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Wii U console

Wii U controller

New Super Mario Bros. Mii

Wii U controller used in 5-player gaming
The Wii U features an innovative controller with a built-in 6.2" screen

Nintendo's Wii was a smash hit when it launched in 2006 and was sold out for months as buyers scrambled to get their hands on one. The Wii's sales streak continued for years until the downturn in the economy and competing motion-controlled accessories started making their way to more powerful consoles (Kinect on Xbox 360 and Move for the PlayStation 3).

I. The Wii U controller

Keeping this in mind, Nintendo is looking stay relevant in the home gaming console market and today announced its Wii successor: the Wii U. While the name isn't very imaginative at all, the Wii takes an intriguing new direction in controller design with a large, integrated 6.2" color LCD. The screen is flanked by two analog pads, a "cross" control pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons, and ZL/ZR buttons.

In addition, the controller features an accelerometer, gyroscope, rumble support, microphone, speakers, stylus, sensor strip, and a front-facing camera. Nintendo also says that in single-player mode, what is displayed on the controller's screen can change based on its orientation with the TV screen. Likewise, the controller can also display information that isn't readily available on the TV screen. 

For single-player games, it sounds like unnecessary complexity for gamers who will now have to divide their attention between a 6.2" display and a 42"+ HDTV, but we'll give Nintendo the benefit of the doubt with this one. After all, not many expected gamers to be receptive to Wii Remote + Nunchuk.

However, with multiplayer games, things get a bit more interesting. Nintendo showed a demo of a multiplayer game with four players using traditional Wii Remotes (4-player, split-screen). A fifth player was able to join in on the action with the new Wii U controller using the 6.2" display to keep up with the other players. Check out this video demonstration to see how the screen can be used in multiplayer.

While the new Wii U controller is the attention grabber today, the old Wii Remote/Remote Plus, Nunchuk, Classic Controller, and Balance Board are all supported by the new console.

II. The Wii U console

As for the console itself, it looks like a Wii that has bulked up a bit and gained a few more curves. The Wii U measures 10.5" in length, 6.8" in width, and 1.8" in height.
An IBM Power-based multi-core processor will power the console. We don't know how powerful this processor is, but the graphics don't really seem to impress at the moment and don't look much different from the current Wii (see game screenshots on the right).

Like the original Wii, it will debut in white (although there are sure to be other colors introduced down the road). The Wii U will output 1080p over HDMI (component, S-video, and composite connections will be available to those still stuck in the dark ages). 

When it comes to storage, the Wii U has an unspecified amount of onboard flash memory, a built-in Secure Digital slot (like the original Wii), and four USB 2.0 ports. USB thumb drives and external USB hard drives will be supported. It's unknown if the Wii U's optical drive will support DVD playback, but Nintendo would be pretty boneheaded to disable that feature like they did with North American Wii consoles.

Also, for those of you that have a stash of Wii games collecting dust on the shelf, they will also be playable on the Wii U.

“Wii U redefines the structure of home entertainment by fundamentally changing how the TV, the game console and the Internet function and interact together,” said Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. “The experience enabled by Wii U and the new controller takes players deeper into their games, while reaching out wider than ever before to be inviting to all kinds of gamers.” 

Since the Wii U won't be released until 2012, the company isn't quite ready to reveal pricing at this time.

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Looks like Wii enhance
By Naviblue on 6/7/2011 4:17:18 PM , Rating: -1
Looks like Nintendo is still using the same formula for making money using cheap components while over charging. Sorry Nintendo, not this time around. You have to come out with better graphics than that if you want my money. So many of these features are already available through my other gadgets like my smartphone (i.e video calling, etc.) Looking forward to the next XBox!

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By phantom505 on 6/7/2011 4:41:32 PM , Rating: 3
Which will be in about 2 weeks when your current one breaks.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By jeff834 on 6/7/2011 4:53:38 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmm still using my launch 360, which I have played between 10 and 40 hours a week since I got it on day 1. Never had a problem with the other 360 I have which I use mainly for streaming video. None of my friends have ever had a problem with any of their consoles either, although I do know 1 person who had a RRoD a few years ago and had their console replaced by MS for free. It's silly to say the Wii is better than a 360 because it doesn't have as many technical issues. Each one has their niche. 360s are more for people that enjoy shooters and RPGs and like a good online MP experience, Wiis are more for families, children, and parties.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By phantom505 on 6/7/2011 5:01:05 PM , Rating: 2
Someone has to win the lottery. Far too many people I know have a couple to put drinks on and one to play.

By StevoLincolnite on 6/8/2011 12:07:53 AM , Rating: 2
Hmmm still using my launch 360, which I have played between 10 and 40 hours a week since I got it on day 1.

Lucky! I have the 3rd revision Falcon which has failed me 3 times.

But to be honest? It was only really an inconvenience when it failed, the RMA support that Microsoft has is pretty good with the xbox.
Heck they even sent out the box and everything I needed like foam and tape to package it in and send it off.
A couple of weeks later another machine is on my door step.

I'll probably get a Slim console when my current Falcon fails, they are much more reliable and use less power to boot. :)

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By MrPerez on 6/7/2011 5:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
Thats true 3 years ago, it seems to me your still bitter about something?

Someone give this guy a hug!

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By phantom505 on 6/7/2011 5:11:29 PM , Rating: 2
I'm bitter about lots of stuff. Just happens I was smart enough to not buy an XBox. The initial marketing of it was enough to make me vomit.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By B3an on 6/7/2011 5:49:15 PM , Rating: 2
And the Wii's is any better?? Most annoying TV ads ever.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By phantom505 on 6/7/2011 6:07:17 PM , Rating: 1
As I recall there was little need to even have a Wii TV spot. That must have been something that came later that I payed no attention to. Unlike the PS3 or the Xbox they didn't have to convince anyone to buy them.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By stm1185 on 6/7/2011 7:38:31 PM , Rating: 2
yeah they only had to convince people to keep playing then and buy 3rd party software, which they failed to do so its on to a new console where 3rd party software might actually be profitable.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By TheRequiem on 6/7/2011 4:49:03 PM , Rating: 3
Me too, I'll pass... where's Xbox 3 and PS4? Today already.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By phantom505 on 6/7/11, Rating: -1
RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By TheRequiem on 6/7/2011 6:48:13 PM , Rating: 2
Whatever... it'll be sooner then that.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By LRonaldHubbs on 6/7/2011 7:37:34 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe you missed the part where Sony said the PS3 is going to last 10 years? I wouldn't get my hopes up about the PS4 just yet.

By StevoLincolnite on 6/8/2011 2:54:37 AM , Rating: 2
When Sony means the PS3 will have a shelf life of 10 years doesn't mean they won't release a new console.
Case in point...
The PS2 launched in the year 2000.
The PS3 launched in the year 2006.

However... Sony still sells PS2 consoles even today after 11 years of being on the shelf.
So it's not hard to believe that next year a new console will launch and the PS3 will continue to be on store shelves along side the PS4.

It doesn't mean Sony goes back on that statement at all.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By Manch on 6/8/2011 12:47:45 PM , Rating: 2
Because they've never changed their mind or went back on what they promised? They may have thought that 6 years ago, but if Nintendo, MS are putting out new consoles, bet your @$$ they will have one in the same time frame. But, as the other poster commented,doesnt mean the PS3 will go anywhere.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By Naviblue on 6/7/2011 11:14:46 PM , Rating: 3
All my buddies have a Wii, all my buddies stopped paying the Wii, the fad is over.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By icanhascpu on 6/7/2011 9:59:10 PM , Rating: 2
You're looking at at least 2 years away.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By GuinnessKMF on 6/7/2011 5:11:43 PM , Rating: 2
I too won't be going out of my way to get a new Wii, but Nintendo has pretty much stopped caring about a us, and they're better off for it. Nintendo is after much higher margins, and you can't blame them.

You want games that have blockbuster-esq multi-million dollar budgets that have several year development cycles. You are willing to pay $60 or less for the game (or if you're a real idiot you buy the $100 "collectors" edition with the re-skinned helmet).

Nintendo doesn't want to invest that kind of effort without promise of a hit, they know they can pop out a Metroid, a Zelda, or some other classic and get the gamers to shell out for the system for the one-time play, but they're going to put their efforts into family and party games, games that are simple to develop, have quick pick-up and play mechanics, and encourage purchasing peripherals, and flood the market, and they're going to make obscene profits, just like they did with the Wii.

You and I might bash the Wii for having inferior graphics and game selection, but they're going to the bank as your Mother and your Sister buy the console to play bejeweled.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By phantom505 on 6/7/2011 5:39:24 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know, the clip of people using the new controller mounted on top of a Wii gun and being able to look around through the sites to find targets was pretty impressive. Might even require a bit more skill than button mashing and/or camping.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By karielash on 6/7/2011 6:53:09 PM , Rating: 2

Yeah they stopped caring about us and decided to come up with a business model that generates income.... funny old world huh!!!

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By inighthawki on 6/7/2011 6:59:05 PM , Rating: 2
You know, the specs haven't been released, and the one thing that is known (the CPU) is actually looking like a good piece of equipment. Perhaps you should wait till you actually see what nit can do before flailing arms and crying "the graphics suck"

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By Iaiken on 6/7/2011 7:09:30 PM , Rating: 2
You have to come out with better graphics than that if you want my money.

Did you even watch the Zelda demo that was done in real time in 1080p? The guys at DICE have already stated it can run the Frostbite 2 engine to their satisfaction so it's got some chew to it.

Next time pay attention to what's actually going on so you don't wind up sounding like a complete jackhole.

Lastly, if you think graphics are all that matter, You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity.

RE: Looks like Wii enhance
By cokbun on 6/8/2011 12:34:04 AM , Rating: 2
not everyone wants better graphics, the games are looking great as it is now, some people prefer gameplay,experience,more fun. theres not much variety in games now, theres too much FPSes and RPGs nowadays, and im getting bored no matter how good they look, or cool gimmicks they have.

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