It's going on five years since the Wii launched, and in that space, only Sony and Microsoft are talking 10 year console life cycles. Nintendo's been pretty much silent about the Wii's heir not-so-apparent.
The little white box with all its flip-lid compartments, ports, and card slots began the race with a few systemic disadvantages (the heart of a next-gen box, but the stamina of a GameCube). It managed to capitalize on its novel, publicity-friendly control system, but now seems to be slipping as gamers with high-definition televisions shift to (or back to) the Xbox 360 and PS3, while motion-control wonks investigate even bolder alternatives like Kinect and PlayStation Move.
Enter the Wii's successor, oh-so-creatively dubbed "Wii 2." We're all assuming it's coming, but when? Could it be this year, say an announcement at Nintendo's press show during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June?
Don't count on it. Nintendo's still crunching relatively big numbers, trailing the Xbox 360 but ahead of the PS3 in monthly unit sales. Games like Mario Sports Mix are still turning out top sales despite mixed reviews, managing to square off against the likes of better-thought-of majors like Killzone 3 and Bulletstorm.
And an analyst at M2 Research thinks we may be years away from either a Wii 2 or Xbox Next.
"Nintendo Wii's successor is likely to launch before the next Xbox," M2 senior analyst Billy Pidgeon told NowGamer. "While Nintendo's next console could be a 2012 release, 2013 is more likely, and I'm not expecting a next generation Xbox before Q4 2014."
Forget set-top consoles, 2011's the year of the handheld anyway. The Verizon iPhone 4. The rumored iPhone 5. The Android-based Xperia Play (PlayStation Phone). All the other Android phones popping up monthly. And then there's the "dedicated" two: Nintendo's 3DS, and Sony's PSP-followup, codenamed NGP (Next Generation Platform).
All this talk about Microsoft's next Xbox? Just talk. Don't fret about it. Whatever happens over the next two or three or four years, we're already sort of paddling around in an embarrassment of game-related riches. Right?