Nintendo says that the Wii Mini doesn’t have online functionality because it doesn’t believe everyone needs online in their games. Considering the Wii doesn’t have a lot of games that are built around competitive online play, I’d say I agree with them.
“We want the system to be as affordable as possible to everybody, and the widest audience possible,” Nintendo of Canada communications director Matt Ryan told Polygon. “By taking out functionality, that allows us to keep the cost down.
“The reason that we took [online] out was that we don’t believe that everybody needs that to play games. I mean, a lot of the Wii experiences, and there’s over 1,400 of them that are disc-based Wii games, don’t require online functionality for you to have fun. Now, when you played Wii, or you played some of those games on Wii U, there’s enhanced fun factor when you play them online. But this system isn’t designed for the player who’s looking to have an online experience. Wii Mini is designed for families, or a late adopter, or someone who maybe isn’t even a gamer yet, and maybe doesn’t realize they’ve got a gamer hiding inside of them.
“There’s a consumer out there, there are gamers who have not bought a Wii yet, and there are gamers who have a Wii and want a second one for the cottage, or the chalet, or whatever, who actually don’t need the online functionality. So we basically stripped all the online functionality out, and the end result is cost savings for the person buying Wii Mini at $99.”
The Wii Mini will be out in Canada in a few days, but Nintendo currently has no plans to launch it in other regions.