[Update: Nintendo has stated that the Wii Mini is currently exclusive to Canada. No other territories have been announced. Further, gamers who register their Wii Mini at club.nintendo.com and complete a small survey will receive 100 Coins to their Club Nintendo account.]
Nintendo will release a brand new version of its flagship Wii console called "Wii Mini" on December 7th, for the low price of $99.99, the company has just announced. The redesigned console will have a red casing with a textured black matte finish on top, and will come packaged with red Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuk controllers.
The form factor of the Wii Mini is noticeably smaller than the original Wii model, and the square frame has been replaced with tapered edges (see side view photo below). The altered form factor requires the Wii Mini to lie flat, as opposed to the vertical orientation of the original Wii when using the console stand.
Also new is the large Wii logo centered on top which features a glossy finish in contrast to the matte black surface that surrounds it. The bottom-left corner features a triangular Power button that when pressed, lights up with Wii's signature blue colour, and on the opposite side is an Open button which implies that the Wii Mini is a top-loading device.
Wii Mini side view
As mentioned, the unit comes with a Wii Remote Plus controller, which combines a Wii Remote with Wii MotionPlus technology in one controller. Wii MotionPlus allows for greater precision with 1:1 motion detection that replicates your actions accurately on screen.
With the low price tag comes a few sacrifices. Most notably, the unit is stripped of its Wi-Fi capabilities, so the Wii Mini cannot connect to the internet and does not support online features in games. Furthermore, the Wii Mini will not be compatible with Nintendo GameCube game discs, and the GameCube controller ports and memory slots have been removed.
The Wii Mini comes one year after Nintendo's last redesign of the Wii, called the "Wii Family Edition" which was also designed to sit horizontally and removed the Nintendo GameCube features.
This is not the first time Nintendo has released a red-colour Wii, as Nintendo released a Limited Edition Red Wii Bundle for Mario's 25th anniversary back in 2010.
Wii Mini box
While we assumed Nintendo has shifted their home console attention almost entirely to their new Wii U system, the release of Wii Mini sends a strong message that company feels there is still plenty of life left in the aging Wii console.
The $99.99 price point is typically viewed in the gaming industry as the magic number to reach critical mass, as it was this price that gave the PlayStation 2 a tremendous long-tail sales cycle that lasted years beyond the release of its successor, the PlayStation 3. With 97.18 million Wii units sold worldwide (as of September 30, 2012), surely Nintendo is hoping the Wii Mini will help push the console past the 100 million units sold milestone.
The Wii Mini is certainly an outstanding value, even with the stripped out features, considering the low cost and great selection of games available on the Wii. Nintendo says the Wii Mini is compatible with over 1,300 Wii games (but cannot access online features) which likely includes retail-only games since the console is unable to connect to the Nintendo eShop to access downloadable video games. Future Shop has a range of Nintendo Selects games, which represent some of the best games ever to grace the console, available at a value price. These games range from hit titles such as Super Mario Galaxy, Pikmin 2, and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (see full selection here).
Future Shop will be accepting pre-orders of the Wii Mini starting today, with the Wii Mini becoming available on December 7, 2012.
This red Wii Mini includes everything you need to play, right out of the box. It includes a red Wii Mini console, red Wii remote Plus and nunchuck, Sensor bar, AC adaptor and AV cable. With the deep control enhancements of Wii Remote Plus, veteran Wii users and newcomers alike can enjoy unprecedented gaming precision.
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