Itís that time of year again...
Even though the Electronic Entertainment Expo may be dead as we know it – downsized, made more personal and business-like and pushed later into the year – the hype that surrounds it lives on...and so do the rumors. Perhaps some of the most prolific rumors regarding this year’s E3 concern Nintendo, but that comes when a company’s console is as hot as the Wii is.
While there are the usual rumors regarding new game announcements – of everything from Wii installments of Mario Kart and Star Fox (we’ll probably here something about at least one of their classic franchises, as Nintendo will want to start setting up next year’s releases) to totally new intellectual properties (not likely with games like Disaster: Day of Crisis, Project H.A.M.M.E.R. and Forever Blue still awaiting release) – some of the more interesting rumors suggest that Nintendo may make a hardware announcement at the new E3.
Topping most people’s lists, an announcement regarding an HDD for the Wii seems to be gaining steam among certain circles. However, I do think that is, at best, wishful thinking. Apart from the VC, the Wii really has no downloadable content to speak of just yet, and just looking at the list of upcoming games, not too many developers have really announced any plans yet for DLC (thanks in part, I’m sure, to Nintendo’s delay in providing them with certain key information). So, in my opinion, the rumors of a first-party hard drive seem unlikely at this point. Providing support for existing external USB hard drives on the other hand...
Others have suggested that we will see a microphone attachment for the Wii. With games like Boogie and High School Musical headed to the system, both of which offer karaoke-esque gameplay, it will certainly need it in some form. However, even if Nintendo does make an announcement, we can’t see EA and Disney Interactive relying on a first-party accessory in order to sell their games, so we’re leaning more towards a third-party pack-in for those.
Also topping the list of new hardware, many are expecting Nintendo to announce the successor to the Game Boy Advance. Our take? Not likely. Though it does seem plausible that Nintendo will keep the two handheld lines separate (at least for one more iteration of each) before merging them, now doesn’t seem like the appropriate time. Even cutting the system short, the Nintendo DS still has at least one more very good year in it, and announcing a new Game Boy will only make potential customers wary of purchasing the DS with a new system on the way.
So, now we’re inching closer to what is actually probable. Just going by what we know, a Wii with DVD-playback has already been revealed and could very well be announced for U.S. release...just not yet. While a desirable function to be sure, playback isn’t exactly necessary stateside. At this point, I’d venture a guess that most Americans already own a DVD player, and if not they're certainly cheap enough to be considered an "impulse" buy. Where the market really exists is in Japan, where hardware with multiple functions is more enviable due to various aspects of their lifestyle.
By now you may be asking yourself, "Well, if you don’t think it is any of those things, what do you think it is?" Well, in a word: color. That’s right, if there is a hardware announcement to be made at E3, I believe Nintendo will merely announce new colors for the Wii. Even though Nintendo once showcased an array of colors for the Wii (with black pushed prominently, as the promotional image to the right displays), white was the only color available at launch, though others were promised to come later. Recently, more and more proof has begun to surface that stores will soon offer blue and pink Wii Remotes, and thus it does seem likely that Nintendo may soon make those colors available for the system as well.
Unfortunately, at this point, nothing in this story is anything more than mere speculation, as it is with every other site out there. We really won’t know what the announcement will be, or if there will even be one, until this July, when the new E3 opens. Of course, we’ll be sure to keep an eye on this story in the meantime and if any information new surfaces, we’ll keep you up to date. So be sure to check back at VGGEN often!
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