Screen Digest: "Room for iterative Wii" before 2012 new console

Analyst also feels Kinect has "potential to have more of an impact" than Move

Screen Digest's Piers Harding-Rolls has explained the analysts' thinking on its recent prediction that new console hardware will arrive in 2013 or 2014 "at the earliest."

Speaking to yesterday, he said of Nintendo's Wii that "We expect it to have a shorter lifecycle than the high definition consoles" and thus expected a new Nintendo console sooner than a next-gen PlayStation or Xbox. "We're actually pitching it for an end of 2012 Japan release and the rest of world in 2013."

However, he felt there may be a Nintendo hardware revision before that time. "Our forecast actually incorporates the idea that there will be an upgraded version of the Wii available.

"There is potentially significant movement to come from Wii pricing in the future. If you look at the handheld strategy they've got the DSi and the 3DS, so I think they've got room to have to this iterative version before a 2012 or 2013 release."

In terms of Microsoft, he felt the arrival date of new hardware was contingent on the success of Kinect. "A 2013 launch is actually a significantly extended cycle compared to the original Xbox. So it is developing the longevity of the cycle. Kinect is going to play a part of it. It does depend how strong Kinect is in terms of adoption.

"At the moment we see it as an elongation, more staving off the decline of the platform. Not something that's really going to drive massive adoption or a reenergising of the platform so to speak, ticking over until a new platform comes."

However, he felt that long-tail rather than launch sales were key to how long Microsoft would push Kinect rather than turn to new hardware. "The situation I'm looking for not what at happens at launch but what happens in the six month range. If it starts to gain some significant momentum we would have to look at changing our forecasts."

When asked if Kinect failing to perform might lead to Microsoft moving more rapidly to a new console, he was unconvinced it would be practicable. "There is probably some movement in terms of a launch window for a new platform, but it will always take time to design and develop these platforms and to get enough content on.

"Bringing it forward might be possible from a technology viewpoint, but from your content partners' viewpoint it might not be so easy."

He felt, however, that Microsoft's motion controller was a stronger prospect than Sony's PlayStation Move, describing the latter more as "peripheral play" and dependent on how Sony bundled it.

"I think Kinect's got the potential to have more of an impact - the way Microsoft are approaching it, bundling it for a new audience. That potential late stage user, the more casual people who bought the PS2 in its late stages with content that was much more mainstream, like Singstar."

Screen Digest felt new Sony hardware proper would arrive in 2014, and that "We wait to see what the Wii does in response" to Kinect and Move.

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Latest comments (6)

What would Nintendo put in a iterative Wii? They can't up the hardware specs - and putting a HD upscaler just seems odd.

It might be feasible to release a smaller Wii, minus GC ports & hardware. Maybe more internal memory - and maybe with a Wiimote combined with Motion+. Maybe a HDMI port?

Not sure there is a real point though - be better off releasing some new marketing & Wii bundles. A Donkey Kong, Mario Kart, NSMB and/or Zelda bundles would reinvigorate sales - possibly combined with another price cut?

I do agree with Xmas 2012 though - which is 6 years after the Wii was originally released, and a solid 18 months on the market for the 3DS.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.11 years ago
I too cannot see a reasonable purpose for a Wii remodel. Bundling and software will continue to be their market drivers. And the Vitality Sensor, if that's still in the cards, will likely be the only new hardware.

I also think they'll release their next console near or just before the competition. Launching too early gives the competition time to maneuver.
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University11 years ago
Have Nintendo ever created a minor update of existing home console hardware? I don't think looking at Nintendo's strategy with their handhelds gives solid ideas as what to expect from their home console business. They've constantly released different models of handhelds (GameBoy to Pocket, to Colour, generation leap to Advance, to SP, to Micro, leap to DS, to Lite, to DSi, to XL, leap to 3DS) without doing anything similar (as far as I am aware) for their home consoles.

Let's not forget Nintendo has the Vitality Sensor yet to come. If that has the impact of the Wii Fit/board bundle and the Sports Resort/Motion Plus bundle, I don't think Nintendo will bother with a minor hardware revision. They can also bundle with existing or upcoming software (as someone above pointed out), release new colours or cut price. Is a Wii Fit plus bundle or a Mario Kart Wii bundle really out of the question?

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You all make good points and i agree, mainly on the bundle packages and price cuts. But we also forget that Nintendo has already made its money from the wii by selling 70+ million units world wide, that's incredible!

If anything, I think Nintendo shouldn't worry too much since its hardware is in most households around the world. What Nintendo really should be doing is investing and developing NEW IPS. Not IPs that have been milked the past 20 years. "oh look its Mario kart 346 this time he has a new hat!" Sigh, Please someone at least agree with me on that.

Since Microsoft and Sony is heading for the fun, Family, Casual market, maybe Nintendo should do the opposite and try to lure hardcore gamers with games that don't make you feel either cheesy or a child.

Thats just my personal opinion.
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Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer 11 years ago
I think it is very interesting that the vitality sensor actually took a back seat this year at E3 for 3DS. This could be a strategic move not only for 3DS marketing but also to wow people when they suddenly show something in relation to vitality sensor. The peripheral has been another skeptical item for Nintendo among its peers since the first showing so Nintendo must do something great to help not only the peripheral but revigorate interests in Wii. Of course that is based on whether vitality sensor is still on the drawing board.

From E3 you can see the first party software shown by Nintendo is trying to reignite interests and creativity for third parties. Metroid: Other M, Kirby Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Revisit, Zelda: Skyward Sword are all reinvention of old franchises. They are all good reminders for third party developers that they are killing the console with substandard shovelware.

At the end of the day it is the software that keeps a console going.

I think if Kinect and Move really take off, then there will be a price cut before the holiday season here otherwise, I will be other kinds of incentives to keep people interested.
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I can see a few possibilities re: the vitality sensor:

1/ It just hasn't worked as well as planned, and they are either letting it die - or spending a lot more time on development.

2/ Its working moderately well, and they are keeping it as a "disruptive" surprise.

3/ Its working *so* well, rather than treating it as an add-on - its becoming a critical part of the next iteration of the Wii. Its well known that peripherals released *after* a console has been on the market for some time tend to fail: even Wii Balance board with all the WiiFit success only has a few games supporting it.

Definitely curious about it: as unlikely as it is, I'd love to see it launch alongside a new Eternal Darkness title :)
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