Meet the Nintendo Wii U console, coming 2012

Summary:More details and photos on the newly announced Nintendo Wii U console. But will it be able to follow in the foot steps of the Wii, which sold more than 86 million units worldwide and expanded the gaming market?

Meet the Nintendo Wii U, the much anticipated successor to the popular Nintendo Wii. But will it be able to follow in the foot steps of the Wii, which sold more than 86 million units worldwide and expanded the gaming market?

The new console's name, Wii U, combines the contradictions built into this iteration: it is both a console for everyone and just for you, according to Reggie Fils-Aime, CEO of Nintendo of America. One of the main criticism of the Wii is that its games only appeal to casual gamers, so the mission this time around is to go "deeper and wider" -- offer deeper, more immersive experiences and appeal to an even broader user base (read: hardcore gamers). Of course, the new interactive experiences couldn't exist without the hardware to support them, which brings us to the new Wii U.

The new Wii U will support HD graphics in 1080p, run on IBM's Power-based multi-core processor and embedded DRAM, feature an AV Multi Out connector and can hook up to your television via HDMI or S-video cables. According to the press release, the system is also backward compatible and can play all Wii games and use all Wii accessories. Because the console itself wasn't demoed on stage at E3, details on the actual box are limited to the specs below:

  • Size: Approximately 1.8 inches tall, 6.8 inches wide and 10.5 inches long.
  • Other Controls: Up to four Wii Remote™ (or Wii Remote Plus) controllers can be connected at once. The new console supports all Wii™ controllers and input devices, including the Nunchuk™ controller, Classic ControllerTM, Classic Controller ProTM and Wii Balance Board™.
  • Media: A single self-loading media bay will play 12-centimeter proprietary high-density optical discs for the new console, as well as 12-centimeter Wii optical discs.
  • Video Output: Supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Compatible cables include HDMI, component, S-video and composite.
  • Audio Output: Uses AV Multi Out connector. Six-channel PCM linear output through HDMI.
  • Storage: The console will have internal flash memory, as well as the option to expand its memory using either an SD memory card or an external USB hard disk drive.
  • CPU: IBM Power®-based multi-core microprocessor.
  • Other: Four USB 2.0 connector slots are included. The new console is backward compatible with Wii games and Wii accessories.

According to Nintendo's legendary game designer and Senior Managing Director Shigeru Miyamoto, he envisions the Wii U "to become a more fulfilling device" in living rooms." That is why the controller can continue games to free up the television for other entertainment needs, and handle video chats on the same device. (More details and photos of the Wii U controller are available here.)

Don't be looking for this console in stores this holiday season as it won't launch until some time in 2012.

[Source: IwataAsks, Nintendo Network at E3, IBM's press release via NintendoWorldReport]

Related ZDNet Coverage:

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  • Image Gallery: Hands-on with Wii U at E3 2011
  • Topics: IBM

    About

    Gloria Sin is a New York-based freelance journalist who writes about the tech toys that you can't live without for ZDNet. She has little patience for poorly designed user experiences, and is not afraid of opening the guts of her own machines for repair or hacking her gadgets for new uses.She has written for FastCompany.com, Popular Scienc... Full Bio

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