Nintendo believes there is no significant reason for an HD Wii


hdmi_cable225There is no doubt the Wii’s little 730Mhz processor and 243MHz GPU can’t fully render high definition lighting, textures, models, or resolutions. It’s just how Nintendo viewed the market when building the hardware before 2006. Big N research and development believed that the home console market users didn’t own/use a high definition display. However, coming up on the Wii’s third birthday it’s clear that a very large percentage of the electronics market have adopted higher resolutions into their homes.

Satoru Iwata commented on the increased HD market and what it means for the Wii.

If we have an opportunity to make a new console, it will probably support HD because it is now common throughout the world. However, as far as the Wii is concerned, we have not found a significant reason to make it HD-compatible at this time. What is the significant meaning to the users? I don’t think we should do it unless we find that reason. If we decide for other reasons to make new hardware, then HD is one of the things we would naturally add.

Do we as users find HD capable visuals meaningless? I think not. Just look at Sony and Microsoft’s newly announced camera tracking controls. The hardware operating in those rival consoles are able to handle more advanced motion tracking, physics engines, scanning, and more. You may not need mind-blowing amounts of HD visuals to have a fun gaming experience, but stronger hardware that can handle stronger design tools can equal a much more enjoyable experience.

Will the Nintendo’s next home console support high definition output? Probably. Does Nintendo see HD as a valuable tool for the current Wii system? No. Will this stubborn attitude towards new and helpful technology endure? Always.

Thoughts? Comment below.



  1. I know that HD will be coming for Nintendo. It is just a matter of time. Either way, there is no difference in gameplay for games. (Here we go with the gameplay vs. graphics arguments again…)

    Let me put it this way, you do not NEED HD graphics to make a great game. HD graphics also do not add anything but ‘eye-candy’ for the viewers. (Think of the first time many of us saw the arcade version of Killer Instinct.) Unbelievable! Still the only fighting game that I would enjoy playing.

    Now-a-days, there are too many of the same game. Just different scenarios, colors, etc… (I thought about this when the original PlayStation came out, after the Sega Saturn. It seemed like the only/popular genre was 3D fighting games. To me, they were all the same, just different characters to use. That is why I stuck with the N64. It was different.) That is why I like the Wii, it is different. It doesn’t need HD to be good/better.

    To sum this all up, I enjoy playing Nintendo games because of the quality of gameplay. Let me enjoy playing games.

    That, to me, is gameplay.

  2. I don’t like to hear the argument that graphics don’t matter and gameplay is the only important thing. It has been proven we can have both. So why not?

  3. HD is the natural way to go in the future but i think that Nintendo’s move to be one step behind HD this time helped to bring the Wii’s cost down, making it appealing to the average consumer. Its like when Blu Ray just came out, the price tag was ludicrous. But now after a couple of years, the cost has come down by alot.

    And it also could be that Nintendo’s marketing plan is to bring more affordable systems as well. Compare PSP/PS3/XBOX360 prices to DS Lite/DSi/Wii prices. Nintendo consoles tend to be cheaper compared to their counterparts. Even though theres less under the hood for the handheld and home console than what the competitors have, it does what it was supposed to do and then some, even though the Wii has been referred to two Gamecubes duct taped together.

  4. Isn’t this a little misleading? Of course Nintendo’s not going to release a differently abled current Wii, right now, tomorrow.

    That would split the userbase horridly.

    And quit making those tech demos that Microsoft and sony displayed the equivalent of the Wii Motion Plus being released with actual games before they will ever exist, IF they will ever exist. the customer can only buy things that are in the store, you know.

  5. I’m continued to be baffled by people who insist on a Wii HD. Simple upscaling the Wii to 720p-1080p is not going to improve the graphics anymore than they are now.

    Now the NEXT Nintendo console being hd is a given. I just hope that they don’t flounder on the online infrastructure like they did with the wii.

  6. Newsflash: if they released a Wii with HD and the hardware to drive it, it would be a Wii in name only…. or more likely, it’d be the “Wii 2” or “Super Wii” or “Wii Next” or “Nintendo On” or whatever. It would simply be a different console.

    You might as well ask why Nintendo didn’t just make motion controls for the Gamecube and beef up its specs a little to handle them. They did, and they called it the Wii. Now Nintendo is beefing up the specs again, but they’re going to sit on the new machine until the old one has no future left. That time came earlier for the Gamecube than it’s going to come for the Wii, but my guess is that the difference will only be a year or so.

  7. Japan ditches analog signals in 2011. Nintendo goes HD around then, not now. Lack of HD hasn’t been a barrier to entry thus far, and it’s not going to become one anytime soon (especially with MotionPlus coming next week).

  8. I couldnt disagree with the anti HD crowd any more. Especially razorkid. If by improved graphics you mean higher polygon count, then you are right… but if we mean the manner in which this polygon count is displayed, then you are obviously wrong. HD is no longer a home television novelty, its supported by nearly all cable channels and all current home consoles. (Save one.) To me, and I feel like Im not alone here, HD support would win a little more of the hardcore audience back… Not a flashier CPU.

    I dont imagine that HD is the only major change we see in Nintendo’s next console offering either. Where I totally agree with razorkid is the floundering of the Wii’s online experience. XBL is a great model for how home console interaction should be run. And yes, I can hear some of your arguments now, “But listen to the language on XBL!”, to this I say, if your kids are too young to hear that, then disallow communications with others, and if you cant handle it, mute it.

  9. I’ve heard friends ruling out having a PS3 or 360 because it would be a little pointless on their standard TVs, and they couldn’t afford Hd Console + Hd Tv.

    I think Iwata is a smart man, Hdtv doesn’t have enough users yet to justifiably ignore the Sd market.

    By the way, projected dates for switching off analogue signals usually get extended, again purely because Hd has not yet had the market penetration (credit crunch is certainly a factor there)

  10. I agree that the wii dosn’t need HD, personally I hate It. But I would like more proscesing power for better physics bigger games.

  11. One of the arguments pro-HD could be that Japan is ditching analog in 2011 and the US is already midway throught the change. But what else? The consoles are world-wide. Yes, many people throughout the world are acquiring HD sets, but not all of them have switched to HD proper. Personally, I still don’t see the need for it. Next gen is a given, of course, but right now I think we’re fine. And as for the online thing, come on… Nintendo will NEVER switch to an XBL type deal.

  12. Ditching analog signals has very little to do with HD. All it means is that TV networks will broadcast in digital which, as of now, carries both HD and SD signals, but it does not force anyone to buy an HDTV. Those digital converter boxes you see for $50 (minus $40 coupon from the gov’t) let people continue to use their SDTV with digital signal. The other options are to a) already have an HDTV b) get/already have cable or c) buy an HDTV just to continue getting tv signal (which is ridiculously more expensive than a $10 converter box). I’d be surprised if the analog to digital switch was actually increasing HD penetration by a significant amount.

  13. I really have to disagree with this. Has Nintendo looked at the Wii hooked up to a 52″ Plasma? I looks stretched out…the Wii really needs to be 720p system.

  14. @Mohan:
    Per the “stretched out” comment, the graphics are all dependent upon the designer. Some do account for a widescreen and large size screen, while some do not.
    Nintendo does account for large screens. Just some times when the graphics are enlarged to the size, it does not seem as sharp.
    720p is not a requirement IMO for these games. It would look nice, but you don’t have to have sharp graphics for a great game.

  15. @raindog: It would obviously be called “Wii Plus” .

  16. Here is the reasons why it should not happen. You will split your user base and you will also make the affordable system stagnant. Also an HD system would cost a little more right now and it is too late to release and make it cost effective.

    I mean really it does not make sense and a new nintendo system will make sense. Why make a system you are going to loose money on and up production cost at the same time. I mean that really is the GM way of thinking.

    Yes we all love higher specs but really that along is not selling console the way the Wii is. When it is affordable then we will have it other wise get your self a PC. 2011 is when the new system should be kicking around. I will not miss any of the HD games coming out since they will be on my PC.

  17. I mean can you guys not realize the market is not ready for such a system. There has to be a balance. I’m glad nintendo does not cater to one group over the other.

  18. I don’t think Nintendo is being stubborn at all. I think they are betting that the average Wii owner wouldn’t be willing to pay for HD. Personally, I’m not ready to give up on my Wii and spend $200-300 on a HD version of the system.

    I also agree with what Verius said – Nintendo’s decision to be SD this generation helped put them on top by keeping the cost of the system down. Nintendo knows exactly what they’re doing.

  19. I’m hoping Nintendo decides to release a new console rather than a HD version of the Wii. The new console would be HD and would have a new set of games for it. Wii games would be backwards compatible, but would be upscaled to 720p similar to how Microsoft does Xbox games on the Xbox 360.

    I think releasing a Wii HD would split the Wii market and its success would be similar to the N64 expansion pack.

  20. I’d trade my Wii in for a HD model in a second. Not because I “need” better graphics, I’d just like what I have to look as nice as possible on my big TV. Because even in 480p, it loses a fair bit of fidelity on my 46″ LCD screen.

  21. I think there’s a fair bit of misreading here: the question he’s responding to is if there is any point in making an HD Wii that runs Wii software as it’s baseline?

    I think the answer to that is pretty obviously no. If you were going to do HD, you’d do it with a next generation system, not as a half-way measure like the DS Lite. You can’t upgrade the games to HD without redoing them, and HD games wouldn’t be compatible with current Wii hardware. You need a completely new system. So there won’t be an HD Wii, because that’d make no bloody sense. They could allow for HD video playback, or upscaling of 480p games, but that’d be about it, and that’s not really worth it.

    There’s no stubbornness no adopt technology here, it just doesn’t make sense with the current product.

  22. i’ve always thought the wii hd predictions were dumb. after selling all those systems, nintendo is not going to put out a better system which will only make people regret their original purchase.

    and i like that if i buy a nintendo console at launch, i know that i won’t be burned later on. if they start putting out better versions of their consoles, i’m going to start delaying my purchases.

  23. Ignorant, Ignorant, ignorant.

    seriously, if Nintendo added 720p support to the Wii with a 20 dollar cost, it would sell. It just would. I mean, we’ve all seen how great Brawl looks in 720p. I think if Nintendo wasn’t so ignorant, we’d already have an HD-ready Wii.

  24. gojiguy do you really think it will cost $20? I mean that is a little ignorant. What you speak of is a upscaler go and check your prices on a good one they are not cheap.

  25. I’ve got a 57inch widescreen Toshiba HDTV and all of my Wii games look great (with the upgraded cables).