Will small mean beautiful for Nintendo?

A cheaper, smaller version of the original Wii will be accompanying the Wii U onto shelves this Christmas – but only in Canada it seems.

It’s typical, you wait years for a Nintendo home console launch and then two come along at once. Not content with rolling out its new Wii U machine this Christmas, it seems the veteran hardware manufacturer has also refreshed the old Wii console. 7 December will see the launch of the Wii Mini, a black and red version of the eight-year-old best-seller, complete with a top-loading disc drive, but free from internet connectivity. Priced at $99 it seems the budget kit will only be launched in Canada this year, with other territories set to follow in 2013. Yes, Canada.

Re-designing consoles throughout their life cycle is, of course, common practice, with one final budget model often appearing just before a new generation arrives. Nintendo’s is certainly one of the more stylish offerings in this class: in September Sony launched a cheaper version of the PS3 which was highly reminiscent of an eighties radio cassette player.

The Wii Mini will ship with a sensor bar, red Wii MotionPlus controller and red nunchuk. The slab-like device is designed to be horizontally, unlike the original Wii which also stands on its side. Rumours of the miniaturised machine first started circulating earlier this week, and then North American retailer Best Buy featured the console on its website before an official confirmation.

Meanwhile, Nintendo of America chief Reggie Fils-Aime has reacted strongly to suggestions that the Wii U console is based on under-powered technology. In an interview with CNET he raged: “In the end, our competitors need to react to what we’re doing in the marketplace and need to figure out what their innovation will be. It’s likely that faster processors and pretty pictures won’t be enough to motivate consumers. They need to react to what we’ve done and we need to continue innovating with the Wii U and we will.”

The Wii U is launching in Europe this Friday.

(via The Guardian)

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