Now this is odd. Nintendo World Report has posted a rumor
from “an internal release schedule from a major retailer that at this time [they] are unable to disclose” that Nintendo will be announcing a Wii Mini console
on December 7th. The console will come with a sensor bar, Nunchuk and Wii remote plus--all standard equipment for the current Wii SKUs. As cute/cool an even smaller Wii console sounds, I have to say this seems far-fetched for a number of reasons.
First of all, is this even necessary? The Wii is already pretty tiny, the smallest home console Nintendo ever released. Last October Nintendo revised the hardware with the Wii Family Edition by yanking the GameCube support, but aside from being geared to lie horizontally (no stand included) the console's form factor was essentially identical. Why release a smaller version now instead of last year when they updated the hardware? I'm sure Nintendo could make the Wii even smaller--the portable 3DS's hardware is even marginally more powerful than the Wii so something like the ludicrously skinny PS2 Slim is possible--but it seems redundant at this point.
Second, most sane console makers (read: not Sony) accompany a hardware revision with a price drop. Nintendo dropped the Wii's price to $130 just last month, so it's unlikely they'll be slashing prices again so soon. I've think the Wii should have been $99 for years now, but as much as I'd like Nintendo to price their products realistically, it's unlikely to happen in this case.
Last, the Wii is on its way out and the Wii U handily replaces it. Aside from the GameCube compatibility, which was removed from the aforementioned Wii Family Edition anyway, the Wii U can play all Wii games and use all standard Wii peripherals and accessories. The Wii U replaces the Wii by being
a Wii, just as the Wii made the GameCube largely irrelevant by including nearly all the Cube's functionality.
On the other hand Nintendo World Report is generally reputable, so I’ll wait and see on this one. Nintendo hasn’t released a drastically smaller/changed hardware revision since the SNES 2, which was scaled down and made to look more like the N64. But the N64, GameCube and Wii have all stayed largely the same throughout their lifespans.
Of course, Nintendo announced and released the revised NES and SNES shortly after their successor consoles were released…so a smaller, cheaper Wii coming so soon after Wii U’s launch isn’t entirely without precedent. In any case I’ll keep my eye on this rumor and report and new developments.