Nintendo Wii U: An in-depth look at Nintendo's powerhouse next-gen console

Nintendo Wii U: An in-depth look at Nintendo's powerhouse next-gen console

Summary: Nintendo just stunned the world with the announcement of a new console, the Wii U. If you or your kids are into gaming, don't miss this! It promises to be an amazing product.

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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On Tuesday, June 07 at the E3 Expo 2011, the entire gaming world waited with bated breath for Nintendo to sort out the rumor mill and confirm what we all hoped to hear. Formerly codenamed "Project Café," Nintendo announced their next-generation home console, the Wii U. Before I begin, head on over to the image gallery linked below to see the Wii U in all its glory -- including images of a new Mario game, Super Mario Brothers Mii!

Image Gallery: Nintendo Wii U

Nintendo Wii U Gallery

Click above to view the gallery (27 images total)

As you can see from the images, Nintendo has stepped things up considerably with the Wii U controller. Seeing the controller is just the start, though. Check out the specs as noted on Nintendo's site:
The new controller incorporates a 6.2-inch, 16:9 touch screen and traditional button controls, including two analog Circle Pads. This combination removes the traditional barriers between games, players and the TV by creating a second window into the video game world. The rechargeable controller includes a Power button, Home button, +Control Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons. It includes a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble feature, camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, a sensor strip and a stylus.
Additionally, make sure you check out my colleague Gloria Sin's in-depth write-up on Nintendo's new controller. During their E3 presentation, Nintendo showed a wide array of scenarios the new controller can be used for. Perhaps my favorite is the ability to transfer what you're playing from the TV to the screen on the controller! Kids, that means the next time mom and dad want to ruin your fun by stealing the TV from you, you can simply move all the fun to the screen you hold in your hands! This functionality is only the start, though. Various in-game views can be achieved and publisher EA noted exciting possibilities like moving the play selection screen in Madden off the big screen and onto the privacy of your controller. If you play Madden with friends, you know how awesome this would be. Check out the video below for much more on Nintendo's vision for the new controller:

 

 

Nintendo's primary focus with this console was not just to bring something revolutionary to the table, but to bring a heavy-hitter to the table that would unify both camps of gamers: casual and core. Most analysts saw this as a necessity for the health of the company who has seen a steady decline in sales figures over the past few years. Finally, a Nintendo console will hit the market that is strong enough for games like Ninja Gaiden 3, Assassin's Creed, and more (as showcased in a demo). My roommate, who is a hardcore gamer, made a rather interesting comment after seeing those games run on the Wii U: "Next year, I can just buy Nintendo's console and not have to worry about buying 360 or PS3 games ever again." Naturally, he's not 100% serious, but he's completely willing to go all-in with Nintendo's new offering and I'm curious to see how many other hardcore gamers out there share his sentiments. Nintendo also showcased a rather impressive demo to prove the graphics capabilities of the Wii U. While I thought it looked quite impressive, I'm not sure if it showed off the console to the extent that it proved stronger than the PS3 or Xbox 360, as was rumored prior Nintendo's confirmation of the Wii U. Have a look at the video below and judge for yourself (make sure you watch it in HD to really get the full effect):

 

 

Again, that looks quite nice, but I'm personally waiting on someone like Crytek to come along and really blow us away by showcasing a demo of CryEngine 4 (if it's out by then) maxing out the Wii U's specs sometime next year! If you missed it, check out their old demo of CryEngine 3 running on Xbox 360 and PS3 from 2009. Anyway, I'm personally very excited about the marriage of casual and core gamers on the Wii U. I've been a fan of Nintendo's since the NES days, so they've always held a special place in gaming with me. If they can get game developers on board to develop unique experiences utilizing the Wii U's controller, then Nintendo may well stand a chance to pick up steam again and reclaim the coveted gaming throne they held for years. Unfortunately, Nintendo has yet to release any details on pricing or exact availability (sometime in 2012), but I'm guessing we'll probably see the Wii U hit the market with a $349.99 - $399.99 price tag or somewhere thereabouts. As for the new controller, I can see those being marketed for between $79.99 - $99.99, easy. If you will notice in some of the screen shots in the gallery up top, Nintendo shows the Wii U being controlled with regular old Wii controllers. This means the new controller won't be a necessity for all games, thus leaving room for the new controller to be a luxury (though one will obviously come with the purchase of a Wii U). I could be way off-base with my speculation, though, so don't quote me on all of that. Yes, "Wii U" sounds only slightly more ridiculous than "Wii," but still not quite as bad as "iPad," in my humble opinion. ;) Silly names aside, check out the videos below to get a more well-rounded feel for the Wii U. To start, here is a technical demo using a faux level of Zelda to showcase some of the effects of the Wii U. Unfortunately, we don't get to see this as beautifully as we would if we were there in-person, but this will do for now:

 

 

Next up, here's a look at the third party studio games currently in the works for the Wii U:

 

 

And now, here is an extended look into game-play on the Wii U, courtesy of Nintendo:

 

 

Lastly, here's a bit of humor for you (I thought it was funny, at least)! Here is the first Wii U commercial:

 

 

Gotta love clips from the movie Kung Pow. Anyway, if you're interested in seeing even more of the Wii U, I recommend heading on over to YouTube and just going to town. Additionally, you can always head over to Nintendo's official Wii U site or the Wii U Wikipedia page; they're both quite informative. All-in-all, Nintendo appears to have stepped it up considerably and it may just be to the benefit of the future of the company. Nintendo has once again given the industry a breath of fresh air and a reason to step up its game. Hopefully, the experiences we will see birthed with the Wii U will leave a permanent impression on gaming that lasts for years to come. Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave your comments and let everyone know what you think of the Wii U! Personally, I'm super-excited for it and absolutely cannot wait to get a hold of one! -Stephen Chapman SEO Whistleblower Related Stories:

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: An in-depth look at Nintendo's powerhouse next-gen console

    For me, the most important feature is that WiiU it is backwards compatible with the Wii. I hope that this puts pressure on Sony to have the PS4 backwards compatible with the PS3.
    Wakemewhentrollsgone
    • PS4 with backwards compatibility = yes plesae

      @ptorning Yup. I agree but I'm afraid they're gonna start milking GameCube titles on the VC now since it's not compatible..

      Bah.. Now to sell my Wii before gamestop lowers its trade value to 20$ like they do every time a new console is announced.. Then place a pre order even though I don't really want this -_-

      Damn you Nintendo for tapping into my inner child!

      Also anyone know if there's anywhere that you can pre order from? Amazon doesn't have it up yet and the only site I saw that has some sort of recognition for pre orders is www.preorder-wiiu.com.. but even there you still can't pre order.
      Dave877
    • RE: Nintendo Wii U: An in-depth look at Nintendo's powerhouse next-gen console

      @ptorning

      I think the Wii U is also compatible with Gamecube games if I am not mistaken. I hope they keep the virtual console and make it so you can transfer/redownload your purchases.

      From the demos I am quite impressed even though the demo graphics looked sub par except for the graphic demo itself. The mini games and Mario Mii are a bit cartoony but that is OK because they are meant to be that way.

      I hope they release a Zelda game like the one the demoed with that Console. I will give my Wii to my wife's younger cousin so I can get this.

      And just like Dave877 said damn you Nintendo for tapping into my inner child!!
      bobiroc
    • On top of the backward compatibility...

      @ptorning - what would be pretty epic is if it played Wii and GameCube games at full 1080p; the Dolphin emulator already does this, and the majority of games for these systems look so much better in HD (there's lots of videos of this on YouTube). Also, Nintendo should release a bluetooth version of the Wavebird controller for GameCube and N64 emulation modes.

      Still, the big reason for the HD graphics on previous generation games will have to be games like House of the Dead:Overkill, No More Heroes (1 and 2), Super Smash Bros Brawl and Melee, Zelda - Twilight Princess, and the Super Mario Galaxy games.
      nix_hed
  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: An in-depth look at Nintendo's powerhouse next-gen console

    I just want the console for HD graphics and hopefully better processing power, but I'm hoping the controllers are sold separate so I can skip them... I'm sure the fancy controller will up the price..
    Hasam1991
    • RE: Nintendo Wii U: An in-depth look at Nintendo's powerhouse next-gen console

      @Hasam1991 You realize that's kind of silly right? Going "I'll skip the motion controller, the Gamecube one works just fine" for the Wii would have been just as silly.
      Aerowind
  • Forced User experince

    As an owner of the Wii I have always felt that I am cheated compared to the same game experience as the next gen system. And I am not talking about game graphics and performance, but in how the Wii controller has been integrated into the game experience. In reality the controller has now become gimmicky and I feel the users suffers form a forced user experience when the developer has to integrate the motion controller into the game play. My gut feeling is that this will be the same way with the Wii U tablet controller.

    Follow my Mobile UX blog at http://www.marlinmobile.com/blog
    MarlinUX
    • Agreed.

      @MarlinUX Sadly, I agree. Nintendo rules the handheld market, but their console gets flooded with gimmicky money-grab games (Carnival Games, anyone?) and they don't QA anything to help encourage triple-a titles from being released on their console.

      Look at the PS3, 360, or even the DS consoles and you'll see that there are far more AAA titles than on the Wii, which is unfortunate. Hopefully they can turn it around and make this system a worthwhile experience.
      TSH4Life@...
  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: An in-depth look at Nintendo's powerhouse next-gen console

    Nintendo of America head Reggie Fils-Aime confirmed in an interview with GameTrailers that the footage was actually of existing PlayStation and Xbox titles.
    mcfaul@...
  • No real joystick

    The fact that there is no real joystick, just the little circles, will keep hard core gamers away. That was the big knock on the PSP, which Sony just fixed by putting real joysticks on the new PSP (forgot the name). Hopefully there will be good 3rd party controllers for the hard core gamers.
    asterix2113
    • RE: Nintendo Wii U: An in-depth look at Nintendo's powerhouse next-gen console

      @asterix2113<br>As someone who has both a PSP and the 3DS, I thought that the 3DS analog disc was better implemented that the PSP one. It's larger and has a concave design instead of the PSP's convex which makes it easier to keep the thumb in the disc. It takes a little bit to get used to because the analog stick tilts as oppose to the disc's sliding radius, but once you get used to it works fairly well. Looking at the pictures, the Wii U controller has similar analog discs to the 3DS. <br><br>I'm definitely one hard-core gamer who is getting the WiiU. The Wii suffered from developer laziness. Developers underestimated the demand for the Wii and were only reactionarily developing for it. Most of the shovelware controls were horrid because developers didn't think of ways to integrate the new control scheme to gameplay. When done right as with games like No More Heroes, it was amazing.
      Those who hunt Trolls
  • It just looks dumb

    Am I really the only one who watches the demo videos and thinks they look retarded? The graphics are far better of course but I fail to see how the new controller adds anything special to gameplay as the original Wii controller did and as the Kinect did for XBox. I don't think the controller is anything but a gimmick. Bused upon what I've seen, me and my wife will stick with XBox and buy the XBox 720 when it comes out. Come on Nintendo, did you expend all your creative juices on the original Wii? I'm very unimpressed.
    laughfactory
  • Never been more than a casual fan of Nintendo...

    I've always gravitated toward the more mature systems, even as a small child. Although I think the controller seems kinda cool, I can see augmenting both the future PS and Xbox with a phone/tablet that will provide much of the same features as the touchscreen on the controller. I wouldn't want to hold one of those giant controllers while playing games for several hours.
    kstap
  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: An in-depth look at Nintendo's powerhouse next-gen console

    The second screen for selecting plays etc. is nothing new, just something that was forgotten for a while. Sega's Dreamcast offered this with its VMU memory card which had a b&w screen that showed through on the controller. Of course this is a nicer screen, but it is a concept that shouldn't have been forgotten. I'd like to see it used in ways such as a magnifying glass to hold in front of the main screen to more closely examine things, or as a sniper scope. Maybe we could finally have a legitimate home version of the arcade game Silent Scope, which featured a second screen in its sniper rifle controller. The home versions just couldn't capture that and it became a standard light gun shooter with awkward zoom controls.
    Hastor
    • RE: Nintendo Wii U: An in-depth look at Nintendo's powerhouse next-gen console

      @Hastor
      How about like that sub game on 3DS, where they use the accelerometer with the screen on the controller to simulate a periscope or even a couple of players have their own screen to have their own view points as a tank crew. Even in an Metal Gear or Splinter Cell game, the agent can have the hacking screen on the controller and keep his eyes out for enemies

      The touchscreen along with the stylus is almost more accurate along the lines of a mouse compared to the analog sticks. RTS's and FPS's would be better controlled now on a console because of that screen. Honestly, there are so many things you can do with it. You just need the people with ideas to implement them.
      Those who hunt Trolls
  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: An in-depth look at Nintendo's powerhouse next-gen console

    I'm impressed with what I see, but I think the new Controller is a bit left field, and will hamfist the console with an additional cost it could do without - esp. if you need 2 of them.

    Much depends on what Microsoft do XBox with ans Sony PS4 wise, and entry level costs. The initial cost premium of the Blu-ray did Sony no favours in the first 2 years, until they dropped the PS2 compatability and did a cheaper entry level console.

    Wii U Tickbox

    - Media, Yes
    - USB Storage, Yes
    - Streaming, yes
    - 1080p HD on HDMI, Yes
    - Kick-ass power, Yes
    - Funky New controller, Undetermined

    Guessing the WiiU Controller will need a skin, as bugger me, they will get dropped all the time.
    neil.postlethwaite
  • No specs or mention of a black model

    No mention of actual specs or whether it will come in black. It took Nintendo years to release a black one. I hope they don't the same thing with this one. IMHO, the delay in releasing a "black" model was to churn additional sales from those, like me, who traded in the "white" model for the black model for $99.00 at Game Stop. I felt hustled that I wasn't able to buy a black model in the first place. If they use the same strategy again, I won't be buying it this time.
    AlChirico
  • Grammar

    Stephen,
    It's "abated" breath. Not "bated" or "baited". Thank you for not aggravating one of my pet peeves in the future.
    ddunn68
    • Actually...

      @ddunn68@... To become more rich with one's understanding of a particular facet of grammar, one might consider the following process:

      1 - Visit dictionary.com
      2 - Search for the word in question.
      3 - Visit Google if still in doubt.
      4 - Profit.

      I absolutely understand the fact that many of us have pet peeves with grammar. As such, I often follow the outlined process above. Quite simply, we all get it wrong sometimes. For instance, my girlfriend recently discovered she had been spelling "marshmallow" wrong her entire life.

      And with that, I now bequeath unto you the very notion that every single time you have ever used the word "abated," you have been using the wrong word. Indeed, it is "bated."

      That is all. Good day, sir. :)

      -Stephen
      StephenChapman
  • RE: Nintendo Wii U: An in-depth look at Nintendo's powerhouse next-gen console

    2 Questions:

    Will it play DVDs? Will it play Blu-Ray disks? From what I have read, it won't. I see this as a negative, as the traditional Wii market is an older crowd who might be looking to hang less things off their TV (or young kids who haven't yet mastered streaming)...
    tonymus