Fans of the Nintendo Wii, which came out in 2006, have long anticipated the inevitable followup to the massively popular gaming system. That day may soon be here. On Friday, Game Informer reported that the new device would almost certainly be announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June. Since then, speculation has run wild about what the new Wii might include — and what it might be called. Nintendo is keeping silent, but the rumors are coming fast and furious. Here, five predictions:
1. A controller with an HD screen
The most "fascinating element" of Nintendo's new system, says Keith Stuart at The Guardian, is a rumored "six-inch touchscreen display, capable of HD or near-HD quality visuals," which multiple sources have confirmed. (Check out DVICE's hypothetical renderings here.) Stuart posits that it will "show extra game content," provide "custom controls for certain titles," and may even be able to act as a separate game system from the main console.
2. Serious processing power
"Our sources have said the the console is significantly more powerful than the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and that Nintendo's intent is to recapture the hardcore market," says IGN." To get specific: The Wii 2 will boast a "custom IBM PowerPC CPU with three cores, a GPU from the ATI R700 family, and at least 512MB of RAM2," according to Gaming Union.
3. A new name
"It is our understanding that Nintendo is trying to embrace the western gamer and will likely launch a new brand with this console," says Matthew Kato at Game Informer. That would mean an end to the Wii name. Right now the new system is codenamed "Project Cafe" among Nintendo employees, but "around the office," says Kato, "we have dubbed the system Nintendo HD" — one possible moniker bloggers have floated as a final choice.
4. A fall 2012 launch date
Nintendo is set to debut its new toy in June, but it probably won't be ready for American markets until the fall of 2012. Some analysts think that by the time the new Wii is ready, Nintendo will have waited too long to jump into an aready crowded HD video game market. "I think the right time for the console was in front of [Microsoft] Kinect and Move, and think that Nintendo has forever lost one customer for each Kinect and Move unit sold," says industry expert Michael Pachter, as quoted by Euro Gamer.
5. Compatibility with older devices
According to CVG, the new system will be "backwards compatible" with Wii, meaning that users can play old-generation games on it. It is also rumored to work with other old Nintendo systems. This "would make sense," says Stuart, "if Nintendo is looking to court its current casual user-base as well as 'lapsed' hardcore fans of its N64 and Gamecube machines."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- Sex can't explain the culture war
- Why GOP reformers are bound to fail
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- How the battle for religious freedom became a nonsensical free-for-all
- This simple hack for slicing cherry tomatoes will astound you
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
Subscribe to the Week