Nintendo of Canada communications manager
director Matt Ryan tells Polygon that the Wii Mini lacks important features such as GameCube backwards compatibility and online connectivity because the firm wanted to keep the cost low so that "families" and "non-core gamers" could afford the device. Nintendo announced the pared down Nintendo Wii recently as being only for Canada and set at a suggested retail price of $99 CAN.
"We want the system to be as affordable as possible to everybody, and the widest audience possible. By taking out functionality, that allows us to keep the cost down," Ryan told Polygon. "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."
Ryan went on to say that the system is specifically designed for families, suggesting that the Wii and Wii U are not casual devices at all. Forget that your grandparents and your mom and dad may have been using the Wii to play games like Wii Fit and Wii Sports… Yeah…
"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."
You can read all of Ryan's comments on Polygon.