The Nintendo Wii was released in late 2006 and quickly caught fire (not literally), with consoles selling out so quickly that Microsoft and Sony did collective head spins. As of December 2010, Nintendo has shipped almost 85 million units worldwide. The Xbox 360, despite being released an entire year prior, has only moved 50 million units. And the PlayStation 3, released the same time as the Wii, is just a few million behind the Xbox. Impressive numbers to be sure, but the Big N remains nigh untouchable.
Still, as secure as Nintendo should be, this is an ever-evolving industry. No console lives forever and, whether it's needed or wanted, a successor will always come in to replace the current model. Recent rumors suggest that Nintendo could announce the "Wii 2" at this year's E3. The latest addition to the rumor mill comes from EA Games label head Frank Gibeau who made the comment that Nintendo is "coming back with a second act."
Instead of disputing the validity of the rumor, which is beyond futile, let's assume it's true. This E3, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata and Nintendo of America COO Reggie Fils-Aime are going to prance out on stage dressed as Mario and Luigi and announce the Wii 2. Only they're going to call it the Wii Too, because they, too, would like to play. So in what ways does the Wii Too differ from its predecessor?
For one, the Wii successor (and Nintendo's eight-generation console) will almost certainly support high definition, something the Wii has a taken many lashings in recent years for not doing. Let's face it: while plenty of Nintendo Wii games have absolutely stunning artistic design, a good deal of them look chunky and ugly on a technical level.
This effect is magnified when compared to Microsoft and Sony's current offerings. There was a rumor a while back regarding the "Wii HD," an enhanced version of the Wii that supported HD video and contained a built-in Blu-ray Disc drive, set to release in 2011. Iwata squashed this rumor flat, saying they had no reason to implement HD on the Wii. He added, however, that HD capabilities would be better suited for a successor. And then there's Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Mario, who has expressed interest in working with HD graphics.
Second, 3D gaming on consoles is already making its mark, with Sony dabbling quite heavily. That isn't to say Nintendo is interested in copying its competitors, but rather that the technology is finally there to use and Nintendo is more than likely looking for a unique way to use it.
Do we need a new Nintendo console? As with all consoles and their successors, it's getting harder and harder to say. Due to the exponential growth of technology, the question "what more could they do?" is getting more appropriate every year. As a Nintendo fan, I do believe that the company wouldn't release a new console unless they had something new to offer.
Do we want a new Nintendo console? At the moment, maybe not.
Folks are always skeptical, especially when large amounts of cash are involved. And a lot of gamers have strayed from Nintendo after seeing the Wii as a "kiddy console" and not something appropriate for the "hardcore gamer." But Nintendo's focus has shifted, and with it its audience, so just who the "we" in "do we want a new Nintendo console" refers to is unclear. It's a safe bet that a lot of folks, myself included (even if I was ultimately disappointed in the Wii), are excited to see where the company goes next. In that sense of the question, yes, we definitely do want a Wii 2.
Or Wii Too.