For a five-year-old game console with no major updates in tow, the Nintendo Wii has been in the news an awful lot this month. There was that rumored price cut on May 15, the damning reports about its sales figures, and Kotaku noted that the Wii’s games list has thinned out considerably.
So it comes as no surprise that on Friday, the blogosphere was rife with reports, led by IGN and Game Informer, that Nintendo is announcing its next-generation console at the E3 Expo on June 7-9.
French tech publication 01.net reports that the console is codenamed “Project Café” and will feature an in-built sensor bar, dual analog sticks, a standard d-pad, and trigger buttons. Game Informer said the new Wii will have HD support, while Kotaku reports that the console’s specs will be “more powerful” than an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
Nintendo “declines to comment on speculation or rumors,” but IGN and Game Informer both cited anonymous sources claiming that Nintendo will announce the next-generation console in at E3 this year and launch it in 2012.
Targeting casual gamers with its novel motion sensor technology, the Wii was once the hottest console in the U.S. but has seen its popularity dip considerably as newer motion sensor technology, like the Kinect for Xbox 360, launched. In February Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said Wii sales dropped 31.5 percent in January (usually a big month for console purchases), more than rivals Sony and Microsoft. It’s a far cry from the time PCMag editor called the Nintendo Wii the Best Product Ever.
For more, see PCMag’s review of the Wii, which was launched in 2006.