back to article Nintendo shrinks Wii for Crimbo

Nintendo has officially unveiled a new version of the original Wii console, a smaller, top-loading model that shows the Japanese firm hasn't quite given up on its old tech yet. While many expected Nintendo's focus to shift following the arrival of the Wii U, the company clearly believes there's still a market for standard …


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  1. JDX Gold badge

    It's so small to start with though!

    1. Simon Harris

      Does that make it a Wee Wii ?

      <-- are you sure those are coffee stains on the keyboard?

  2. SpaMster


    No online functionality? so where do the game discs go? or are you expected to download games onto the console but not be able to go online with them? how does that make any sense? i'm baffled

    1. Epobirs

      Re: Confused?!?

      The game discs go into the drive slot, just like they always did. The 5.25" inch optical drive is the one component that determines the minimum dimensions for a device that plays Wii discs. As for the rest, I'd want to know if they did a die shrink on the Wii chip set or just cut stuff out like the WiFi hardware to reduce the size and cost. A side project to reduce the Wii chipset while developing the Wii U chipset would possible save some money since much of the same circuitry is getting used in both.

      Nintendo has apparently decided the WiiWare, Virtual Console, and other sources of online sales aren't worth the trouble on the old platform. Hopefully, Wii U owners will have an updated access to those items without going into the Wii Mode because I strongly suspect Nintendo wants to cut off the old machine's online support ASAP to reduce costs.

      I wouldn't be surprised to see some WiiWare compilation discs appearing as an alternative to selling those games to buyers of the Wii Mini. Likewise for Virtual console collections.

      1. SpaMster

        Re: Confused?!?

        Ah I see, I couldnt even tell if it had a drive slot or not from all the pictures i've seen

        1. Epobirs

          Re: Confused?!?

          I had the same reaction. Nintendo seems to be reluctant to have people look at the unit itself much rather than focus on what it does. I suppose the tiny size and focus on cost reduction didn't leave a lot of room for style exercises.

          I also suspect this unit exists because Nintendo is in a similar position to Sega when they introduced the Mega Drive/Genesis. The Master System had been a failure, mostly due to Sega's slowness to comprehend the advantages of Nintendo's publishing model. Sega had a lot of retailers with hard to sell inventory who weren't excited about carrying anything new from Sega. Sega also had the problem of very little third party support (and later a problem of third parties writing for the Genesis but bypassing Sega's publishing infrastructure) to compete with the massive support for Nintendo.

          So the Genesis was designed to be backward compatible. The needed accessory to use Master System games was inexpensive because it did little beyond providing the needed connector types. Nearly all of the needed electronics were already in the console. The ploy succeeded in winning over retailers and the Genesis limped along until two things happened. First, Sega had two hugely popular games in EA's Madden and their own Sonic, and second, Nintendo launched the Super Nintendo but couldn't meet demand that first holiday season. A considerable number of consumers settled for a Sega instead and found it was actually pretty good. Not long after Sega challenged Nintendo's exclusivity contracts with third party publishers in court and got a settlement. Soon third party games were just as numerous for Sega as for Nintendo. (The NEC TurboGrafx 16 / PC Engine was doomed by this same contract arrangement that kept the best games from Japanfrom appearing in the US but NEC wouldn't sue Nintendo because they were a huge customer for NEC Semiconductor.)

          Nintendo has a huge volume of awful third party Wii games flooding the retail channel. Early Wii U buyers are going to ignore the bulk of it and retailers are going to be annoyed at Nintendo. So they've come up with a super cheap Wii to appeal to the super cheap people who will settle for bargain bin crap and help clean out the retail channel of the garbage. And also buy a ton more copies of Mario and Zelda at the same time.

          Everybody who cared has long since bought the full feature version of the Wii with WiFi and download capability. Just as everyone who cared about GameCube compatibility when there was still a lot of those games cluttering store shelves has long since been served. So, just as the GameCube support was cut out in favor of a price cut, so now has the online capability.

          Expect to see GameCube classic like Mario Sunshine and Zelda Wind Waker appearing as DLC purchases on the Wii U sometime in 2013.

  3. squilookle
    Thumb Down

    My Wii currently lives in my bedroom and serves as a Netflix/iPlayer machine to the TV in there, although there are a few games I like to play every now and then.

    Anyway, I was thinking this version of the console would be ideal for that kind of thing, until I read the bit about having no connectivity. Now I think it seems a bit crap. You should be able to pick up the original console fairly cheaply now too, I would imagine (I haven't checked though).

    Oh well.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Never tried Netflix on the Wii (we use the PS3), how is it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Netflix on Wii works great. Out of the few devices I've tried Netflix on (360, wdtv, smart TV), the Wii is the far.

        There is a lot more things you can do with a Wii. you can watch YouTube videos, think they just released another "channel" for that, even though you could do it before.

        I've modded mine and I can play any video format there is, either from local storage, network storage or from the web, I can stream my digital music collection either local storage, network storage, or internet, play hundreds of music channels throughout my house and even to my outside speakers (works great when in the pool!). Never have to "insert a disc" to play a game, just select a backup image from local storage.

        It's got a limited web browser but it's good enough to check local headlines, weather radar. think my kids use it for Facebook. a few years ago, for the price, you really couldn't beat it.

      2. squilookle


        Its fine. Picture quality is ok, not hd but fine. There are no bells and whistles on the UI, but browsing with the Wii remote is great, intuitive and convenient.

  4. TRT Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    but in the end a rehash of what is now old tech. Good price point, though.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: Sexy...

      You can buy a second hand Wii for about a tenner- even better price.

  5. Mike VandeVelde

    gamecube support was already abandoned

    My original Wii no longer reads discs (it's basically a Netflix terminal for a TV now, with a few downloaded games on it). So I went and got a new one a few months back, since I could use a 4th controller and I have a medium sized stack of game discs and I have a rec room that could use it, and they're down to just $150. But when I got it home I discovered it didn't have Gamecube support. Can you even still get a Wii with the Gamecube support? So the Gamecube controller, the memory card, and the few games I had gone out and picked up are truly useless to me now. Not a huge deal but kind of annoying.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: gamecube support was already abandoned

      Uh, yeah, you can get it to support GameCube and any other Nintendo product.

      1. Mike VandeVelde

        Re: gamecube support was already abandoned

        Uh, nope, it does not have the physical sockets for the Gamecube contollers / memory cards anymore.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: gamecube support was already abandoned

          Uh, yeah, I was talking about the older Wii.

  6. Shonko Kid


    Is there something particular about the Canadian Games market? The price point is certainly attractive, but I don't see the need for cheap Wii hardware, unless there is still a high demand for certain Wii games, and they've run out of the full size Region 1 consoles.

    Maybe Nintendo are using the Canadians as guinea pigs for a Sony-style console lite approach to extending a platform's lifespan?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Whyfore

    Cheap option to keep my Wii library alive?

    I'm worried my Wii console may be suffering some hardware degradation (its been used quite a bit over the last few years) and I see this as a relatively cheap investment to continue enjoying local multiplayer and party games for years to come. My priorities have also changed with the arrival of a youngling to my family and don't think I'll have the time to invest in the next generation of consoles but an occasional bash at the games I already own will surely be welcome.

  8. moonface

    The only possible reason I would upgrade my 1st Gen Wii for this, is because it would accumulate less dust under the TV.

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