Though it has already been widely speculated, it is now official. Today Nintendo announced that the next generation Wii console will launch sometime in 2012.
It will demo this June at the E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles. From Nintendo:
Wii’s successor system
Nintendo Co., Ltd. has decided to launch in 2012 a system to succeed Wii, which the company has sold 86.01 million units on a consolidated shipment basis between its launch in 2006 and the end of March 2011.
We will show a playable model of the new system and announce more specifications at the E3 Expo, which will be held June 7-9, 2011, in Los Angeles.
Sales of this new system have not been included in the financial forecasts announced today for the fiscal term ending March 2012.
No official details have been provided about the specs of the upcoming console, but there have been a plethora of rumors surrounding the Wii 2, or "Project Cafe," as its purported codename would have it.
Many speculate that Nintendo's new console will be more powerful and more visually stunning that both the Xbox 360 and the PS3. Low graphic resolution and slower performance were roadblocks that prevented the original Wii from becoming a hit with hardcore gamers. If the new Wii console is serious about competing with the 360 and PS3 among loyal gamers, it is going to have to target more than casual gamers and children.
Oh, yeah, and that controller.
Rumors have the next gen Wii controller equipped with a 6 inch touchscreen display - which could totally change the way certain games are played. Slashgear says that it is even possible that the Nintendo 3DS could be used as a controller on the upcoming console.
The announcement comes shortly after a severe price cut for the original Wii. Strong sales of the Wii in 2006 and 2007 have been steadily declining ever since.
Are you excited? Let's hope the new Wii console is super-awesome, as I think I need some HD Mario in my life.