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My first thoughts on the Wii 2 (The Wii HD?)

A BBC News article passed to me by my friend NMI contains the first announcement I’ve heard about the Nintendo Wii 2. However, from the limited information in the article, I honestly can’t say for sure whether or not I’m excited by it.

Let’s review:

No technical details about the machine have been revealed, but gamers will get an early preview at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles in June. … 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.

This was (and still is, in my opinion) one of the Wii’s strongest selling points: Motion-based gameplay out-of-the-box. With the Wii, motion control is accomplished with the Wii remote (“Wiimote”) and optionally the nunchuck. With the PlayStation Move and XBox 360 Kinect, the motion-based controls are sold as add-ons to the console, and not all games support them.

Some observers had speculated that the Wii 2 would simply update the existing machine, adding a handful of features such as high definition graphics. … “The talk was about Wii HD, but I do not see Nintendo doing that. It will do something more innovative,” he told BBC News.

The Wii fell short when it was launched with only support for 720px graphics; not the 1080px of the PS3 or the XBox 360. I believe this is something that ultimately hurt Nintendo and helped Microsoft and Sony.

Mr Minkley noted that Nintendo marketed the original Wii around its motion-sensing handset, rather than technical specifications – something he expects to see repeated. … “Nintendo would never launch a console based on the strength of hardware. Theirs has to have a gameplay point to it,” he said.

No kidding. The Wii is considered by many to have the weakest graphics and hardware of its console generation. In fact, the Wii is the only console that doesn’t support any type of native CD/DVD playback. The earlier generation Wiis had the hardware (and homebrew software could take advantage of it), but Nintendo quietly fixed that in the newer white, red, blue, and black Wiis.

A combination of its relatively low price and its appeal to non-traditional gamers – including women and older players – helped the company sell 20m units in the first year.

Nintendo did something really great with the Wii — they didn’t just make it family friendly, they made it player friendly. In most cases, it doesn’t take much to pick up a Wii and start playing — games typically have very intuitive controls and a very gentle learning curve. The uniqueness of the Wii motion controls made it the first gaming console to be adopted for physical therapy use.

So what’s new on the horizon for Nintendo? What do you think, what have you heard, and what would you like to see? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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