The “Wii Family Edition” is an update to the current Wii platform that, so far, has only been confirmed for the United Kingdom this holiday. The Official Nintendo Magazine has it that this console is a streamlined version of the white Wii that was designed to sit horizontally, not vertically.
The Wii Family Edition will come with both Wii Sports (note that this is not Wii Sports Resort) and Wii Party, as well as a Wii remote with Wii MotionPlus built in and a nunchuck.
What the console is missing; however, is massive. The Wii Family Edition will not support GameCube games or GameCube controllers. So, if you snag this model, you can kiss your entire GameCube library’s playability goodbye. Moreover, where games like Mario Kart Wii and Super Smash Bros. Brawl offer support for GameCube controllers out of the box, owners of this new, streamlined console won’t be able to make use of the feature.
For a lot of gamers, the ability to use a GameCube controller with brand new games is one of the best features the Nintendo Wii has to offer. In fact, as a console, the Wii may offer the most options for control. This new version? Not so much.
That said, the appeal of this bundle will likely fall on families and gamers that probably wouldn’t consider themselves hardcore Nintendo devotees. The absence of GameCube support, both for the media and controllers, might not matter a bit for the types of players interested in this new-look bundle.
Nintendo has said that even more value-focused Wii console bundles will be announced as the fall rolls on. The effort to bundle consoles with software and hardware is a clear attempt to right the recently downward trajectory of the machine’s sales. One has to wonder, though, with the Wii selling as much as it did as fast as it did, are there really any potential buyers out there that are still interested in the console?