The company has confirmed the rumors that it plans to unveil a successor to the Wii at this year’s E3 (the annual trade show of the video game industry). The new system will be out in 2012.
In a three-paragraph statement (which began with the stiffly formal “To whom it may concern:”), the company announced the product, without giving away any details about functionality or even its name.
It was similarly tightlipped on an earnings call.
“As for the details of exactly what it will be, we have decided that it is best to let people experience it for themselves at E3,” said Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s president and CEO. “So I won’t talk about specific details today, but it will offer a new way of playing games within the home.”
Launched in 2006, the Wii has sold more than 86 million units worldwide. Compared against the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, though, the system has grown long in the tooth, due to its lack of high definition graphics and weak multiplayer component.
Combined with weakness in the handheld market, that has started to impact Nintendo’s earnings. The company had a net profit of 77.6 billion yen ($946 million) in its just completed fiscal year – a 66 percent drop from a year ago.
Rumors about a new home console from the company have been swirling for weeks now, with some developers privately acknowledging they were expecting software development kits for the system imminently.