Sources: Nintendo privately demos Wii HD hardware

Infendo

Veteran games journalist John Davidson reports today that a select group of incredibly lucky developers have seen, touched and commentated on a new hardware offering from Nintendo, unofficially dubbed “Wii HD.”

The hardware is scheduled to arrive in 2011, and is “characterized as similar to ‘the shift from Game Boy to Game Boy Advance,’ where familiar, key elements were left intact while the core hardware was made more powerful.” Reading between the lines (and the article), that means better visuals, a stronger online presence (as in DLC, WiiWare and Virtual Console, not Halo 3 multiplayer).

This isn’t to say Nintendo is suddenly abandoning its core strategy, however. While visuals may be getting a bump, sources stressed the focus of the system will remain on how people interact with it, instead of the hardware and processing power under the hood. Further supporting Davidson’s sources is the money trail. From 2003 to today, Nintendo’s research and development budget has exploded from a modest $34 million, to $370 in 2008. From 2007 to 2008 alone, the R&D spending has tripled. That’s a whole lot of spending on new Pokemon games, if this rumor proves to be incorrect.

The “new interface” and WiiWare bits are what got me all hot and bothered, not so much the HD. Thoughts?

11 Comments

  1. the smooth transition makes sense when you consider the power of the “Gameboy brand”. The Wii will retain that kind of brand power so instead of jumping ship on the Wii come console shift season, for them to smooth into a Wii HD could work brilliantly.

  2. I’d buy an HD Wii in 2011 IF I can transfer my wiiware/vconsole games. I’d be quite sad if I couldn’t.

  3. HD graphics are nice and all, I just hope they can finally nail the accuracy of the controller coupled with brand new IP’s that truly utilize this new paradigm of gaming. Still waiting for those baseball, basketball, and boxing games that make me feel like I’m right in there!

  4. I’m all for this, especially if they don’t make the same mistake Sony and Microsoft did when thinking that backward compatibility isn’t important.
    also, use the extra processing power (at least some of it)to improve the wiimotes respose and accuracy.

  5. @Jamie:

    A three-fold increase in R&D over a year is pretty awesome (and I mean big and impressive, not “really cool”).

    It leads me to believe that they’d do what you suggest, AND something even more involved. Perhaps a fully integrated Wiimote/Motion Plus controller, in addition to some kind of Eye Toy-like device. The “full immersion” gaming rig would be complete.

    I don’t think Virtual reality helmets are in the cards just yet, however.

  6. So we get HD and although graphics don’t mean the world, this should’ve been in place from day one. Second Wii here I come! Sour yippee!

  7. Wii released almost 2 years ago, and this “new and improved” Wii wouldn’t be here until at least 2011 which means another 3+ years. 5 years seems about right for a new hardware from Nintendo.

    Improved response from the new Wiimotes (integrated Wii Motion Plus and any tech they’re researching from here to 2 years), better graphics, a proper storage solution (100 GB minimum please), new wi-fi standars integrated… it makes sense in the GB Color to GBA Advance model and the brand power of the Wii cannot be denied.

    So why the “sour yippe”?

  8. This really isn’t much of a surprise. Everyone knows that console manufacturers begin making newer consoles almost immediately after launch. There’s only three things I care about for Wii HD: a hard drive, full backwards compatability with GameCube games (cuz I still own and play all of mine) and a way to transfer all purchased content from the original Wii. If Nintendo does all this correctly, I will gladly and humbly purchase the Wii HD in 2011. They better not let me down like Sony did with the PS3 (seven models and they STILL can’t get it right!!!).

  9. Don’t forget that every time big N has a new console, there has always been some innovation in controls. Whatever new innovation we use for WiiHD will be kept secret for a looooong time so that Sony and MS don’t copy whatever it is (until later)

  10. Pleasepleasepleaseplease! I would take this over a new DS any day!

  11. I hope these rumors are true, a new console yet not, keeping the core the same is smart, I like the HD and graphics bump up, and some kind of new interface? I like what I hear. And if that R&D spending rumor is true…then I am salivating buckets