I played the WII at Gamestop for about 30 minutes (excite truck) and based on that experience, along with the hundreds of screen shots, reviews starting to pour in, and the actual hardware specs now pretty much public, I must say that I'm extremely disappointed in Nintendo and the WII.
First, on a positive note, Nintendo really hit the ball out of the park with the new controller scheme. I must say that it was VERY slick and does show some amazing promise to take console gaming in a new (and better IMHO) direction. Sadly, N left way too much on the table for this to be a long-term success.
There are some critical flaws, here, that make me wonder if the WII will end up being a Dreamcast... Lots of potential but dying fairly quickly.
The single biggest flaw is the hardware. Based on the specifications that I've seen and the numerous statements posted by developers and others, this is merely a sped-up gamecube. The Horsepower looks to be about 1.5x the current gamecube and one must keep in mind that some of the new horsepower will be required to manage the new controller interaction. Even if the new controller system uses zero overhead, we're still only talking about CPU, GPU, and memory that are very similar to the original XBOX. Sadly disappointing. I would have expected N to produce hardware that was at least halfway between a ps2 and ps3 or 2/3 of the way from the XBOX to the 360. The Xbox, for example, was a 733Mhz CPU or so. The 360 is a 3.2 Gigahertz multi-core processor. I'd certainly think that a dual core 1+ Ghz or 2+ gigahertz single core CPU would have been more in order here. Same goes for the GPU... It should certainly have much healthier texturing capabilities than it does. The (slightly) stronger GPU will help some, but textured surfaces will continue to be flat and polygon counts will continue to be quite low for WII games. (note that every round or cylindrical object on the WII demos is a low-polygon shape. This is a clear indication of the lack of polygon-pushing-prowess) All of this said, there won't be a "revolution" in the quality of games in the next year that many keep saying will happen. This is because the development platform for the WII is a tweaked Gamecube and is quite mature. Pretty much everything is known and it will just be a matter of maximizing texture, polygon count, framerate, resolution, etc. for each specific game based on the ability to push a few more polygons. Nothing new here. No new co-processors or special chips designed to help the CPU/GPU by offloading some heavy number crunching tasks...
The second major issue which is strongly correlated to the first, is pricing. Given the very marginal bump in hardware performance, the Price of $250 is simply ridiculous. The GameCube can be had for 79 dollars at retail and that is presumably profitable or at least breakeven for Nintendo. Given that, I can't see where this box should have been priced more than $179 or maybe $199 as a stretch. At $250, this box should be a helluva lot closer to the X360 in terms of raw computing power! To add insult to injury, the cost of a wii-mote plus a nunchuck runs, what, 69.95 per unit? Four players will be costly indeed!
In addition to the WII hardware price point, the games are listed, at the moment, as a $49.95 price point -- this stated by Nintendo as their goal to keep their games $10 cheaper than PS3 and X360. Unfortunately, the games aren't going to be that much better graphically and I personally don't want to pay $50 bucks for last-gen presentation. I'll admit the WII-Mote adds some value, but twice the price? There are a LOT of GC games out there that are $19.95 and the premium titles like Star Wars Lego II are $39.95. Given that a Gamecube will be close in terms of graphics quality, I suspect that many, like myself, will just stick with the GC for family games and see how the WII plays out over the next year. I suspect the WII will have a $149 price point by next Christmas as people begin to realize the unit, graphically, is already hitting a wall. Nintendo is really going to be in a pickle when the Xbox 360 price comes down in line as they'll have to drop their price and many will be angered by having to pay such a high price for the unit at launch only to see the price drop rather significantly less than a year later.
Given all this, I do love a whole lot about what Nintendo does. They have a library second to NONE for family and younger kids entertainment. There is no substitute for the Big N when it comes to family/party games and games for younger kids, period.
IMO, Nintendo SHOULD have designed the WII-mote system for the GC and launched it as an accessory with a pack-in (wii sports) and Zelda. They could refine the technology and then release the WII as a closer to next-gen console next Christmas and maintain backward compatiblity including the wii-motes so the cost was a new console only.
One last thought: Given the desire for N to appeal to mass audiences with the WII, grabbing adult and hardcore gamers (in addition to family/kids) is a must. Adults and hardcore gamers love complex sports and deep, graphically-rich FPS games. This is fact... The WII simply doesn't have the graphical horsepower to provide enough graphical pleasantry to attract that core group and hence, the WII is going to be relegated to the same place the Gamecube is: Family/Party games and kids games. Hardcore gamers won't be showing up for the party and once again, Nintendo will have a fringe console that relies very heavily on 1st person licenses.
Feel free to disagree, but please provide a legitimate reason where my reasoning is flawed and offer an intelligent counter.