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.