Nintendo President sees no need to replace the Wii

We can debate whether the Wii’s overclocked GameCube roots put the system in the same generation as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but no one can deny Nintendo has sold far more of its latest console than either Sony or Microsoft. Since its launch in 2006, nearly 71 million Wiis have been purchased by consumers, which is only slightly lower than combined number of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 units sold to date. Those sales figures are likely to climb higher in the coming years, because Nintendo President Satoru Iwata sees no need to replace the console.

"I do not think that there is an immediate need to replace the Wii console. But of course, at some point in the future, the need will arise," Iwata said through a translator on the sidelines of the E3 video game conference in Los Angeles.

"We currently do not have an answer as to what point in the future that need will come."

The Wii’s meager graphics horsepower has long been a point of contention with hardcore gamers, and the console’s inability to even output a 720p signal seems horribly antiquated at a time when high-definition displays are everywhere—and cheap. Fancy graphics and higher resolutions are no substitute for good gameplay, of course, but the Wii’s software library is loaded with more than its fair share of garbage. Low-def graphics and a motion controller certainly don’t guarantee good gameplay.

Iwata at E3 on Tuesday. Source: Business Wire.

I suppose Iwata may have a point about there being no immediate need to replace the Wii, though. With Sony and Microsoft showing what appear to be more precise and versatile motion controllers for their respective consoles, two replacements look to be lined up already. Besides, Nintendo has been busy addressing the apparently much more pressing, er, need for 3D displays and cameras in portable gaming devices.

Comments closed
    • lamparalaptopiaguita
    • 9 years ago

    $$$$$ > quality

    just ask apple and co.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    In the day and age of phones that stream 1080p video, I’m surprised there’s not some simple add on for it to upscale existing games and be able to play back HD video.

    But then again, you still can’t even play DS games on a TV, far as I know. Where Nintendo really dropped the ball is completely ignoring any potential for expanding on what they’ve already got.

      • ew
      • 9 years ago

      All HDTVs have built in up-scaling for SDTV content.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 9 years ago

        All upscaling methods are not created equal, especially not upscaling at a point past the signal source.

        That doesn’t explain even one little iota why they twiddle their thumbs over something so common place and inexpensive.

          • Game_boy
          • 9 years ago

          Nintendo never split their userbase in terms of game experience. With handhelds they change form factor but the game always looks and plays exactly the same. An HD add-on or upscaler wouldn’t do that.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 9 years ago

            I’m not sure what you’re saying. They’ve done add ons before so you can play Gameboy games on the consoles. That’s pretty much all I was getting at, but to allow HD video. There’s no splitting user bases, just offering a feature that it didn’t come with, but could surely be given, in a way that’s been done before several times.

    • PetMiceRnice
    • 9 years ago

    Yeah I remember when all of the hardcore gamers came out before the Wii was first launched and said that it would “flop” because of the weaker internal hardware versus the Xbox 360 and PS3. Funny how all of them suddenly shut up afterwards. Nintendo was able to bring out something innovative while keeping the price down at the same time.

    And no, I don’t own a Wii and never did, but I know friends and relatives who would normally never purchase a game console in their lives going out and buying one.

      • blazer_123
      • 9 years ago

      Perfect Response. +1!

      • lex-ington
      • 9 years ago

      I am one of those Wii owners that don’t really care for the thing. I bought it some months before the price drop, so $300 for a re-badged Game Cube really got to me. I cannot agree at any time that Nintendo kept the price down since they actually charged ‘more’ for the re-done game cube. I bought it for the “family” that currently only wants to play Soul Caliber (my wife) and Nascar (my 4-year old son) on the PS3. He said to me yesterday, “Daddy, I like the black nintendo picture (the ps3), I don’t like the white nintendo picture. Can we get bowling for the black nintendo?.”

      Every time this topic comes up, I wonder why we bother comparing the systems. The PS3 to the 360 can somewhat be compared, but the Wii should not be mentioned with those two cause they can actually DO other stuff. The Wii is a game machine and that’s it.

    • YeuEmMaiMai
    • 9 years ago

    lol at all the internet wanna be people who think that they know better than Nintendo……..they actually listened to the people and gave them what they wanted and they are getting rewarded for it…..not to mention that the systems are EXTREMELY family friendly………

    • liquidsquid
    • 9 years ago

    Now, if only my Wii stopped “killing” it’s own CD-ROM so I cannot play games, I would be happy. I think it is “silver-bulleting” itself thinking I hacked it.

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 9 years ago

      Perhaps it found Seppuku preferable to working for you.

    • Game_boy
    • 9 years ago

    The consoles with HD graphics have low sales and low profitability to date. The console with SD graphics and motion control has had high sales and high profitability. Why would Nintendo wish to emulate its competitors and add HD, possibly fragmenting the userbase?

    The other two annoncing motion controls are four years late. Microsoft’s Kinect lineup is almost entirely Sports, Party and Fitness games, which the Wii has a huge head start on install base for. Sony has basically cloned the Wiimote. If either company wanted to make progress against Wii they should have announced software that does what Nintendo doesn’t or can’t that attracts new customers who currently don’t game at all. And Kinect+Xbox 360 is far more expensive than a Wii too; even price won’t persuade people to buy it over the Wii.

    And no matter how much core software Nintendo announces (For the Wii alone: 2D Mario, 2x3D Mario, 2xMetroid, 2xZelda, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Mario Kart, Smash Bros., Paper Mario, Punch-Out so far) people will still complain that there’s no good games. So then Nintendo announces the 3DS, whose lineup is bigger in quantity and quality of core games than any console launch I remember (Kid Icarus, Mario Kart, Paper Mario, Star Fox 64, Ocarina of Time, Metal Gear Solid, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Pilotwings, Resident Evil, Street Fighter) and according to people’s reactions a 3D screen that not only works just as well as if it needed glasses but actually enhances the gameplay; and graphics in the Gamecube class, better than the PSP by far. And I’ve still seen posts that this E3 ruined their childhood Nintendo for them.

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 9 years ago

    It will be interesting to see their next move. Maybe instead of a race to make the fastest console, now there will be a race to make the console with the best motion controller. Maybe they’ll just slap another core onto their current product, bump the RAM and grab some low end GPU, then spend 75% of their R&D on the motion controller.

      • Hattig
      • 9 years ago

      Would that be so bad?

      I certainly think that Sony could go the cheap route – 4 Cells on a single die (4 PPUs, 32 SPUs) with an updated NVIDIA graphics core (GF106 for example will probably be far faster than the 7900 series RSX, and 2 GB RAM.

      That would allow 1080p gaming in 3D at high frame rates, with physics done on Cell, and enough normal cores to run all the complex stuff.

      I’m sure that Nintendo are working on a HD Wii, but they’re not exactly going to say that if it’s not nearly ready.

        • Game_boy
        • 9 years ago

        If Nintendo do a Wii HD, it will have some extra value that will be the defining feature. Like 3D was for the 3DS, or motion for the Wii, or the touchscreen for the DS. HD will be a feature, but Nintendo won’t waste money pushing it or making games just to be HD. The new feature will be a new form of control (like the analogue stick was to SNES-pad gamers) that can make new software look different to anything else on the market and desirable.

        3D is a more ‘wow that’s so different’ technology than HD was. The first time people see the 3DS, if journalist reactions are anything to go by, they will want a 3DS. It’s funny that they’ve done it before Sony has. Sony will take another two years to develop a 3D handheld /[

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 9 years ago

        Yeah I hope Sony sticks to Cell, just so that there is something interesting going on out there. Xbox and Wii are really boring little machines. That said, I wonder if Sony would benefit from having four of those horrible little in-order PPC cores, seems a lot like trying to reach reasonable performance by packing a lot of Atoms onto a die. Hopefully they change to something derived from Power4/5/7 and go dual core.

        I wonder how much having three cores and six threads has helped Xbox.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 9 years ago

      haven’t turned my wii on in 1.5 years, enough said.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 9 years ago

        They have pills for that now…

          • demani
          • 9 years ago

          Take two hours of SMB and call us in the morning.

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    This reminds me about the time when AMD was so confident with their Athlon 64 X2 chips then all of a sudden Intel was already clobbering them with the Core 2.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      This is kind of the other way around. Sony and MS may be large companies, but Nintendo is the Intel in this department.

        • HisDivineShadow
        • 9 years ago

        Not so long ago, they were the VIA in this sector with the Gamecube and Nintendo64.

        Nintendo’s hubris is that they can sit on the Wii and profit forever. If (or when) Sony and Microsoft realize they have to lose money to eventually make money with these motion control devices, they’ll be priced so low every 360 and/or PS3 owner’ll get one. Especially the Move which already has the potential to be used with only the webcam and Move controller (using the Six Axis/Dual Shock most people already have for navigation).

        The thing is, its so simple for Nintendo to put out a Wii HD that costs a little more and is compatible with current Wii games. You make it so Wii’s can pull lower resolution textures for standard Wii and higher resolution textures for Wii HD. Offer a modicum of improvements that a standard Wii won’t attempt to justify the HD.

        I hate the way the Wii’s 480p looks on my HDTV compared to what a 360 or PS3 can do. Nintendo’s argument that they don’t do “superficial improvements that don’t add anything except HD” flies in the face of the fact they just released a DS that did nothing except increase the size (and cost).

        Because of this, I hope MS and Sony remind Nintendo what happened the last time they rested on their laurels (ie., Gamecube) and tried to compete on even terms with their competitors…

    • Shining Arcanine
    • 9 years ago

    What does Geoff mean by the following? I find it to be unclear.

    “I suppose Iwata may have a point about there being no immediate need to replace the Wii, though. With Sony and Microsoft showing what appear to be more precise and versatile motion controllers for their respective consoles, two replacements look to be lined up already.”

      • MadManOriginal
      • 9 years ago

      I think he’s saying that MS and Sony aren’t replacing their consoles entirely but rather update-placing them by adding motion control accessories. Sony has continuously altered the PS3 and now has the slim, MS was doing internal updates too and now has the new XBox version but they are both the same hardware in general (Sony’s has actaully lost capabilities but oh well.)

        • pikaporeon
        • 9 years ago

        I think its more along the lines of Geoff stating that the Wii will lose out to the motion-added extensions to the other two consoles

          • Dissonance
          • 9 years ago

          Ding ding ding. Give that man a prize.

          • khands
          • 9 years ago

          I really don’t see that happening anytime soon though, the HC crowd isn’t very fond of motion control, and most of the casuals who would’ve bought it already have a Wii. With the add on’s being almost as expensive, it just doesn’t seem to make that much sense.

    • Xenolith
    • 9 years ago

    You never announce a new console until it tested and ready for production. You just kill off the existing console’s sales by announcing too early. I am sure they are tinkering with a new console.

    How about a Wii Slim? With a VESA mount?

      • ClickClick5
      • 9 years ago

      Exactly. Nintendo DOES have a console in the wood work, they have to. However, when the time comes, as Xen said, they will announce the new console when the time comes.

        • khands
        • 9 years ago

        IIRC they usually start R&D on a new console before their current gen hits store shelves, I’m going to guess that we’ll see something in 2012.

          • Game_boy
          • 9 years ago

          Yes. They’re constantly working on new consoles.
          They will only release one when current software sales begin to decline greatly, just like they did for the NES, SNES, N64 and GC before it.

    • albundy
    • 9 years ago

    next thing you know, they will be remaking the same games from previous console iterations…oh wait…

    could also be a publicity stunt to thwart competitors…

    • Buub
    • 9 years ago

    They need to come out with an upgraded version with HD output for one simple reason: Netflix streaming.

    I would love to have a Wii more than the other consoles, because I think it would be the most entertaining for my family. But I have no desire to stream Netflix in low-def. Both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 can stream Netflix in HD.

      • RickyTick
      • 9 years ago

      You’re exactly right.

      Streaming a low-def Netflix movie is not much fun, but for my family we have a Wii in the kid’s playroom and an XBOX 360 in the living room where the HD TV is. So the kids can watch Netflix on the Wii and it doesn’t matter to them, and we can watch HD movies in the other room. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you only going to have only one console, the Wii may not be the best choice from a family’s perspective.

      • blazer_123
      • 9 years ago

      How many HD movies do you stream? DVD releases are lowly ‘standard def’. The Wii could not even come close to processing HD movies. Upscaling a movie on a console is completely different then a HD movie.

      HD netflix streaming is marketing BS.

      (a standard definition movie on netflix is 480p while a ‘lower’ definition is 360p. Very few people have the bandwidth to stream a HD movie and I doubt netflix even allows that.)

        • Buub
        • 9 years ago

        I don’t stream any HD movies, because I don’t own a device capable of doing so.

        I do however regularly watch Blu-Ray discs on my Blu-Ray player, and enjoy them immensely over standard DVDs.

        And yes, Netflix does stream HD to the Xbox 360 and PS3.

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