Is Nintendo’s new console designed to co-exist with the Wii?

The name “Wii HD” is only a nickname. Based on what we’re hearing, the system could be quite different from the Wii. One of its main differentiators is that it’s supposedly being designed to “recapture the hardcore market.” What some journalists are now speculating is that Nintendo may launch this new console to co-exist with the Wii.

Basically, there’d be the Wii. This would be for the casual market. It’d become its own brand similar to how the iPad is different from the iPhone, even though they’re from the same company and parallels can be drawn between them. The Wii brand would remain in its current form, focused on widespread appeal and ease of use.

wii hd

And then there’d be whatever Nintendo plans to announce at E3 2011. It’d be the device that’s meant to recapture the hardcore market. It’ll have the dual analog sticks, and the raw power of a “true” next-gen console. But this isn’t competition for the Wii. This would be a separate brand, a system with its own release schedule and set of games (although I imagine the less intensive, but popular games could be designed for both platforms).

It’s a farfetched idea, sort of. But I find it fascinating. Nintendo has created a schism, even if they didn’t mean too. Many people don’t consider it to be in competition with the PS3 and Xbox 360, and not necessarily because they’re trying to be haters. The Wii is clearly doing its own thing. It’s racked in the sales from a unique market and while the sales have been dropping off rapidly, there’s plenty more sales to be earned with a price drop.

In a way, Microsoft and Sony have started to do this themselves. Microsoft has the Kinect and Sony has the Move. There are definitely plenty of “hardcore” gamers who purchased these peripherals, but they are primarily designed to bring in a new audience, and that’s what they’re doing.

If Nintendo were to announce this new system solely for the hardcore audience, and leave the Wii as a separate, casual entity, they’d be pretty much doing the same thing as Sony and Microsoft, but on a grander scale. Kinect and Move are selling well too, so it’s seems to be a strategy that works. Bring in the hardcore gamers, but have an option for “less serious” gamers, who might just want to play an occasional game with their family.

Of course, this is all blatant speculation. I heard the theory of Nintendo having two, co-existing consoles and I’ve run with it because I find it fascinating. I think it’s a strategy that has some legs, but it may be too complicated for a company such as Nintendo who prefer not having their fingers in too many pies.

But what do you think? Will Nintendo win back lost fans with this new system? And does co-existing consoles sound like a plausible strategy?

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