Nintendo Wii price drop sparks Wii 2 rumours

Nintendo has slashed the price of its Wii gaming console in a move which heralds the arrival of a new console from the family-friendly gaming giant.

Although only US pricing has been announced at the time of writing, a $150 Wii package including the Mario Kart racing game and a steering wheel controller could well translate into a sub-£100 deal for UK gamers.

The company is widely expected to bring a new console in some form to the table at this year's E3 gadget fest in June but rumours of a sea change in Nintendo's core gaming ethos - moving away from its bright and cheery toddler-tempting simplicity into the hard-core gaming world of its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 contemporaries - may or may not become a reality.

We suspect much of the tattle about the Wii 2 stepping into HD graphics and massive storage territories might be wishful thinking on the behalf of gaming pundits, not least because the Japanese outfit has carved a very comfortable niche for itself, and one which is jealously eyed by the likes of Microsoft and Sony.

Nintendo caught the entire gaming world with its pants down with the introduction of the Wii's revolutionary mix of simple graphics, compelling gameplay and spurious claims that it could get you fit if you jumped around your living room in your underpants for a few minutes a day.

Microsoft and Sony both dragged their heels for far too long before jumping on the motion controller bandwagon with their respective Kinect and Move systems.

Current rumours suggest that the Wii 2, which is currently codenamed Project Café, will ship without a hard drive, come with just 8GB or on-board flash memory for storing game saves and the like, and use proprietary 25GB optical disks to hold game data.

With the current trend for extending the life, and profitability, of top-fight games with downloadable content, and some recent DLC map packs weighing in at more then a gigabyte, Nintendo certainly seems to be sticking to its guns if the rumours are to be believed.

It has been suggested in some quarters that Nintendo's strategy of appealing to a broad spectrum of people who wouldn't traditionally become gamers has failed, but the fact that Wii hardware has consistently outsold the competition, at times by 100 per cent or more, would seem to suggest otherwise.

In our book, anyone who is expecting Nintendo to abandon such a rich stream of revenue in order to compete in a market it really doesn't understand will be sorely disappointed.