Essentially a re-design of Nintendo’s highly successful Wii console, the Wii Mini will sport an extremely simplistic cut-down design featuring only a clamshell optical drive, a power button, eject button and other essential ports on the back of the console – not disimilar to the original SEGA Dreamcast design.
The console will no longer feature Nintendo Gamecube backwards compatibility or an online mode (so no WiFi capability). This effectively removes all internet related content, even down to Virtual Console download games from the Wii’s eShop. With such a slim design, there is even speculation as to whether the console will be able to use SD cards, the loss of which would remove many key features such as extra storage for eShop games, save files and photos.
While there will be no game bundle deals at launch the console will be retailing for the relatively small sum of $99.99 with a confirmed release date of December 7th 2012, in Canada at least.
The big question on everyone’s mind is Nintendo's motive to release such a re-design so close to the Wii U’s launch? As the 7 year old Xbox 360 completely annihilated the Wii U in USA sales over the holiday season (selling 750k units over Thanks Giving compared to the Wii U’s 400,000 initial first week sales), one could speculate that Nintendo are losing confidence in their new console, possibly capitalising on a late “second wind” for the now older, but vastly more popular Wii console.
With a $250~300 price tag difference between the new Wii U and Wii Mini, Nintendo is appealing to a wider consumer audience. Although the console has yet to be confirmed for the rest of the world, one must question a buyer’s incentive to invest in such a console when the Wii U features backward compatibility for Wii games, vastly superior features and a new catalogue of videogames.
Regardless, it’ll make interesting talk amongst the retro gamers of the future who will possibly buy this console as part of their collection.