Are You Ready for the Wii?

I don't often talk about gaming on this site but with all of the buzz surrounding the Nintendo Wii, I couldn't avoid it. Nintendo's next-gen Wii gaming console has been the center of attention for everyone from Yahoo!, who made a site dedicated to the Wii, all the way to Comedy Central's South Park, that had 2 hilarious episodes based around waiting for the Wii to come out.


So why will the Wii succeed? First off you have to analyze the competition's offerings, starting with price. The Wii has a retail price of 250 USD - much cheaper than the Xbox 360 (299/399) or upcoming Sony Playstation 3 (499/599). The Wii may not have a Blu-ray optical drive but it has one very unique thing, a revolutionary form of game play with a unique motion sensing controller (which Sony "borrowed" from when designing the 6-axis motion sensing controller in the PS3).

One thing I don't understand about the Wii is why Nintendo decided to use infrared controllers instead of a form of RF, which doesn't require the use of a "light bar" atop the user's TV set. (edit: The Wii uses BOTH IR and Bluetooth. IGN)

Wii Call of Duty 3
The Wii provides immersive game play like no other - these shots are from a Call of Duty 3 game where the player must physically row with the controllers. Another scene depicted the player orienting the controllers at "10 and 2" when driving a vehicle.

The Wii lets old-school gamers download classic NES, SNES, N64 and even Genesis games via a "Virtual Console." The Wii utilizes your internet connection for this (WiFi or a Wii LAN add-on) and can also update itself with WiiConnect24, which even works when the Wii is switched off. However, you won't see me camping out in front of Best Buy next week. I'm the type of person that buys a console, plays it for two weeks and then lets dust pile on it. Although, the prospect of buying a few Wii consoles and selling them on campus has crossed my mind.

Hardware buffs are quick to point out that Nintendo's Wii features inferior tech specs (PowerPC CPU/ATI GPU) when compared to the Blu-ray toting PS3 and HD-DVD add-on compatible Xbox 360. I think the Yahoo! Wii site got it right when it stated the following on the info page:

Compare the Wii's technology with the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, and it may appear less powerful. Way to miss the point! You're not going to fire up your Wii to show off your expensive new high-definition TV, but if you're throwing a party, want something to play with your family, or enjoy classic games from the last 20 years of video games history, this is the machine to turn to first.

Are you considering picking up one of these next-gen consoles? If so, which one? Personally, I have to find a way to play Call of Duty 3, which will not be released for PC. I've played the first two and they were great. NFS: Carbon also looks pretty good. If you've got a few minutes to burn, check out Ryan Block's video about setting up the Wii.