Rumor: HD Wii Coming in 2012 [Updated]

Numerous sources claim that Nintendo will announce "Project Café" at E3.

UPDATE: Joystiq has translated an article from French site 01net that has purportedly discovered the Wii 2’s official code name: Project Café. The scuttlebutt doesn’t end there, however; they also have information on the console’s internals. It is supposedly similar to the 360 in that the platform will run on a three-core IBM PowerPC CPU.

More detailed information about Café’s control unit has also surfaced via 01net’s sources. The controller will feature a six-inch, single-input touchscreen. It will also feature a standard set of buttons and a front-mounted camera. This isn’t surprising when you consider how Nintendo has implemented and made use of cameras in the 3DS. You will also be able to use the controller in lieu of a Wii sensor bar in order to take advantage of Café’s backwards compatibility.

Original Story: Gamers have been clamoring for a high-definition version of Nintendo’s console since before the thing even launched back in November of 2006.  Rumors and speculation have run rampant in the years since, but the most solid information yet leaked out yesterday. Game Informer has reported that multiple industry sources have tipped them off that Nintendo plans to unveil an HD successor to the Wii at this June’s E3. The platform will supposedly be launching in 2012, so it is likely that we’ll only get a brief teaser at this year’s convention. Industry hardware manufacturers have historically tended to wait until the year of release before fulling unveiling a new home console.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get excited though, as there are already several juicy morsels of info. IGN also chimed in on the matter and claimed that their sources have verified that the machine will be “significantly more powerful than the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360”. Both outlets are claiming that Nintendo is serious about attracting a larger audience of hard core gamers to the console. They are making a concerted effort to reach out to third parties to help ensure that their games can achieve sales on par with first party offerings. Many developers were not allowed enough time with Wii development tools prior to its launch, and that negatively affected its support. This time around, Nintendo is attempting to remedy those relationships by already showing off the console to developers in an attempt to drum up interest. Game Informer quoted one unnamed developer as saying “Nintendo is doing this one right…[It’s] not a gimmick like the Wii.”

Yet another source got into the rumor mongering action and spoke to CVG about the system’s controller. Their industry insiders report that the new pad will not be an updated version of the Wiimote, but will instead be a brand new piece of equipment. It will apparently contain an HD touchscreen interface in addition to other, still secretive features. Anyone who has played a DS or 3DS can imagine the exciting possibilities of such a device. CVG’s sources also confirmed that the system will be backwards compatible. Finally, they are saying that third parties are doing more than just looking at the thing. Launch titles from some devs are already in development.

The timing of this matches up nicely with the rumored upcoming Wii price drop and the system’s precipitous drop in sales since its early years spent dominating the charts. This is also the fifth year of the Wii’s cycle on the market, which has always been the year in which Nintendo has launched its new consoles dating all the way back to the SNES in 1991. Still, the industry has been abuzz with rumors and hints from “The Big Three” that the next wave of home consoles may not be released in a similar time frame as in past hardware generations. Nevertheless, IGN says that we can expect a pre-announcement at some point this month teasing the full announcement at the Electronics Entertainment Expo.

What do our readers think about the new console? Are you excited for the new upgrades? Or are you remaining skeptical after being burned by Nintendo in the past? Let us know in the comments.

[Sources: Game Informer, IGN, CVG, Joystiq and 01net]

[Image courtesy of Zelda Informer.]

Nick Santangelo
Nick Santangelo
Nick Santangelo

MASH Veteran

Nick has been a gamer since the 8-bit days and a member of the MTB editorial team since January of 2011. He is not to be interrupted while questing his way through an RPG or desperately clinging to hope against all reason that his Philly sports teams will win any given game he may be watching. Seriously folks, reading this acknowledges that you relieve MTB of any and all legal liability for his actions.

The Latest from Mash