Of the 'big three' consoles, the Nintendo Wii is the only one that seems to have escaped widespread criticism. The PlayStation 3 is constantly being squashed from all sides and the Xbox 360 has endured its fair share of bullying.
The Nintendo Wii's original approach to gaming has won it millions of fans worldwide. The concept is enough to win people over before they've even played with one. It's also currently selling four times as many units than the PS3 in the USA and five times as many in Japan.
But however original, and however fun it may be, the Wii is not a perfect console. Here are seven things we'd change about the Nintendo Wii if we had the chance:
1. The graphics
Compared to the PS3, Xbox and any PC less than five years old, the graphics on the Wii are fairly mediocre. Consequently, games can look pretty awful on a large television. True, the Wii has scored with Joe Public thanks to its emphasis on fun rather than graphical prowess. But give it better graphics and it would be a vastly more impressive console.
The big question is this: is the unique motion-sensing approach of the Wii's control system enough to power the console into next year? Scott Steinberg, Sega's US vice president of marketing, doesn't think so and reckons the popularity of the Wii could wain by 2008. He believes that the PS3 will eventually emerge victorious. See the full story on our sister site CVG .
2. The games
The great strength of the Wii is that it's so different compared to any other console out there. But that's also one of its weaknesses. The problem with being so different, both graphically and control-wise, is that developers have to make games exclusively for the console. That means that you don't get many games ported across from the Xbox or the PS3, for example. And since the launch of the Wii there's been a definite drought in quality games. How many top-notch Wii games can you name? We bet it's less than five...
3. Rechargeable Wiimote
The Wii's remote control, the 'Wiimote', has got to be one of the boldest peripherals ever created. But again, it's by no means perfect. The internal speaker is poor and the wireless signal will sometimes 'get lost', failing to connect to the console.
The main thing we'd improve about the Wiimote would be to make it rechargeable. If you could dock it between gaming sessions, that would be much better than running out of batteries when you don't have any to replace them. Wiimote battery life isn't bad, but we wouldn't bet against a third party company producing a rechargeable Wiimote to fill this gap. Check out Thanko's USB Wiimote charger in Japan.
4. More innovative peripherals
The Wiimote is motion sensitive, so it's great to use for realistic physical interaction with the games you're playing. Tennis is intuitive; bowling is idiot-proof. But how about some other controllers which work in the same way?
You could make Wii shoes, helmets, gloves etc. All with the same technology, and designed to strap to your body in order to better interact with the games. Imagine a soccer game you could interact with by placing a couple of sensors on your feet! Gamers already queue up to play Guitar Hero with a plastic guitar.
5. More storage
The Wii only has 512MB of NAND flash memory. That's fairly poor by anyone's standards. Admittedly, you can expand the Wii's memory using SD cards but why couldn't we just have a bit more storage inside the console? When you're downloading content from the Virtual Console area of the Wii shop, you can end up using up lots of memory and shelling out for multiple SD cards.
6. Network play
Considering that the Wii firmly places the emphasis on fun rather than high-def graphics, you'd have thought Nintendo would have made its online services a bit better. Full marks to Nintendo for the way you can use your Nintendo DS as an input device on the Wii. And Mii character creation is a stroke of genius. But Wii networking is nowhere near as comprehensive and enticing as, say, Microsoft's Xbox Live.
Even though Xbox Live is a subscription service, Nintendo could do worse than emulate the success that Microsoft has had with it. Wii gamers have told us they'd willingly pay for a Live-like clone service that effortlessly linked them up with their friends.
Finally, the Nunchuck controller needs to be wired to your Wiimote in order to use it. This is something that all Wii fans would like to see changed. Make it wireless, and then suddenly you make the games even more fun to play. Again, like wishing for a rechargeable Wiimote, this is something a third-party periperhal manufacturer might take on in the future.
Clearly all these suggested changes would cost money to implement. And for every change that's made, the console might become a little more expensive to buy and run. But in an ideal world, who wouldn't want the Wii changed? Both Sony and Microsoft have regularly updated the firmware of their PS3s and Xbox 360s since they were launched. While the release of the 'Elite' version of the Xbox 360 is Microsoft's way of saying: "yes, ok, we really should have put an HDMI connection into the original Xbox."
These are the changes we'd like to make, what other changes would YOU like to see Nintendo make to the Wii? Get in touch
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