Redesigned Wii To Launch Before Christmas, Loses Gamecube Backwards Compatibility

Nintendo is prepping a slightly retooled Wii for a pre-holiday release. This streamlined model sits horizontally (as a game console should) instead of vertically like the original. It’s also slightly smaller, lacks the ability to play Gamecube games, and will likely hit at a lower price.

This move has standard procedure for game makers ever since the original NES. In an effort to revive sales and take advantage of new, lower-priced hardware, game makers will release an “updated” version of a particular console. This of course is the last act for that particular system as most of the time its replacement has already been announced. In this case, Nintendo announced the Wii U at E3 2011.

The Wii has had a stellar run. In a sense it relit excitement around gaming and taught older generations to loosen up and have fun. The Wii was released in November of 2006 and has since sold over 87 million units, which puts it on top for the best-selling game console of all time. The Xbox 360 is still making a run at that record with solid sales even six years into its life. This is thanks in part to the revival caused by the Kinect.

The updated Wii is only official for the UK right now. But Nintendo doesn’t traditionally out new hardware for just one region. Chances are this smaller, more petite Wii will hit worldwide rather shortly. In a strange twist the front of the redesigned Wii looks rather similar to the front fascia running the Wii U. It’s not be a stretch to assume the redesigned Wii will help usher in the next generation.

Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the system will come bundled with Wii Party, Wii Sports, a Wii Remote Plus and a Nunchuk. This system is reportedly not able to play classic Gamecube games. If you don’t mind a taller Wii, you may want to scoop up one of the $150 Wii Mario Kart bundles before the supply is exhausted. (or pulled)