With the Wii U is now on the market and first week sales topping 400,000 units (according to Nintendo), the question now turns to the fate to the original Wii. The output for the console has been on the decline in recent months, leading many to assume that Nintendo will simply leave it for dead. However, while the overall sales of the console have been decreasing, units are still being sold and Nintendo is still making money. Whether or not it will have the ten year shelf life of the PlayStation 2 is debatable, however it doesn’t appear that the console is headed to its grave just yet. With the holiday season fast approaching, Nintendo is releasing a brand new iteration of the Wii console, this time in the form of a discounted and stripped-down “mini” model that will be sold exclusively in Canada. If you have yet to purchase a Wii system, this might tilt the scales in favor of you finally taking the plunge.
This latest version, dubbed the ”Wii Mini“, was leaked onto the Best Buy Canada website earlier today. While the link has since been taken down, it has been confirmed that the site will begin taking pre-orders shortly. The mini unit represents the most interesting hardware refresh that the console has undergone, ditching the various colors of the classic original in favor of a smaller black box with red trim. The power and eject buttons have been relocated to the top of the console, with the buttons being flush with the top surface. It definitely looks like a no-frills console, and certain core features of the original console have been removed in order to make this a budget-priced package. The backwards compatibility for Gamecube games has been taken away, and both the wireless and ethernet options have also been removed. This means that the console will not have the ability to connect to the internet, which means that you’re out of luck if you like online gameplay or purchasing games for download.
The Wii Mini is obviously a move by Nintendo to shift more units over the holidays, however their rationale is also providing families and casual gamers with a simple gaming solution. Such a market does exist, and these are the people who will most likely benefit from it. However, if you have a perfectly operational Wii or want the ability to connect to the internet, this is hardly a compulsory purchase. The console will be released exclusively in Canada on December 7, 2012 and will retail for the MSRP of $99.99. The package will contain the console, along with a red Wii controller and Nunchuk. No game will be included. At the time of this writing, there is no information available on a possible release outside of Canada.