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Wii successor announcement due by E3?

Game Informer reports Nintendo will unveil new HD-equipped console in lead-up to or at annual industry confab; release scheduled for late 2012.

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Source: GameStop-owned Game Informer magazine.

What we heard: One look at the Wii's upcoming lineup, and it's hard not to notice the dearth of titles en route for the console in the next couple of months. Some have taken this anemic activity as an indication that Nintendo will soon be abandoning the platform as it turns its attention to the Wii's inevitable successor. That theory has now been lent more credence, courtesy of a report from Game Informer.

The Wii's successor may be coming on the scene by E3.
The Wii's successor may be coming on the scene by E3.

According to a report on the magazine's website, Nintendo will announce an HD-enabled successor to the Wii at or before this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, which runs June 7-9. Citing "multiple sources," the website states that the console is in development for release in late 2012.

Game Informer's sources were less clear on what consumers can expect from the Wii follow-up. Beyond high-definition output, there seems to be disagreement over the system's graphical horsepower and whether it will match, exceed, or fall short of what's currently available through the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

The sources also did not provide any information as to what, if any, characteristics the new console will share with the Wii. This includes whether or not it will support backward compatibility, motion controllers, or even Wii branding.

However, Game Informer's tipsters did say that Nintendo has already begun showcasing the console's technology to publishers. The move comes as part of an effort to cultivate greater third-party publisher support--a noted shortcoming of the 85 million-unit-selling Wii.

Rumblings of a Wii successor date back to 2008, when Nintendo president Satoru Iwata indicated that a new console was in production. One feature that seems unlikely is stereoscopic 3D, which was counted out by Nintendo of America head Reggie Fils-Aime in an interview with CNN last month.

The official story: "Nintendo does not comment on rumors or speculation."--A Nintendo representative.

Bogus or not bogus: Looking not bogus. With rumors of a $50 price cut to the Wii swirling, Nintendo has for some time been grappling with flagging interest in its best-selling console. As Sony and Microsoft ostensibly settle in for the long haul with the motion controller-compatible PS3 and Xbox 360, Nintendo will need to achieve graphical parity to maintain a competitive position in the market. And it will need to do so soon.

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