Nintendo: No Wii Successor Anytime Soon

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on January 13, 2010

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime says don’t count on Nintendo introducing an update to its hit Wii videogame console, or new system, in the coming months.

Sony and Microsoft plan to challenge rival Nintendo’s dominance of the current console generation with add-ons they hope will deliver a more sophisticated take on motion control than the motion-sensing technology in the three-year-old Wii. But Fils-Aime, in an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, said: “We are confident the Wii home entertainment console has a very long life in front of it.”

The Japanese videogame maker is betting that upcoming installments of its franchise hits Metroid Prime and Super Mario will reinvigorate the red-hot sales that kept the console in short supply for the first two years of its life.

Nintendo in October issued its first profit warning in six years as sales slowed sharply and the strength of the Yen, relative to the currencies of the U.S. dollar and other countries where it sells its products, sapped profits.

Industry watchers and analysts have been speculating for months that Nintendo is prepping an update to the Wii that offers more sophisticated high-definition gaming. Sony, which already has HD gaming on its PlayStation 3, this year also plans to release software that will allow PS3 owners to watch movies and play games in 3-D. The PS3 has seen a surge in sales after Sony cut the price of its base model and introduced a slimmer version of the game system.

Nintendo on Jan. 13 hoped to counter recent moves by Sony and Microsoft to transform their consoles from gaming consoles into home entertainment platforms by announcing that it will let members this spring stream Netflix movies and TV episodes to the televisions via the Wii console.

To watch content, Wii users will need a special “instant-streaming” disc that Netflix will mail out to members who request a copy. They will then be able to use the Wii’s motion controller to navigate through their Netflix account and pick what they want to watch.

Microsoft has long offered the ability to stream Netflix through the Xbox 360 as part of a premium service plan in its Xbox Live online platform, while Sony recently began delivering the same service under similar conditions to the Nintendo agreement.

With the outcome of this generation’s console wars still very much in doubt as each manufacturer races to up the ante, many analysts believe it’s only a matter of time before Nintendo is forced to add new technology instead of new software to the Wii.

Fils-Aime suggested no such announcement would be make at the upcoming Game Developers Conference in March in San Francisco but did not elaborate on the type of announcements Nintendo will make at the annual gaming confab, the E3 Expo, in mid-June.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://blogs.businessweek.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/

Reader Comments

Sanjay

January 13, 2010 05:42 PM

The thing is that the existing Wii technology hasn't been fully exploited by games, in no small part due to the fact that 3rd party developers haven't been fully exploring or tapping all the new possibilities with Wii. The most that 3rd party developers have done is to include a token waggle here and there.

I love playing Wii Boxing, even after all these years. I wish there was even just one 3rd party game out there that replicated its very satisfying punching mechanic, to allow me to punch my way through a horde of enemies, or knock down walls, etc, in an action setting. Nobody's really bothered to make anything like that.

When I bought Wii Fit Plus, one of the games that I most enjoyed was Wii Jogging, where you put the Wiimote in your pocket and jog on the spot, while your onscreen Mii jogs through a beautiful island paradise. I would love to see even one 3rd party game that might allow me to use the same jogging mechanic to chase after or elude enemies while running around in an action game. Nobody's really bothered to make anything like that.

Wii Fit Plus also includes a snowball fight game, which allows you to use the balance board to duck in and out from behind barriers to throw snowballs at others, while dodging incoming snowballs. I have yet to see any 3rd party developers take advantage of such capabilities, to make a game like Time Crisis or like Keisatsukan/Police-911, which feature duck-and-shoot gameplay.

When I bought Wii Sports Resort and the Motionplus attachment, I was absolutely thrilled with being able to do swordfighting, archery, or to toss a frisbee with precision. Why can't a 3rd party make a game that allows you this type of medieval melee combat, a la Lord of the Rings? The only sword-and-shield title of this type in development is Nintendo's own Zelda. (Why can't LucasArts come out with even just one Jedi game that allows you to control a light-sabre with Motionplus? Hardcore players would go crazy over something like that.)

So clearly Nintendo sees the possibilities in its own hardware, but how come the 3rd party developers seem so incapable of sharing in that bold vision?

Some critics deride Nintendo titles like Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Wii Sports Resort as mere tech demos. But if they are indeed demos, then why can't others draw inspiration of them? If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I've yet to see any 3rd party developers even flatter Nintendo by borrowing their proven ideas on Wii, to produce titles that make use of these proven satisfying game mechanics, even while having a different look and feel of their own.

Nintendo has come out with something bold and new, while the 3rd party developers are mired in a business-as-usual mentality. They just haven't embraced the vision. I'm really disappointed at their tokenistic waggle offerings. Those aren't the satisfying game mechanics that the Wii is capable of. Gamers don't live by eye-candy only -- the mechanics of motion can be very appealing and satisfying in themselves, and 3rd party developers need to think more on how to achieve that more immersive type of satisfaction.

Robert

January 13, 2010 06:19 PM

Tey want to up sales
sell another zelda or 3

Strategery

January 13, 2010 06:33 PM

For me, the selling point of the Wii is not the new games, but rather it's ability to play old games! The virtual console allows you to download (for a fee) games originally on the NES, SNES, N64, Sega Genesis and others.

wiiboycubed101

January 13, 2010 08:09 PM

with this generation not yet WHAT !!!!


Wii hasn't just won a gen its won the whole console war

ps3 5 billion loss

xbox 1 4 billion loss

x360 4 billion loss and counting

ps3 and x360 operate at loss and wiis gap is growing wider as wii outsells x360 and ps3 so the gap is ever widening

nintendo gave a profit warning did they

YES VS LAST YEAR THE GREATEST EVER PROFITS IN GAMING

BUT AGAINST ALL OTHER YEARS AND PROFITS EVER IN GAMING nintendo will still make HUGE PROFITS THIS YEAR VASTLY MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE INCLUDING THE ENTIRE SONY CORP

nintendo sold over 5 million units of out the door profiting consoles in december alone usa

the war is long won

and 10 year life plans for x360/ps3 is excuse for not wanting to continue in a war thats cost them billions

WAKE UP MAN

Post a comment

 

About

BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

Categories

 

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!