Nintendo has announced it will be bringing its Wii Mini to retail in the U.S. later this month. The Mini is a stripped down version of the Wii that will retail for just $99. With its release in time for the holidays, the Wii Mini is the latest move by Nintendo to secure the lower end of the gaming market.
The Wii Mini debuted in Canada after the official Wii U launch in the fall of 2012. It’s since launched in several other markets including the UK last march. While the original Wii packages will still be on sale in the U.S. through the holiday season, this Wii Mini configuration appears to be set to take its place going forward.
Despite some recent gains Nintendo’s flagship home console, the Wii U, has struggled with sales. The release of the Wii mini looks like the latest in a Nintendo’s bid to cover its losses by capturing the market for low-end gaming hardware. Recently Nintendo released the kid-focused 2DS, a cheaper version of its 3DS handheld that removes the titular 3D feature.
The Wii mini is similarly stripped down. It plays Wii optical discs but cannot connect to the internet, meaning no Virtual Console downloadables or access to other online content like the Mii channel. This also means the Wii Mini won’t be able to receive updates either, which probably isn’t much of an issue since Nintendo isn’t really supporting its 7-year-old Wii with updates anymore.
The $99 package will come with a Wii Remote Plus and nunchuk attachment and a copy of Mario Kart Wii. Not too bad a deal, of course used Wiis are still available for as little as $50. Nintendo says the bare bones console will be available by the middle of the month. So watch out, the PS4 isn’t the only big mid-month console release!