It all started in the middle of this month. Rumors sprung up of a planned price drop for Nintendo‘s Wii gaming console, prompting many to speculate that the Japanese company would be announcing a successor to the popular device at this year’s E3 trade show. It wasn’t long after that the speculation turned to rumor: yes, a “Wii 2” announcement would indeed be coming at E3. The talk picked up from there, with everything from the planned release date to hardware specifications being hinted at, but Nintendo kept quiet. That silence has been broken and the word is now official.
The next next-gen war has begun.
The fact of the unreleased console’s existence is all that the company is willing to talk about right now. A terse press release states: “Nintendo has decided to launch in 2012 a system to succeed Wii… We will show a playable model of the new system and announce more specifications at the E3 Expo, which will be held June 7-9, 2011, in Los Angeles.”
Wii 2, confirmed. Some of the more recent talk presents some tantalizing possibilities for Nintendo’s plans moving into the next console generation. Hardware-wise, the system will be designed to at least compete with — if not surpass — the capabilities of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. That means high def output and the ability to run the same multi-platform releases that come to the other two consoles.
There’s also word on a rather unique innovation for the system’s control schemes. The Wii’s motion controls will return, though it’s unclear if this means totally new hardware, support for Wii peripherals or a mix of the two. There’s also going to be a more traditional gamepad, with twin analog thumbsticks, eight buttons and so on. It seems that this controller will also feature a few innovations, notably adding in a camera and a 6.2-inch touchscreen. Given all of this, Nintendo presumably hopes to win back the core gaming audience while continuing to promote the family-friendly appeal that has made the Wii so popular.