The world has often looked to Europe for the latest trends to emulate. Apparently, the latest trend in Europe is cheaper, less-functional versions of gaming systems we probably already bought like three years ago. Following yesterday's news of a new Europe-only version of Sony's PSP handheld that ditches wi-fi functionality and costs less, Nintendo has hopped aboard the train with a new version of the Wii that ditches GameCube support and also costs less.
Set to release this Christmas and effectively replace the Wii model currently on store shelves, this new SKU will remove any backward compatibility for GameCube titles, as well as the ports used for plugging in GameCube controllers. This of course means that if you're particularly fond of using the GameCube controller for any of your Wii games, you might finally have to bite the bullet and buy a Classic Controller.
Oddly enough, the new console also is designed to exclusively sit horizontally. The original model could be turned vertically or horizontally, so presumably this means that Nintendo may have just removed the plastic holder that let you set it vertically from the bundle package.
Nintendo hasn't announced a price for this smaller, sleeker, slightly neutered Wii bundle yet, but did assure that it will be out in time for this Holiday season. Again, this is currently only pegged for release in Europe at this time, but as with all things European, it seems likely that at some point, Nintendo of America will bring its own version of this bundle to the U.S. Though like all things we steal from Europe, it'll probably just be a less interesting, artistically bankrupt facsimile designed to cynically capitalize on the European version's rabid fans.
It'll be just like The Beatles and The Monkees all over again. Literally just like it.