With Nintendo’s Wii Mini, we’ve officially reached the “$100 for last-gen hardware” phase of the console cycle.
Nintendo will begin selling the $100 Wii Mini in the United States starting November 17. The package includes the console, a red Wii Remote Plus controller and matching red Nunchuk controller, a copy of Mario Kart Wii–wheel accessory sold separately–and all the necessary cables and adapters.
But just like the Mini model that launched in Canada a year ago, the U.S. model can’t connect to the Internet, so you can’t watch Netflix or Hulu Plus on it, nor can you download games from WiiWare. It also lacks an SD card slot for expanded storage, and you can’t play old GameCube games on it either. If any of those features sound essential, you can still buy a full-sized Wii (including Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort) for $130.
Of course, a repackaged Wii isn’t going to turn Nintendo’s fortunes around, nor should it. This is just the natural progression for video game hardware, as console makers try to extract a little more value from late adopters during the transition to the next generation. Sony did exactly the same thing with its $100 Playstation 2 in 2009.
For more cutting-edge gamers, Nintendo is now selling the Wii U Deluxe for $300, but we’re still waiting for the really good games.