Nintendo will show a playable model of the next-generation Wii gaming console at E3 Expo in June. The company confirmed the reveal date in a short statement earlier today and although there's still no official word on exactly what the successor to the Wii (said to be codenamed "Project Cafe") holds in store, the rumors are gaining momentum.
The Wii has sold 86.01 million units since its release in 2006. It pioneered the new era of motion-control gaming, but with Sony's Playstation Move and Microsoft's Kinect entering the arena in recent times, the need for the long awaited update is even more apparent.
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There's plenty of speculation out there as to the hardware make-up of the Project Cafe console, and many of the rumors are becoming more plausible as the unveiling approaches. The Wii 2 is almost certain to have HD gaming – bringing it up to speed with the competition – and could also support stereoscopic 3D. IGN reports that the new Wii will be be backwards compatible with current Wii software and run on a custom-built triple-core IBM PowerPC chipset and AMD's R700 GPU architecture.
The controller is unlikely to bear any resemblance to the current version (pictured) with the possibility it will integrate a front camera and a 6-inch touchscreen that can accept streaming content from the console. The Nintendo 3DS could also get a gig as a controller for the Project Cafe machine.
Nintendo's move to HD also presents an an opportunity for the company to improve its relationship with third party developers and development kits have reportedly already been sent to major publishers such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Activision.
And the price? There's rumors on that front too – IGN suggest figure in the US$350-400 range.
We look forward to confirming (at least some) of these rumors during E3 Expo, which runs from June 7-9, 2011 in Los Angeles.