High-definition Wii refresh coming ‘by 2011’

Nintendo’s Wii console has many perks: a fun, intuitive control scheme, an affordable price tag, and the ability to play old-school Nintendo games. You can’t praise the Wii for its graphics horsepower, though, since its hardware has more in common with the old Nintendo GameCube than current-gen systems like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

According to a report by What They Play, Nintendo may not disappoint eye-candy lovers with its next effort. The site claims to have heard from multiple sources that Nintendo is "showing early presentations" of a next-generation console that will show up "by 2011." This console "is said to be the true ‘next generation’ Nintendo console, and far more than a simple refresh of the current hardware."

Supposedly, the presentation refers to this console as the "Wii HD" and says it will conserve the Wii’s key elements while giving the internal hardware a much-needed upgrade. The Wii HD will naturally produce high-definition graphics, and What They Play says Nintendo will put "a greater emphasis on digitally distributed and backwardly compatible content." Nintendo could therefore extend its partnership with AMD and IBM to make sure the next-gen console can play today’s games.

The 2011 time frame does fit with the typical five-year console life cycle, so this could all be guesswork. What They Play points out that Nintendo’s yearly R&D spending tripled between 2006 and 2007, however, suggesting that Nintendo may indeed be working on something big. (Thanks to Engadget for the tip.)

Comments closed
    • YeuEmMaiMai
    • 13 years ago

    arcade may be cheaper but

    you only get

    standard cables
    no headset
    256MB storage
    no network cable
    inability to play xbox games unless you add a HDD

    • Tommyxx516
    • 13 years ago

    Wii HD in 2011, just about the same time when Microsoft announces the
    Xbox720 and Sony PS4.

    Yes Wii HD will be backward compatible with Wii games, but it’s a whole new system all together. Wii will not be able to play Wii HD games.

    In my opinion, the only good thing that came out of the Wii was the controller. Everything else, from hardware to software was a huge dissappointment.

    • ClickClick5
    • 13 years ago

    I like how that sounds, Wii HD. Or HD Wii.
    🙂

      • Jon
      • 13 years ago

      ..or…Wiid

      🙂

      • Voldenuit
      • 13 years ago

      They should call it Wiiagra :p

      • ew
      • 13 years ago

      How about WiiD? edit: oh Jon already said that

    • ImSpartacus
    • 13 years ago

    Yeah, price will not drop unless Nintendo begins to take a hit on their sales. I honestly don’t see the Wii staying on top for that long. If it does then the price will stand.

    • clone
    • 13 years ago

    2011……. wow how unsurprising.

    • blastdoor
    • 13 years ago

    It’s a no-brainer that Nintendo will eventually go HD. But it will be very interesting to see what they do with that extra R&D money. Will they fall into the same habits of MS and Sony by trying to cram as many transistors into their little box as possible for the sole purpose of improving graphical realism? Or will they continue to focus on improving *all* aspects of gaming rather than just one?

    I’m sure everyone hopes it’s the latter.

      • indeego
      • 13 years ago

      Has Nintendo ever focused more on the tech than the gaming and keeping cost downg{

    • bcronce
    • 13 years ago

    Nintendo knows what’s up when they waited on pushing out a fully new console. with all the changes going on right now with 3d vid cards and CPUs, they’ll have a fast, stable, cheap system by 2011.

    • Hattig
    • 13 years ago

    Maybe Nintendo will drop the price of the Wii one day before then!

    Might as well do completely pointless daydream specification guessing, given that Nintendo will want to make a profit on the hardware, have a small form factor (low heat) and not sell above $250:

    – Radeon HD4670 equivalent on 40nm process with added backward compatibility for Wii graphics hardware

    – Dual or Quad core PowerPC, same core as current Wii but faster, and with additional SIMD unit per core for physics/OpenCL (but might be offloaded to graphics)

    – BluRay drive (they’ll be cheap by 2011) ? 50% chance. Maybe no drive at all?

    – 32GB internal flash memory (whilst prices are dropping, they won’t drop so fast as to make 64GB a <$20 component). 16GB or 32GB depending on price

    – drop gamecube compatibility (memory and controller ports)

      • derFunkenstein
      • 13 years ago

      if 100% of your stock sells at the current price, why would you drop it?

      • tocatl
      • 13 years ago

      Nintendo should put a 40nm 4850 or maybe a 4870 in the new wii, and a decent amd 3.0ghz dual core, by 2011 those components wont be very expensive, about the drive, if crysis fits into a dvd9 i dont see why they would go for bluray, and they wont drop GC compatibility…

        • ImSpartacus
        • 13 years ago

        How old will the GC be after 2010? Well past it’s lifetime. Backwards compatibility will probably be cut.

        Blu Ray will be common by then.

        Quad Cores will be extremely common by then too. I would be shocked if they didnt’ simply multiply their current CPU’s cores.

          • willyolio
          • 13 years ago

          i doubt blu-ray would be common enough. DVD took until 2006 to surpass VHS in homes. and that’s with several obvious technological and convenience advantages. blu-ray will probably take much longer than DVD, because it doesn’t offer much more than HD video, and also requires users to upgrade their TVs as well as their players.

          • packfan_dave
          • 13 years ago

          I should hope Nintendo’s not just using a higher-clocked, die-shrunk, multi-core variant of the Wii CPU. Unless the initial specs that were flying around were wildly wrong, the Wii’s CPU is a very lightly modified G3 running at 800 MHz or so, and that’s just really weak even for a small and (relatively) cheap console. I’d think a dual-core G5 variant fabbed at 45nm or smaller would be workable with Nintendo’s cost and power requirements. Or a 3-4 core PPE variant (ala the Xbox 360 CPU).

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 13 years ago

            Meh the G3 was a fine little chip, hell they could sign up for a good old “G4+” architecture that we all know and love from the ages Apple used them. They are tiny, cheap, and well performing considering the thermals (of course they have not moved beyond 90nm last I checked).

            I doubt that Nintendo will choose performance over size/cost/silence.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 13 years ago

    hey, shoudln’t this have a “?” on the end since it’s a rumor?

    • Xenolith
    • 13 years ago

    One way to kill Wii sales, start talking about the next gen.

      • Voldenuit
      • 13 years ago

      Wii users do not know (or care) about the hardware.

      • UberGerbil
      • 13 years ago

      Just means the people who want one may actually be able to find one.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 13 years ago

      yes, because people who want a Wii now are willing ot wait 3 years.

      They’ve waited 2 already, I suppose…

        • dragmor
        • 13 years ago

        Nintendo are making 1.2-1.5 million Wii’s a month. More than any other console. At the same time in its lifetime Sony was producing less than 1 million PS2.

        Apart from the original xmas I’ve not known anyone is Oz that had a problem getting a Wii. It was only ever a question of getting the best deal below RRP. But then we are paying ~$400 for the console and your paying $250 (poor US dollar means redirected shipments) and we have a lay buy system that works (put your name on a list and they call you when it arrives a week or two later).

    • Corrado
    • 13 years ago

    They should try to make the regular Wii available to anyone that wants it before an upgrade. I still don’t see Wiis around in stores here.

      • blastdoor
      • 13 years ago

      2011 is a ways off yet.

        • Corrado
        • 13 years ago

        Thats not the point. The point is its been almost 3 years and you still can’t just walk into a store and buy a Wii. I’m sorry but there isn’t THAT much demand for it. Esp since its also not the cheapest of the 3 any longer either.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 13 years ago

    I just hope they give it more internal storage or support USB drives for playing downloaded games. I’m getting pretty full from VC stuff and the two Strong Bad episodes.

    • ScythedBlade
    • 13 years ago

    … Urge to … Graduate with CS degree and join Nintendo to make better SSB …

    damn you Sakurai!!!!

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