Wii and HDTV


Of the 3 current generation consoles the Nintendo Wii is the only one that is not HD. This has brought them several advantages. The consoles are cheaper to manufacture so they can be sold at a profit, unlike the HD consoles from Microsoft and Sony. In addition the Wii can have games developed for it far more quickly and cheaply because a far smaller number of pixels are being manipulated.

HDTV puts about four times the number of pixels on the screen compared to the conventional TV standard we have grown up with. When consumers see this, it is such a huge leap in performance that they want it. But at the moment there isn’t much true HDTV content of any kind so people are generally unaware of the capabilities. They are buying HDTVs mainly for their large screen size and the convenience of their flat form.

However this situation is changing every day as more HDTV is broadcast and more people get HD DVD or Blu-Ray players. Games thus far on the HD consoles have come nowhere near delivering the full HDTV experience. Over 2008 this will gradually change. When it does the results will blow you away. Once people routinely watch broadcast HD television and watch HD videos they will not want to go back to inferior quality. The same will apply to gaming. Once people are fully HD literate they will not want to go back.

So what is key to the life of the Wii is how long it takes for people to become fully HD aware (they are not there yet) and how long it takes the games industry to make the best of HD graphics. These will not be sudden things. They will ramp up gradually over the next couple of years.

Wii is an amazing creation of Nintendo and has a fantastic but short future ahead of it. Imagine if someone brought out a console that only displayed in black and white because that is what televisions used to be. This is the situation Wii will be in by Q4 2009. Nintendo are not stupid, they know this, so new product announcements are inevitable.


  1. Personally, I dont think it would make any sense for Nintendo to release an new HD compatible Wii at all. I doubt very much that the audience with which the Wii has been targeted are interested in HD functionality at all. The appeal of the Wii is it’s simplistic and fun nature from a consumers point of view (basically Nintendo personified). That’s why consumers from all different backgrounds and ages want one.

  2. Redh3lix- I used to think the same way about mainstream video watchers; I didn’t think a few extra features and talk about the wonders of digital were going to make them go out and buy their VHS collection all over again on DVD. It’s like mobile phones- easy to talk about how you can live without them when you’ve not got one, but not so easy to go back once you’ve made the jump. (I don’t think I watched a single VHS recording in 2007…)

    From anecdotal evidence alone, I know that there are plenty of people out there who are excited about HD but don’t really understand it. (One giveaway is when they invite their friends over to watch the football in HD on their new TV and boast about the “much clearer and sharper picture”, when they are still getting Sky Sports in SD.)

  3. I sell (I should probably say ‘use to sell’) HDTVs and its very clear that there is plenty of confusion among consumers. Especially with the lack of true HD content the whole HDTV industry feels a little unstable.

    I don’t think that most everyday consumers (Wii’s target market) are really fussed about High definition. There is no need to be as the advantages of HD aren’t worth the effort to change.

    It’ll be interesting to see how HDTVs integrate into the market.

  4. The jump to wii hd will present a necessary leap in graphics similar to the move from xbox1 to 360. to say wii users don’t care about hd is a mistake. There are lots of core gamers who want to play games with motion control, but also have a ps3 or 360 for hd. wii hd will still be a generation behind in graphics & online but will probably pull a big share of the market.

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