Gamers, listen here! Today the house that built Mario formally announced the Wii successor. Sure details are sparse, but at least we’ve got confirmation that something new and exciting is on the way, and it’s coming sooner than you might think. In a press statement out of Japan, Nintendo refers to their next-gen console as the “Wii’s Successor System” and they say a “playable model” will be shown off at E3 in early June, followed by a launch in 2012.
What can gamers expect from the next-gen Wii? The only official word to come out of Nintendo (besides the aforementioned press release which is sitting after the break) is provided by company president Satoru Iwata: “We would like to propose a new approach to home video game consoles. It’s difficult to make 3-D images a key feature, because 3-D televisions haven’t obtained wide acceptance yet.” They’ve managed to bring glasses-free 3D to their portable 3DS, but the technology to make the magic work on larger scale just isn’t there yet. So what then might Iwata be referring to when he hints at a “new approach” to video games?
Late last week Kotaku reported that, according to undisclosed sources, the next-gen Wii will utilize an entirely new breed of controller. In addition to housing eight buttons and two analog sticks, the new controller is rumored to also boast a 6.2 inch screen and a camera. They say: “The 6.2-inch screen will receive data wirelessly from the Nintendo console and presents an array of options, from putting the player’s inventory or map on the controller screen, to allowing players to combine it with the controller’s camera to snap photos that could be imported into a game or even turning it into some sort of glorified viewfinder (we’re unclear about whether the camera on the controller points at the player or can be outward-facing; we’ve heard both — maybe it swivels?).” Then they propose: “You could think of the new Nintendo console as turning your living room into a glorified mega-DS…. your TV is the upper-screen; your controller is the lower touchscreen.”
Other Wii 2 rumors to chew on… The new controller will not replace existing Wii-motes, as the system is said to be backwards compatible with all current Wii games. The often labeled Wii HD will be capable of running games at HD resolutions (up to 1080p) and it will be more powerful than current-gen systems (read: Xbox 360, PS3). And finally, the next-gen Wii is internally referred to by its codename “Project Cafe,” so go around saying that to your friends if you want to act all cool like you know everything. Though these rumors are certainly intriguing, let’s all anticipate the E3 reveal where Ninty will formally lay out the specifications, controller scheme(s), and perhaps a launch lineup.