Ever since the Wii Mini was announced a week ago, plenty of questions have arisen about it such. Why did they take out online functionality? What did the SD Memory Card slot ever do to the Wii to get the banishment treatment in the redesign? Nintendo of Canada’s director of communications, Matt Ryan the reason should be pretty obvious. Cost.
“To answer your question, is it based on price: Yeah, of course it is,” Ryan told Polygon in an interview. “We want the system to be as affordable as possible to everybody, and the widest audience possible. By taking out functionality, that allows us to keep the cost down.”
That affordable price is $99.99, which Ryan calls the “right tipping point to get Wii Mini noticed.”
Ryan points out to 1,400 titles in the Wii’s library that doesn’t require the use of online functionality to explain its exclusion, but he also points out as to how it plays into their second target market for the Wii Mini, the first being the ever popular target of families.
“. . . there are gamers who have a Wii and want a second one for the cottage, or the chalet, or whatever, who actually don’t need the online functionality.”
When asked about the Wii Mini’s Canada only (so far) availability, Ryan admits that the decision was made at “very high levels.” He’s not even certain if Canada is supposed to be some kind of test market for this new sku.
The topic of the inability to access the Shop Channel never came up, and an explanation as to why Nintendo would be willing to create an audience that doesn’t have access to their digital library would have been at least interesting to hear.