Nintendo is readying a new version of the Wii, featuring a streamlined design intended to be placed horizontally rather than vertically, and with a new, lower price. Confirmed so far for the UK market, and expected to go on sale in time for the holiday shopping season, the updated Wii will be released as part of a new value bundle complete with Wii Party and Wii Sports. However, while there’s money to be saved, there’s also a cost in terms of lost backward compatibility.
Unlike the current Wii, the new version will lose GameCube game support and no longer be usable with the GameCube controllers. Instead, it will come with a matching Wii Remote Plus and nunchuk. Nintendo also apparently expects to launch further value bundles in time for Christmas, though it’s unclear whether they will all use the new Wii model or the original.
The decision to streamline the current hardware looks to be an attempt on Nintendo’s part to tide the shopping season over until the Wii U arrives sometime in 2012. The new console will also place an emphasis on motion gaming, but include a tablet-style touchscreen controller.
Nintendo has seen disappointing Wii sales in recent quarters, announcing that only 1.56m of the consoles were sold in Q2. The company blamed “few hit titles and a small number of new titles” available for the Wii.