Wii Mini set to confuse Canadian shoppers on December 7th

I'm not intentionally turning this blog into a dedicated Nintendo channel, but the company is doing a good job making itself the center of attention. We're still talking about the Wii U launch and now another, surprise console has been announced: the Wii Mini. It launches in just 10 days (December 7th), but only in Canada.

The Wii Mini is essentially a Wii (not Wii U) pared down in price, size and features. It'll cost $99.99, is smaller than the regular Wii and it has no internet connectivity or Gamecube backwards compatibility. We don't have actual dimensions but from images I've seen it looks to be roughly square with each side about the same length as the Wii Remote.

$100 gets you the Wii, a Wii Remote, the Nunchuk accessory, sensor bar and composite cables. It's a matte black device with a red border. No games are packed in, but the Wii Mini does work with accessories like the Wii Balance Board.

This is a Canadian exclusive through the holiday season and Nintendo says "No information is available about its potential availability in other territories in the future." If it does well I'm sure we'll see it released in other regions.

So who is the intended audience here? The first thing that springs to mind is that it's a game console for a child's bedroom. No Internet to worry about them getting in trouble with, and it looks sturdy and fairly fingerprint and gunk resistant. Nintendo makes a point of calling out Parental Controls in its press release.

The price point isn't that much removed from the regular Wii, which can be had in Canada for about $150 with a good game packed in, so you're basically paying for the smaller size and possibly the lack in Internet as a 'feature' rather than a detriment.

It's a puzzling announcement, to be honest. With no Internet it's clearly not intended to eventually replace the Wii, and it can't help but add to consumer confusion. I can just imagine a confused consumer standing in a store aisle muttering "Wii Mini, Wii U, or Wii? Which one do we want?"

So are any of my Canadian readers fired up for this December 7th launch?

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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