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Nintendo Preparing for a Big Upgrade

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WII THE PEOPLE
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Gamers, stop your button-mashing -- or in the case of Kinect users, arm-flailing -- and listen up. Numerous reports are coming in that say Nintendo is gearing up to unveil its follow-up to the Wii this summer for E3, or possibly earlier, for release next year.

According to Game Informer, in addition to a $50-price cut it will give the first-generation Wii next month, Nintendo is in the midst of designing an HD successor to the Wii. Considering the existing Wii's graphics looked a bit drab in comparison to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 four years ago, this is a welcome addition. However, Game Informer's Matthew Kato has heard conflicting reports on whether the graphics will surpass or again fall behind the visuals of Nintendo's chief competitors.

Either way, Kato notes, the improved performance should strengthen the tenuous relationships it holds with third party publishers and developers. At a press conference last fall, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata acknowledged its poor standing with third parties. "We need to decrease the concern that only Nintendo software can sell well on Nintendo platforms and third-party software cannot sell in the same volume. We feel a need to have closer ties with our third-party developers from the beginning."

An anonymous source told Game Informer that shouldn't be a problem with the new equipment. "Nintendo is doing this one right." Adding, "[It's] not a gimmick like the Wii."

And not a moment too soon. Between the declining appeal of the controls, departing developers, and an overwhelming amount of shovelware, the Wii fell to third place at the end of last year. The recent release of the Nintendo 3DS handheld system pulled decent numbers, but it still faces stiff competition from millions of Angry Birds on iPhones and Android devices. Like the discontinued Flip camera, why carry an extra device when your smartphone can do all the work?

Which is why Nintendo needs this Wii successor to be, pardon the pun, another game changer.

(See also: Nintendo Wii Falls to Third Place and How Nintendo Lost Its Stride)

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