What is with everybody redesigning their game systems, stripping features and lowering prices? Well, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Aside from doing away with GameCube support (the four GC controller ports and memory card slots are gone too), the only thing that's changed is the console is now advertised to sit horizontally (like the Wii U and the silver vertical stand appears to be M.I.A. One more thing, the Wii logo and button text has also been flipped to sit horizontally, too. Oh well, guess you'll need to shell out for a Wii Classic controller if you want to play Super Smash Bros. Brawl the old-school controller way.
A new "Family Edition" will include the GC-less Wii, Wii Sports, Wii Party and A Wii RemotePlus. The redesigned Wii will be available in Europe by Christmas, with Nintendo yet to announce it for other regions.
The changes are minor nips and tucks, but it could hold Nintendo down until the more powerful Wii U arrives next year. Combined with eight Nintendo "Selects" games including titles like Super Mario Galaxy and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess that retail for only $20, the Wii looks like a console that still has a lot of value.
At this point in the Wii's life, cutting GameCube support in order to slash prices down (actual cheaper price wasn't provided at press time) is probably for the better. Everybody who still wants to play GameCube games has probably already bought a Wii. And it's widely expected that Nintendo will start offering GC games as digital downloads on the Wii U via WiiWare, so the cut corners doesn't seem to hurt newcomers.
The only thing is, why is Nintendo molding the redesigned Wii to mimic the Wii U in terms of laying it flat? The silver stand for the Wii's become part of its iconic appeal and marketing it with the same photography is only going to create confusion for when the Wii U does launch alongside it. The two boxes look very similar, except that the Wii U is longer (which you can't see most press images). Uninformed moms and dads will be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the two at quick glance.