The new Nintendo console is rumored to push the Wii to negotiate the trash

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With Wii indicator light a big drop among hardcore gamers, can Nintendo reverse the fortunes of the aging console? Probably not, if the rumors of a new console are true.

Citing several anonymous sources, Game Informer reported Thursday that Nintendo plans to announce new high-definition console soon, but won’t release it until the end of 2012.

What will happen to the Wii in the next 18 months? Several price cuts and a renewed desire to attract value-conscious consumers, probably. Don’t expect a lot of new, high-quality games.

The Wii offers next to nothing to attract basic gamers. After a relatively dry first quarter of 2011, Nintendo sent out a list of games this week that we can expect to see in the coming months. Aside from Sega’s first-person shooter The Conduit 2, the rest of the list is either licensed movie games or kids stuff.

For any entry-level gamer who expected to be entertained by their Wii this year, reading this list feels like a punch in the stomach. Even though Nintendo is sitting on some incredible, yet to be announced games that it plans to impress us with in June, that won’t be enough to turn the tide.

It’s clear: the days of the Wii as a console with a constant stream of high-quality software for basic gamers are over.

That’s why sweeping price cuts and other measures designed to draw price-conscious gamers into the Wii fold make so much sense.

The rumors started on Tuesday, when Engadget’s “trusted source” claimed that Nintendo of America could lower the price of the Wii from $ 200 to $ 150 May 15 while sweetening the deal by bundling the hugely popular Mario Kart Wii with the console.

If that’s true, that would make the Wii a very compelling value proposition: somewhere in the consumer’s brain, that equates to a $ 100 console and a $ 50 game.

It was a slow fall from grace for the small console that could. The Wii launched for $ 250 in November 2006 and was a huge hit from the get-go. With its low price, ingenious motion detection Wii Remote and the killer Wii Sports app, the family-friendly game box has been flying off store shelves. Soon he set sales records; it’s still likely that the Wii will end up being the best-selling home gaming machine of all time, in the end.

But Wii sales have seen a marked decline since 2008. Nintendo has seen huge success after launching with Wii Fit, but hasn’t been able to keep up that momentum with more must-have games.

Nintendo’s console is now regularly sold by Microsoft’s Xbox 360 every month, but not by much: in February 2011, Microsoft has moved over 500,000 Xbox 360s; Nintendo came close behind with 455,000 Wii’s, while Sony sold just over 400,000 PlayStation 3s.

Game InformerThe report says Nintendo is aiming for a fresh start with its new console, featuring high-definition graphics and other features that software makers are clamoring for.

(For its part, Nintendo has published its “we don’t comment on rumors” deviation standard.)

But if Nintendo’s plan to woo third-party game makers revolves around a new machine, that leaves only Nintendo to keep the Wii interesting. And even Nintendo seems to be washing their hands off the Wii these days. The company is primarily focused on games for its recently launched Nintendo 3DS. To be fair, this is the most important job to do, but the effort seems to come at the expense of the Wii.

Yes, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will be released for Wii at the end of the year. I think the great Japanese RPGs Xenoblade and The Last Story will be coming to America. And Square Enix says we’re gonna hear about Dragon Quest X for Wii later this year, which will be very important … in Japan. Not in the United States.


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