Wii HD or Wii 3D: What's Next for Nintendo?

With the latest generation of consoles approaching their expiration date, speculation has already begun on what the next generation of gaming will be like, especially when it comes to Nintendo. When Nintendo announced years ago that their next console was going to be motion controlled, most gamers and critics scoffed and marked the Wii off as gimmick platform, a failure destined to go the way of the Virtual Boy. Five years later, Nintendo has moved over 80 million Wii’s, mostly to customers who want a less daunting gaming experience, or those with younger children. What is Nintendo going to do for the Wii 2, and how are they going to top other game developers?

The biggest trend going in gaming right now is 3D. Console makers and game designers alike are trying to figure out how to best utilize the technology, though nobody has advanced it nearly as far as Nintendo has. The hype surrounding the 3DS has reached a boiling point, as it is the first consumer electronic device to give a user the 3D experience without the aid of glasses. Could the Wii 2 actually be the Wii 3D? Nintendo is in a good position to experiment with the technology, especially now that the motion control gimmick has spread to other systems.

The upside of the Wii 3D would be that it’s, well, 3D, but the downside would likely be the collapse of the system: expensive hardware is needed to run it. 3D television sets are only beginning to trickle onto the market, and their comfort and effectiveness has been disputed. If, however, Nintendo were to find a way to get around the requirement of a 3D television, the 3D Wii could actually work, provided that enough developers were willing to invest in the technology. On paper though, a 3D Wii with the same comfortable motion controls we’ve had for the last 5 years would probably work well, and would fit with Nintendo’s philosophy of changing a little while at the same time changing a lot.

Another thing consumers have been crying about since the Wii launched is the lack of HD support. Put a Wii up against an Xbox 360 or a PS3 on the same television, and the Wii is clearly a step behind. An HD Wii would open the world up to more intense, realistic gaming, and ensure the company and it’s consoles were marching along with the rest of the industry, graphics wise.

Another advantage to the Wii HD would be better movie playback. Although the console only supports playback via Netflix for the time being, it’s possible an HD Wii could double as a DVD player, or perhaps even Blu-Ray. The Wii HD would make the jump from being a video game console, like it is now, to a more complete entertainment package, such as the PS3 or Xbox.

Whether Nintendo's next console is the HD Wii we’ve all been waiting for, or the 3D Wii we’ve all been wanting, it’s good to know that the company has options beyond what the Wii itself has provided. While Nintendo has never been on the bleeding edge of technology, they have proudly led the way in how we play our games, rather than how we see them, and it’s likely that no matter what iteration the Wii 2 takes, console gamers will be impressed.