Reggie: Wii 2 Theories Miss Key Point

As it seems to do these days, discussion with Nintendo of America's president turned to that of a new Wii capable of rendering high-definition graphics. It's a common question, but one that Kotaku was told, misses something.

During my recent interview with Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's president, we got to talking about a so-called Wii HD by way of talking about his appearance last week at an event featuring presentations by top executives of gaming companies. Top men from Activision and Ubisoft showed trailers for the complexly-rendered Modern Warfare 2 and Assassin's Creed. Neither game is slated to be released on the Wii, coming out only on more powerful platforms, such as the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

I asked Fils-Aime what he, as someone who wants his console to do the best, thought of that.

"I'm extremely disappointed," he said. "I've had this conversation with every publisher who makes content that is not available on my platform. The conversation goes like this: 'We have a 22-million unit installed base. We have a very diverse audience… We have active gamers that hunger for this type of content. And why isn't it available?'"

I told him that I assumed that technology was still a formidable obstacle. While Nintendo boasts that Resident Evil 4 and Call of Duty World at War each sold well over a million copies on the Wii, it seemed to me that more recent games, such as a Grand Theft Auto IV or an Assassin's Creed 2 just wouldn't be able to function on the console, given its level of horsepower.

"I think for those games, typically decisions are being made two years prior," Fils-Aime said. "And so the decisions two years ago were that those types of games would not be effective on the platform. But we've shown that that's just not the case. High-quality, effectively marketed against our installed base will sell, period end of story."

It seemed, I suggested, that a more powerful Wii would help.

I observed that even Nintendo's engineers and execs were discussing the prospects of the company getting into the business of making an HD-compatible console at a recent investors' event in Japan. And I mentioned that people like games financial analyst Michael Pachter and Game Trailers TV host Geoff Keighley had openly speculated that building a more powerful Wii that could do HD and the games that are made to that standard would seemingly check off the last box where Nintendo didn't have parity with the other console makers.

Fils-Aime and I weren't seeing things the same way.

He said: "The fundamental issue in the logic flow is that — and this is what I'm hearing, whether it's from you or Geoff or Michael himself — is that, gosh it's such an opportunity to take HD capability and link it with the Wii. And what we have said, repeatedly, is that that's not the way we at Nintendo do things. The way we at Nintendo do things is, you know, when we will move to a new generation, it's because there are some fundamental things the [current]console cannot do. What that says is that simply the addition of HD capability will not be the next step for us. There will be more to it. There will be additional capability. There will be additional elements, and, given that, it is far into the future."

In jest, I replied: "So, no new Wii in 2010?"

Fils-Aime: "Not to announce with you here today."


Comments

    Good old Nintendo, only being forced from old technology ONE GENERATION AFTER. I mean they stuck with carts for N64 and now they are sticking to non HD. Get off your high horse Nintendo. Its hard to debate such a thing though as the sales are through the roof!

    I am not fussed that much. I just hope when they do a Wii HD, that they give me the ability to move my VC games onto it and keep all backwards compatability.

    If I know Nintendo we wont see a Wii HD. It will be a whole new beast entirely. Adding HD is not innovation and innovation is what Nintendo is all about. I expect a brand new controller and a brand new experience all together. 2012 seems likely for a launch depending on sales of current gen. 2011 E3 will be interesting. I love new hardware Launches.

    A Wii HD would only pander to the school of thought that games are primarily about the specs. Too many 'serious' publishers seem to still rule out building games for Wii because it wont look/sound as sharp or be as fast as PC/Ps3/X360. Which perpetuates the idea that there are no 'hardcore' games for Wii.
    Does anyone else remember a time when, if a game was inventive and engaging enough, you forgot about the dodgy polygons, and the characters NOT having famous voice actors was no big deal?
    Im actually a little sick of all-too-similar games, looking, sounding and playing all too similarly. But hey, as long as it's playable on XBL, it must be ok, right?

    i think a wii 3d would be the next step since natal will kill the wii and ps3 motion controller i think it would be awsome if they made hand held screens bigger and hi def that would be kick ass playing halo 3 on the go HEAVEN :)

    Firstly ‘We have a 22-million unit installed base'. Not sure if that's a typo as the wii has sold a total of 56 million (source: vgchartz.com).

    Secondly "High-quality, effectively marketed against our installed base will sell, period end of story.” Now correct me if i'm wrong but doesn't marketed against mean, say a hardcore game marketed for a casual install based user on the wii? He thinks these succeed?

    Also, as the previous generation of graphics powers were similar then games like COD, NFS, etc. Were easier to port and input control method was the same bar a few different named buttons. Hence why developers/publishers put games like that on Ninty's console as it was low risk and cost effective. Obviously not the case this gen as graphics engines are different and waggle control has to be done properly or comes out as "gimmicky ctrl"

    Lastly, i'm hearing a lot about innovation this and innovation that, if memory serves, Nintendo did pave the way for d-pad control and the portable market, but it's only been drastically different this generation with the 'innovative motion control'. Now Reggie states that they need more then HD to jump the console forward, but hey didnt they just acquire the casual market one that may not be too inept to learn a whole new way to play the machine no matter how accessible it is?

    Darksonic's Final Thought: The logical sense is that HD graphics would eliminate the possible need to buy the other consoles as they games would then be able to run on the machine. It may be a preference of which system exclusives you want to play that then factors the decision. However granted Nintendo's Gaming Philosophy, i doubt this will happen, like Michael said, They stuck with carts, then 1.5gb mini disc, now previous gen graphics tech, always a bit behind and a bit unique and that's what makes Nintendo the Big N. Perhaps the only reason for them to introduce HD is if sales slow and the casual market embraces "Natal" and "PS3 Wand", which i may very well happen. Thank-you and goodnight.

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