Fans and would-be fans of Nintendo's popular Wii gaming console have had a bit of news to chew on of late. Nintendo has confirmed that the second generation of the gaming console is on the way. While rumors about what's inside continue to abound (or run amok, depending on your point of view), expect the details to be fleshed out at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles next month, when a working prototype is promised to be on display. For those who can't wait -- or don't have very deep pockets if the high-price rumors are true-- Nintendo will soon be dropping the price of the current generation Wii to a tempting $150. Should you buy now or hold off for the new Wii? That depends.
Power versus price
While the prototype Wii 2/Wii HD/Nintendo Stream (or whatever it will be called) is sure to set hearts a fluttering, the romance will take its time playing out as the new console won't be ready for retail until sometime in 2012. Nintendo is, of course, tight lipped on the details for now, but IGN.com neatly summarizes some of the rumors and rates them based on how likely or unlikely they are to be true. What emerges is pretty tantalizing -- a gaming system more powerful than either the Sony PlayStation 3 or the Microsoft Xbox 360 with a touch screen controller able to receive streaming content from the console.
What's not so tantalizing is the speculated price of the new Wii -- estimated at between $350 and $400. While that might be fine for the hardcore gamer -- if the Wii 2 delivers the games and the goods -- it is likely to be a bit steep for the console's current niche. For non top-gun gamers looking for a family-oriented machine, the current Wii might be all the console you need or want; for more on the Wii and how it stacks up against its competition, see our report on video game consoles.
For the Wii's current audience, we think the new $150 bundle -- available as of mid May -- is a pretty good deal, and with some retailers already discounting the Wii, street prices could be even lower. The core console and controller remain the same. However, Nintendo will swap out the now included Wii Sports Pack for Mario Kart Wii and a Wii Wheel controller -- themselves retailing for around $50, according to PC World.
Sony's struggles continue
In other video gaming news, the hits just keep on coming for Sony. Nearly three weeks after its hacker-induced outage first began, Sony's PlayStation Network is still struggling to come back on line, and there are reports that it won't be fully restored until the end of May.
The last two weeks have certainly not been good ones for Sony or its customers. The company -- under heavy criticism for being slow in letting its users know about their compromised security -- revealed that Sony Online Entertainment users were also victimized. Investigations and lawsuits have continued to pile up. Sony has announced a program of freebees and make-goods -- including free one-year subscriptions to an identity-theft-prevention and -protection service for existing customers -- gestures that some critics say is too little, too late.