Nintendo recently announced that it was ceasing all production of its original Wii video game console. It seemed as if it had run its course, and Nintendo was shifting 100 percent of its focus to the floundering Wii U. Turns out, the Japanese company had other plans, announcing that its previously Canada-exclusive US$99 Wii Mini is making its way to US shores.
Nintendo is clearly targeting gamers not looking to spend big bucks on a console, with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One coming in at $400 and $500 respectively. Even Nintendo's Wii U comes with a $300 price tag, so the Wii Mini actually sits in a solid position, able to be purchased for less than the cost of two next-generation games.
As an added bonus, Nintendo is including a copy of Mario Kart Wii with every Wii Mini console, thus allowing new buyers to get their game library started off right. Missing from the box is the game that started the Wii down the road to massive success – Wii Sports.
The Wii Mini lacks some of the features of a full-sized Wii, most notably the ability to connect to the internet. With that limitation, gamers won't be able to use the massive back catalog of games featured on the Virtual Console. Nintendo's positive spin on this lack of connectivity is interesting, to say the least:
"While Wii mini is not compatible with the Internet and will not allow online functionality when playing games, select multiplayer games can still be played locally with friends and families, which is the ideal way to enjoy such entertaining games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii."
Online multiplayer was never Nintendo's focus with the Wii, so it's a logical cost-cutting measure for the console, but it could upset buyers expecting their modern console to have some of the online features of its more expensive brethren.
Nintendo expects the Wii Mini, which includes the aforementioned copy of Mario Kart, a red Wii Remote Plus controller and a red Nunchuk controller, to hit US store shelves on November 17, which puts it in a good position for the holiday shopping craziness, and right in the middle of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launch dates.