A thinning Wii release list, a rumored impending price drop, and reports that Nintendo is about to reveal its next console all seemingly point to one thing: Nintendo is about to reveal its next console.
Game Informer says the successor to the Wii—Wii 2, Nintendo HD, Super Wii, GameCube 3, whatever you want to call it—will be revealed at E3 2011 and launched next year. IGN says we'll hear official confirmation this month. We've heard it will be more powerful than an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
We're also pretty sure of one other thing. We can expect Nintendo to surprise us with its follow-up to the wildly successful Wii. But even if we're pleasantly surprised, we have a few wants and a few demands. Yes, we're about to make demands of the company that has already sold more than 80 million Wiis over the past four and a half years.
So here are the blindingly obvious improvements we want from the Wii 2.
HD Visuals (Duh!) Graphics matter. And it sounds like Nintendo will at least match (or slightly exceed) the graphical capabilities of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. But those consoles could be more than six years old or more by the time Nintendo's next console arrives. We recognise Nintendo's need to balance cost and performance. It likes proven, inexpensive technology and is in love with turning a profit. But we'd at least like our future Nintendo games to look as good (or better) as the GameCube and Wii software that runs on the impressive Dolphin emulator.
Get Epic Games on board so the abundance of Unreal Engine-powered content for PCs, PlayStation 3s and Xbox 360s will play nicely for dedicated Nintendo fans, too.
No Half-Baked Launch When we turn on Nintendo's next home console, we don't want to see a message telling us that "This feature will be enabled later through a system update" nor should we pine for that promised launch title that didn't actually show up. No more Kid Icarus Uprising's, please. Don't force us to settle for the next Steel Diver or Pilotwings Resort. But don't push back The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword as some sort of launch consolation prize. Wii owners will be starved for interesting software over the next year as it is.
An Online Experience We Want To Experience We're not just talking about better Super Smash Bros. online multiplayer connections, we're talking the whole kit and caboodle, what Xbox Live, Steam and PlayStation Network have done to set our expectations. The 3DS's singular Friend Code is a step in the right direction, but we expect more than just that. Unified voice chat, easy messaging, easy matchmaking (for those inevitable F-Zero online multiplayer races) and an even easier way to filter out the assholes and foul-mouthed pre-teens that insult us everywhere else. Make the successor to WiiConnect24 worth keeping our next Nintendo console powered on.
Oh, one more thing. Keep it free.
Better Interaction With The 3DS Our Nintendo 3DSs, with all of their fun wireless features like SpotPass and StreetPass, should communicate better with our Wii 2. We'd love to take our home console games for a StreetPass spin too, wirelessly transferring content to and fro, downloading 3DS demos and feeling like our Nintendo platforms played well together. If we could all tie our new-gen handhelds and consoles together, syncing our Friend Lists to minimize Friend Code input even further, well, that would be just dandy.
And how about a new Pac-Man Vs. please?
Built-in Storage (And Lots Of It) We've got terabytes of storage on our home PCs, tens and hundreds of gigabytes on our consoles, so let's put storage concerns on the Wii 2 behind us. At least give us enough room to store a few GameCube and Wii games, since you'll probably be offering those as downloadable software in the future... right, Nintendo?
Backwards Compatibility, Please We love that the Wii plays everything from NES games to GameCube games. Let's keep that Virtual Console party going by continuing support for all those platforms. If you can find a way to pretty up those GameCube and Wii games like the aforementioned Dolphin emulator does, we promise to never use the phrase "collecting dust" ever again. We're going to need a way to easily transfer our WiiWare and Virtual Console purchases too, lest we have another half-baked system launch on our hands.
A Controller That Suits Our Traditional And Motion Control Needs There's little doubt that Nintendo will astound and/or initially bewilder us with the interface for the Wii's successor. Whatever it is that Nintendo has up its sleeve for the Wii 2, we just hope it plays well with all the Wii games we already own and the games played on more established gamepads on our PlayStations and Xboxs.
Support For Game Patches Not that we really enjoy downloading patches or seeing incomplete games wind up on a game disc, but downloadable software updates are a way of life. Let developers easily and quickly update their games.
For The Love Of God, Rechargeable Controllers We're done with AA batteries. Give me charging via USB or give me death. Or at least easily swappable battery packs. I don't want to die.
What do you want to see from Nintendo's next console? Let us know in the comments. Maybe start with "Great Games."