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Nintendo shrinks the Wii for Canadian gamers

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Wii Mini (Credit: Nintendo)

Just over a week after Nintendo rolled out its new Wii U console, the video game company is introducing another one. U.S. shoppers, however, won't be able to get their hands on it yet.

The Wii Mini, a shrunken version of the now-officially-last-generation console, is going on sale December 7th exclusively in Canada. It will cost Great White North gamers (and those Yanks who slip across the border) a mere $100.

The Wii Mini is, if nothing else, a snappy looking system. Black with a red border, it also comes with a red Wiimote and nunchuck controller. It does, however, have a few drawbacks.

The biggest of those is the system's lack of Internet connectivity. While the Wii was never a big online gaming device, its users are big fans of online services like Netflix. A study by the Nielsen Co. last July found that 25 percent of Netflix subscribers currently stream movies and TV shows via the Wii. Wii owners also enjoy downloading games through the system's Virtual Console, which won't be available for the Wii Mini.

The Wii Mini will also not be backwards compatible with GameCube titles, something that's likely less of an issue for most potential buyers at this point.

Nintendo officials say the Wii Mini will be exclusive to Canada throughout the holiday season, but are being a bit cagey beyond that point, adding that "no information is available about its potential availability in other territories in the future."

That will keep the focus squarely on the Wii U in the U.S. and other markets through the end of the year. If you really want a regular Wii, though, Nintendo cut prices on the system in October to $130, and many retailers are offering holiday price reductions on top of that, bringing the older, larger version close to the $100 price point of the Mini.

Reducing the size of existing consoles is an old but effective trick in the video game industry. Most recently, Sony introduced a "super slim" PlayStation 3 in September, and Microsoft's revamp of the Xbox 360 into a slimmer form factor in 2010 has led console hardware sales for 20 consecutive months.

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