The Wii is dead, long live the Wii. The Monday rumor that Nintendo is planning to release a brand new model of its six year old console has turned out to be entirely true. Nintendo officially announced the Wii Mini on Tuesday morning. As expected its smaller than current models of Wii and sports a very different look to boot. Rather than the glossy black plastic of the last Wii redesign, the Wii Mini has matte finish with a bright red border for a color scheme similar to models of the Nintendo 3DS XL. Like the first Wii redesign, Wii Mini doesn’t support Gamecube games or have ports for Gamecube controllers. Strangely it also doesn’t support Internet connectivity, meaning no Virtual Console or WiiWare games.
That’s not the only thing strange about Wii Mini, though. The budget priced console is only releasing in Canada on December 7. Digital Trends contacted Nintendo representatives in both the US and Canada to try and find out whether Wii Mini would be releasing in other territories.
“The Wii Mini is available exclusively in Canada during the holiday season,” said Nintendo of America’s representative, “We currently have no information about its potential availability in other territories (such as the U.S.) in the future.”
The question then is: Why Canada? Is that market in particular open to an ultra cheap Wii? Nintendo’s representatives in Canada said that they have no comment at this time as to why the console is exclusive to the region.
As mentioned in our Monday report, what makes the release of this new Wii model so strange is that Nintendo has officially stated that it’s no longer making new Wii games. When Nintendo released hardware revisions at the tail end of a console’s lifecycle in the past, it was always supported with new games. The top-loading NES for example was released in 1993, two years after the Super Nintendo, but it was supported with new games published by Nintendo through 1994. The Super Nintendo and Game Boy Advance followed similar patterns.
Wii Mini is part of what seems to be a trend in the game industry. Sony also released a cheap model of PlayStation 3 with only 12GB of flash memory outside the US that doesn’t focus on downloadable content.
The Wii Mini will be released in Canada on Dec. 7 and retail for $100.