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CNET First Look
Nintendo Wii Hardware BundleNintendo's new Wii hardware bundle now includes the Wii Remote Plus. It's still the best value of the holiday season in terms of dollars spent, but the Wii's getting long in the tooth.
-Hi. I'm Scott Stein, senior associate editor at cnet.com and this is the Nintendo Wii. You're very familiar with the Nintendo Wii, but holiday shopping season is right around the corner. And while we've been discussing Microsoft's Kinect, the PlayStation Move, and all this new motion gaming systems, the Wii is still out there and they have a new bundle that's kind of gone a little bit un-discussed. For $199 the black and white Wii that are available now come with Wii Sports, and Wii Sports Resort but they also come with a new controller, the Wii Remote Plus. The Wii Remote Plus is a new controller that looks a lot like the old controller. However, integrated in it is the MotionPlus technology that we saw last year, that cool gyropscopic, more accurate technology that we've seen in Wii Sports Resort and a couple of other titles to have a little more realistic motion control on the Wii. Now, it's nice that it's been integrated and it's nice you won't have to pay extra for it, but pretty much that it's as far as what's in the new bundle. This summer, they already had Wii Sports Resort packed in along with MotionPlus, although it was a plugin accessory at that point. So what it amounts to is for $199, it's definitely the cheapest console that's out there this holiday. However, there are other consoles that are coming really close. You can get a Bare Bones Xbox 360 for $199 but it doesn't come with a hard drive. The PlayStation 3 is now only $299 for its lowest end configuration version. The Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 have a lot alike except as far as HD compatibility, playing Blu-rays on a PlayStation 3, the ability to play high-definition Netflix streaming videos and features such as ESPN and also Hulu Plus. Now, the Wii does have a downloadable Netflix channel that became available this year, but it's only available in resolutions up to 4080p and that's it. There are no other channels that give that sort of media capabilities at this point at a Wii. The rest of the Wii design is still the same as you've seen before. There are a couple of funky channels that really, you probably not gonna use all that much. There are also a bunch of downloadable games on WiiWare, but those are not easy to transfer from one Wii to another at this point so they're gonna stay locked on that machine and the memory is really limited on Wiis. You have to use an SD card to off put a lot of games. There's also no HDMI out on a Wii. It still has connectivity for a GameCube. There are 4 controller ports and 2 memory card slots. So if you happen to have any GameCube games, I guess that's great for you. But the Wii still can't play DVDs. It can't play CDs. So even though it's a very cool set-top box-type design, its usability is still limited. What it can do, is play a great library of Wii games that are already out there. However, unlike in 2006 where we thought this is gonna be some of the future of gaming, probably the best days of the Wii are behind at this point. You may wanna buy it for its existing library, but don't really expect the Wii to go many great places after this. On the hand, for kids, for people of all ages, the Wii still might be one of the easiest setups compared to all the consoles that are out there. And when you consider that the Kinect and the Move are a little more finicky with their setups on the home, the Wii's Motion Control is a lot less finicky and a lot easier to set up in an area like a dorm room or wherever you wanna go on the home. There's also a red console configuration for this holiday season. It's very limited edition and it comes with new Super Mario Brothers Wii. It's probably sold out at this point in most places you can find it. Just in case you're curious though, it also comes with a Wii Remote Plus. I'm Scott Stein and this is the new Wii 2010 Holiday Bundle available in stores now.