console, the touchpad would likely be more versatile, and less likely to require players to look at it. On the DS, the gap between the screens is very small.  Gazing between a small device in your hands (say, an iPhone) and a TV ten feet away requires that your eyes refocus, which always requires a small amount of time. It also gets annoying pretty fast.

Other rumors being batted around include wireless Wii streaming, or being able to stream a game to the controller for remote playing anywhere. We're dubious on that last—it'd require quite a bit of Wiimote redesign, and would ruin the controller's ability to be used for much else.

Based on what we know now, the Wii 2 looks like an evolved, upgraded, and polished Wii. There's no sign that Nintendo intends to go the Kinect route or that the company is going to abandon its visual styling and game focus for more mature themes. If we're slow to criticize such tendencies, it's because the original Wii was mostly regarded as an also-ran until it hit market. While Wii sales have slowed in recent months, Nintendo has still managed to sell some 86 million of them—almost as many as the XBox 360 and Sony PS3 put together.

There's no word yet on hardware. Given the amount of time that's passed since the Wii was introduced, Nintendo could easily roll a faster Wii simply by adjusting clockspeeds on the CPU and GPU. Both the Broadway (CPU) and Hollywood (GPU) were originally built on 90nm technology. These same processors could be built on 40nm (or even 28nm) for a fraction of the power envelope, thus allowing greater speeds.

The better option would be to move away from the existing GPU, at least—Hollywood is a fixed-function GPU, meaning it lacks the programmable features that debuted with NV's G80 GPU. Nintendo, however, moves at its own pace where such things are concerned—we'll have to wait for E3 to get a glimpse of what the new console can do.
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Thanks for the update and passing this information on to us. 25GB discs would be nice... maybe the ability to ply blu-ray discs.

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CHolt replied on Tue, May 3 2011 8:47 PM

They will call it the Wii^2 AKA the WiiWii


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rapid1 replied on Tue, May 3 2011 10:38 PM

One thing Nintendo does that is so smart with these is release them in the summer. M$ and Sony seem to like to release mid fall. While that may grab some Christmas business I would bet Nintendo gets gotta have now's, birthdays, out for summer, back to school, and Christmas market as well. There advertising also has a long time to take hold. Someone could even put one of them on layaway for there kids for Christmas, and pay 10 a month, then buy 2 more games with it and have a bang up layout at a Christmas tree very easily.

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coolice replied on Tue, May 3 2011 10:41 PM

Hmm, i have a feeling its going to be bluray. That would be interesting. Definitely more harder to burn games. I hope they make it backwards compatible. The only console thats still on my list is a wii... my mum enjoys a game or two and shes been insisting on buying a wii haha.

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HHGrrl replied on Tue, May 3 2011 10:47 PM

I love my Wii so I'll definitely be interested to see what Nintendo has to show at E3. Thanks for the update on the rumored new features!

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So very unlikely. The R&D costs would prohibit Nintendo from using any format other than bluray, and they certainly arent going to use bluray. 25 GB without a harddrive would = large load times with no way to get rid of them. 25 GB would also = high development costs, which Nintendo avoids like the plague.

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Lakawak replied on Wed, May 4 2011 6:01 PM

The ONLY reason why the Wii exceeded expectations is that they had the motion sensing controller. It was something that only they had. But now, not only are they not alone, they are the WORST of the three. Take away that advantage and the next Nintendo console (and stop calling it the Wii 2, there is no indication that that is what it is.) will wind up like the Dreamcast. A console that tried to jump the market to get some initial sales, but then when the other much more powerful systems came out a year later, no one bought them anymore.

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