What if the Wii really was like an iPod?

Sure, the Wii is sleek and white and cleanly designed, and everyone is going to want one in 12 months, but look deeper than that.

Already there’s talk from Nintendo of a DVD version 2.0 due out in Japan in 2007. And there’s that pesky lack of HD capability Infendo’s been kicking around lately, and whether or not Nintendo is going to be hurt in the long run because it doesn’t have what Sony and Microsoft have emblazoned in their marketing about their powerhouse consoles. Then there’s the fact that this console and its controller needs to be more than a fad, as DFC analyst David Cole over at Next-Generation said today. And I agree, this console needs staying power beyond the initial first impression that Wii Sports, Red Steel and Rayman are sure to have on gamers.

But — and this is purely hypothetical (I don’t even believe it myself aside from a small conspiracy theory bouncing about my brain) — what if the Wii was really, really like an iPod … and was refined and updated via firmware updates and actual hardware updates every 18 to 24 months? You might scoff, but just think for a second: the Wiimote stays constant through the process; it works with every release — just SYNCH up with a new one at your convenience. Meanwhile, the hardware is continually being refined, sexy-fied and updated for the next generation of consumers to pick up and play in roughly two year cycles. The price point remains constant, or even drops to $200. There are premium versions with DVD and hard drives; HD versions with enhanced video and sound; and basic sets that continue to use memory cards. As a prexisting owner you would in no way be obligated to upgrade, aside from software updates pushed via the VC.

You might argue people wouldn’t buy into this, but the iPod costs the same as the Wii right now (and more), and people are still buying that to the tune of a 70%+ market share. The whole time this is happening, Wii Channels are being refined and perfected, and your saved Virtual Console games remain happily viable on memory cards, ready to play. This approach would serve a serious purpose, as the flexiblity of such a system would allow for course changes and eliminate fears of being a fad (it would have to really take off in a year’s time, however).

Again, I’m just kicking around some conspiracy theories here — none of this is what I’d expect or want to happen. I think it must be the Halloween thing, so I invite you to share a few crazy ones of your own, or build on this admittedly crazy one here. Just give me my Wii on Nov. 19, please.