North American retail giant Best Buy leaked a screenshot of it earlier today, and now Nintendo has officially confirmed that a mini version of the original Wii will be launching exclusively in Canada. The question being asked is why Nintendo has repackaged older hardware in a redesigned casing and why it’s only going to Canada. It’s also missing a couple of key features that will make you wonder if it’s worth the $100 price tag.
The Wii Mini will be available from retailers across Canada on December 7 for $99.99 Canadian, which equates to roughly $96 in Australian currency. Mind you, that price doesn’t include sales tax. So depending on the province, Canadians will be paying anywhere between $104.99 and $114.99 at the till for a stripped-down version of the Wii U’s predecessor — minus GameCube compatibility and internet access. The top-loading console comes in a black and red casing, and ships with one red Wii Remote Plus and a nunchuk.
Nintendo seems to be pushing for a spot on family Christmas wish lists with this budget console, but it’s a bit of a head-scratcher as to why it’s only bound for Canada. The timing is odd too, since the Wii U was launched just last week, ahead of Australia’s November 30 release date. According to an official Nintendo statement, the Wii Mini “is designed exclusively to play Wii games” and aimed at first-time Wii owners. Are Canadians less motivated by fancy features and more interested in a barebones console restricted to casual offline gaming? Why risk taking sales away from the Wii U so soon?
Nintendo won’t say whether it will be released elsewhere at this stage, and it obviously doesn’t want people confusing the Wii Mini with the more expensive Wii U. The lack of Wi-Fi certainly is a dealbreaker for me, since I would want to take advantage of Netflix as much as possible while I’m in Canada. And when you start adding in games and extra controllers, you’ll be getting close to the price of a Wii U anyway, right? Perhaps that explains the quiet limited release.