Wii Disappointment

E3 is over, and we’ve probably learned everything important about the Nintendo Wii (pronounced we) that we’re going to learn before launch. I’ve got to say: I’m a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong. It still doesn’t look bad, and may very well be the best console of the generation, but I’d really hoped for more.

There are still a lot of open questions. How much will the Wii cost? When will it be available? What games will be available at launch? How much will games on the Virtual Console cost? What will games really look like? How will they play? Can the Wii play DVD movies? What will be included in the box? What kind of Nintendo DS integration will be available?

Instead of answering any questions or revealing any big surprises, Nintendo has continued to taunt us with hints of more information and more secrets. I’m starting to accept the idea that there’s really nothing else that they could tell us. If they had some big news, why not run with it? This is E3 after all.

Here’s what I expect: The basic system (including console, Wiimote and nunchuck attachment, but no game) will cost $249 in the US. It will be released in early November (maybe on the 3rd?). There will be about 15 games available at launch with more following in the “launch window.” Virtual Console games will average about $5 to purchase, or you’ll be able to sign up for a subscription at $15 / month that will included a limited number of downloads per month (similar to Netflix maybe?). The high end graphics games will look a little better than what we see on the Game Cube, but probably not noticeably better than what’s available on the original Xbox. The Wii will not support DVDs out of the box (for some stupid reason).

I’m guessing that the less intimidating controller will be nice, but will have new problems of its own.  The variety of games might sell a few boxes, but I don’t see grandmothers around the world dropping $300 for Nintendogs or a cooking game.  Really, the only things Nintendo has going for it are its loyal fan base, and the prices of its nearest competitors.  I can’t believe that Sony things it’s really going to sell very many Play Station 3s for $600.  If Microsoft is smart, they’ll drop the price of both of their systems by $100 right before the Wii goes on sale.  Then, if the Xbox 360 actually had a nice portfolio of games, people could easily prefer it over both the Wii or the PS3.