Nintendo Wii 2: specs and features wishlist
If the internet rumourmill is to be believed, we could be seeing the Nintendo Wii 2 as early as June 2011 at the E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles. While the Wii led the way in motion-controlled gaming it has been rather outshined lately by Sony's PlayStation Move and Microsoft's controller-free Xbox Kinect system. So, in that case, what would we like to see on the Nintendo Wii 2 to help it stand up to its rival consoles? Read on to find out.
The idea of putting a Blu-ray drive into the PS3 was an absolute masterstroke by Sony. Not only did it help Blu-ray to defeat HD DVD in the high-def disc format war, it also set the PS3 apart from its gaming console rivals. Blu-ray may have been more of an early adoptor technology when it first appeared in the PS3, but with players now a hell of a lot cheaper, the inclusion of one on the Wii 2 could give it a much-needed boost. Whether Nintendo would hand this concession to their rival is another question.
Out of the three main consoles (Xbox, PS3 and Wii), the Wii is the least powerful, having been largely marketed at families and casual gamers, rather than hardcore enthusiasts. One thing that any new console is almost sure to have is an improved graphics processor. According to the blogosphere, the Wii 2 is rumoured to be getting a quad-core processor which would up its game considerably, replacing the IBM Broadway 720MHz processor and ATI Hollywood GPU. To put that into perspective, a quad-core chipset could put the Wii 2 in the same league as the Xbox 360 and its tri-core processor.
Compared to its rivals, the Wii has very average storage options with a paltry 512MB of built-in Flash memory which can be expanded up to 32GB via SD and SDHC card. Compare that to the Xbox's 250GB or the PS3 Slim's minimum memory capacity of 120GB and you can see why committed gamers turn their noses up at the Wii. The SD card-based storage system on the current Wii is flexible but limited, so we'd love to see a move to HDD on the Wii 2.
Full HD HDMI support
Not many gaming or AV products are launched nowadays without the inclusion of at least one HDMI port, so the fact that the first-generation Wii hasn't got one is quite unusual, choosing instead to rely on composite or Scart connections. A lack of support full HD 1080p pictures is becoming far less acceptable now that HD TVs have swiftly become the norm. We would put money on the Wii 2 getting an HDMI port as Nintendo really can't afford not to this time round.
More gesture controls
When the Wii first came out, it didn't take us long to figure out that despite the enthusiastic jumping around in the adverts, it was entirely possible to have a game of tennis or ten-pin bowling on the Wii simply with a flick of the rest while sitting comfortably in a chair, rather than leaping around like a loon. We've already mentioned the Xbox Kinect and the fact that it offers a motion-based gaming experience without even needing a controller, relying instead on your own body movements. We'd like to see something similar on the Wii 2 so that games can be controlled using various gestures, so that you're not limited to just Wiimote play.
Improved online options
The online experience on the current Wii isn't bad, but it could certainly be a lot better. UK users get the benefit of the BBC's iPlayer TV catch-up service, while Netflix is an option for users in the US and Canada. On the Wii 2, we'd like to a few general online improvements including the introduction of live chat and perhaps something that's on a par with Microsoft's impressive Xbox Live service. It would also be nice to add to online movie streaming capability in the UK with the addition of Lovefilm and maybe expand the range of TV catch-up services to include the likes of 4oD and ITV Player.
Nintendo recently cemented its membership of Team 3D by introducing the 3DS, with its glasses-free 3D screen. Given this development and the increasing popularity of 3D gaming, there are plenty of rumours to suggest that the Wii 2 will be getting 3D support. We're not sure whether this will be the case. 3D is still really in its early stages and the reason that the 3DS is so appealing is because the screen is built-in, it doesn't need glasses and the parallax barrier technology is well suited to a handheld device that's only used by one person at a time. Although 3D on the Wii would be nice, we're not sure if it will be coming just yet. If it does appear, then we'd also like to see 3DS integration on the new console.
A built-in LED projector isn't necessarily something that we want to see, but something that is rumoured to be coming on the Wii 2. There's no doubt playing Wii games with the action projected onto a 70-inch screen is excellent fun but building a projector into the console is sure to up the price considerably and maybe even put it out of reach for may casual gamers. You also need to have a spare expanse of wall to project the picture onto, which not everyone has.
What would you like to see on the Wii 2?