Don't hold your breath for Wii HD, says Nintendo

Nintendo cautions against holding your breath for a new Wii HD. Such action won't make it release an HD console any quicker, and might result in the breath-holder getting dizzy and passing out

Ian Morris
2 min read

When the Wii launched on 19 November 2006, everyone was muttering about how ludicrous it was that it didn't have any HD capability. Even then, HDTVs were starting to gain real momentum and only an idiot would have thought the future lay in anything but HD. Microsoft's Xbox 360 had already been out a year, and it was capable of HD out of the box. Sony's PS3 had also hit the streets with 1080p support. Despite all this, Nintendo has just reiterated that it has no plans for a high-definition Wii any time soon.

Nintendo had always claimed that it put gameplay above the quality of the picture and that was its justification for creating a standard-definition console in a high-definition world. But the truth is probably a little more financially based than that, because Nintendo always makes a profit on its hardware, whereas Sony and Microsoft rely on licensing revenue to prop up loss-making hardware.

In 2009 though, the Wii sales have slowed dramatically, forcing Nintendo to drop the price substantially and release a new black model aimed at reigniting interest in the platform. But, to be fair to Nintendo, it's way out in the lead in terms of console sales. Sony has sold around 27 million PS3s and Microsoft in the region of 31 million 360s, while the Wii has shifted an impressive 56 million machines. How many Wiis sit with unused balance boards across the globe is anyone's guess, but as Nintendo makes a profit on every one, it's probably not all that bothered about what happens once they leave the shop.

The debate about Wii HD has been re-ignited with analyst Michael Pachter certain that 2010 will be the year Wii finally gets an HDMI socket -- or, if not an HDMI socket, some form of analogue HD connection. Sadly, in an interview with GameTrailers.com, Reggie Fils-Aime, head of Nintendo US, makes it clear there is no plan for such a console. He said, "Michael [Pachter] continues to be the only one who thinks this is going to happen." He went on to say, "I don't know how forcefully we can say there is no Wii HD."

So is Nintendo just protecting its right to surprise us, or is there really no Wii HD? Do you want high-definition Wii games, or do you agree with Nintendo that gameplay is far more important than picture quality? As always, the comments section is yours to tell us what you think.