Earlier this morning, Nintendo held a press conference in New York to finally release long awaited launch information on their newest home console: the Wii U. The Wii U will be on par to the PlayStation 3 and XB0x360 spec wise, making it the first Nintendo console to support full high definition. In additional to its expansion into high definition, the Wii U plans on living up to Nintendo’s legacy by offering innovating gameplay via the Wii U GamePad. The GamePad features a 6.2 inch built-in touch screen that doubles both as a gameplay mechaic and a separate screen for multiplayer/co-op games. The screen also supports gameplay streaming that will allow players to view the game on their GamePad screens as another member of the household uses the television.
Let it be noted that all your current Wii accessories and games will be backwards compatible; Nintendo has also expressed a high interest in cross-compatibility with the Wii U and 3DS.
The system will hit Stateside on November 18th in two bundles. The first is a white system including 8GB SSD for $299.99. The second is a black system including 32GB SSD, system stand, gamepad charger, and a copy of Nintendo Land for $349.99. (Both bundles will include the GamePad and a HDMI cable, but only the Deluxe bundle will come with a free game and charger.)
Continue reading for full details.
The Wii U System
The system hardware is not as extravagant looking as its included GamePad but that does not mean it is any less important. As previously mentioned, the Wii U is the first Nintendo console to be viewed in high definition and will support HDMI output.
- IBM Power-based multicore processor
- AMD Radeon-based High Definition GPU
- Internal flash memory with option to expand via SSD/USB hard drives
- Built-in Wifi with optional Ethernet support via USB dongle
- Video: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p.
- Audio: Six-channel PCM linear
- 4 USB ports, 1 SD card slot, HDMI port, composite/standard port, and sensor port
The Wii U will be backwards compatible with Wii accessories and software. However, the support of GameCube games is no longer available. Nintendo has stated that select GameCube games will be downloadable on their Virtual Shop.
Though the Wii U is not just a gaming system. Nintendo explores multimedia options with their entertainment application: TVii. TVii is a “double-screen entertainment experience” – as Nintendo puts it – that combines social networking to a person’s personal entertainment choices. From the GamePad, users can share what they are watching, their favorites, and their video listings on Twitter and other networks. Reviews, IMDb listings, and trailers can be viewed on the GamePad without having to back out of the application itself on the TV. At the moment, TVii includes Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon video streaming but TiVo DVR recording is also available. (However, no DVD or Blu-ray support is included.)
Miiverse also expands the social aspect of the Wii U. With Miiverse, users can interact with one another but in a Nintendo-only exclusive club. Users can share accomplishments, posts statuses, and send messages to other Wii U and 3DS owners. (Yes, Miiverse is supported on the 3DS, too!) Along side basic networking, online hints can be tabbed to games to help players out when they get stuck.
Releasing on November 18th, two bundles will be available. Both bundles will come will all the necessities: sensor bar, GamePad stylus, GamePad AC adapter, HDMI cable, and power adapter. The Basic Set will feature a white console with 8gigs of internal memory and will retail for $299.99. The Deluxe Set will feature a black console with 32gigs of internal memory but come with additional accessories (console stand, GamePad stand, and GamePad charging cradle) as well as a copy of the Nintendo Land video game for $349.99.
What sets the Wii U apart from any thing else is its GamePad controller. This 10.5″ tablet-styled controller features a 6.2″ touchscreen – while looks heavy – show floor users state that it is fairly lightweight weighing in at about a pound. Two analog sticks set on either side of the screen and full button layout. The classic Home button still sets in the center to allow easy return to the home menu.
The touch screen is not only there for navigational purposes but doubles a gameplay mechanic for most Wii U games. It can be used for touch-based gameplay or will house maps and menu screens. For multiplayer games, the screen allows each player to focus on their specific character while the TV focuses on the overall game. On top of that, Nintendo highlight the Wii U’s stream feature that allows users to continue to play their games even as another person uses the television.
Much like Nintendo’s handhelds, the GamePad has a built-in camera and microphone. Though you will notice a small rectangular box located on the bottom left corner above the Wii U logo. This is the new Near Field Communication strip that will expands the interactive aspects of the Wii U. As seen at E3, the strip will be used for the upcoming Skylanders: Giants as the device that reads the memory chips.
While pretty on the outside, its inner beauty is just as appealing. Motion control support will come from the GamePad’s accelerometer, gyro sensor, and magnetic sensor. Nintendo has confirmed that will rumble and support the use of a stylus or react to fingers. The battery is rechargeable as both include an AC adapter to charge it, although the Deluxe bundle will feature a charging cradle.
Other than the GamePad, the Wii U will support up to four Wii Remotes (with or without Motion Plus), Wii Nunchucks, Wii Classic controllers, or Wii U Pro controllers and Wii GamePads. Currently, we speculate that you can do a combination between one or the other generation of accessories – meaning you can have one person use a Wii Remote and another using a Classic controller or one person using a Wii U Pro and the other using a GamePad. There has not yet been full confirmation on whether or not you can classic Wii accessories and Wii U or not. (Be sure to check back with us in the future.)
At the moment, Nintendo has confirmed that additional GamePads will be available sometime after launch. Though they have not given information regarding its price or date of availability but rest assure that you will get one with your system purchase. Japanese prices have been shown to be roughly $170USD but we are hoping to see a cheaper price once Nintendo officially announces more details on sold-separately GamePads. The Wii U Pro controller will retail for $49.99.
Nearly fifty titles have been announced for the launch window (November 18 to March 2013) of the Wii U at $59.99 each. Nintendo has not yet confirmed the full launch line up for games that will be released alongside the system. We suspect that New Super Maro Bros. Wii U will be among the launch titles, but nothing has been stated yet.
Nonetheless, here is a full list to get yourself excited. Links are included for trailers.
NBA 2K13 (2K Sports)
Jeft Tailfin (Maximum Games)
Madden NFL 13 (EA)
EA Sports FIFA Soccer 13 (EA)
Mass Effect 3 (EA)
Toki Tori 2 (two tribes)
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Capcom)
Just Dance 4 (Ubisoft)
Avengers: Battle for Earth (Ubisoft)
Rabbids Land (Ubisoft)
Assassin’s Creed 3 (Ubisoft)
Rayman Legends (Ubisoft)
Sports Connection (Ubisoft)
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 (Ubisoft)
Nano Assault Neo (Shin’En)
Aliens: Colonial Marines (Sega)
Sonic & Sega All-Stars: Racing Transformed (Sega)
Trine 2: Director’s Cut (Frozenbyte)
Tank! Tank! Tank! (Namco)
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Namco)
Wheel of Fortune (THQ)
Darksiders 2 (THQ)
Funky Barn (505 Games)
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (Activision)
007 Legends (Activision)
Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013 (Activision)
Wipeout 3 (Activision)
Skylanders Giants (Activision)
Rapala Pro Bass Fishing (Activision)
Transformers Prime (Activision)
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (Disney Interactive)
Scribblenauts Unlimited (WB Games)
Game Party Champions (WB Games)
Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition (WB Games)
Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (Gaijin Games)
Ben 10: Omniverse (D3 Publisher)
Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game (D3 Publisher)
Family Party: 30 Great games Obstacle Arcade (D3 Publisher)
Zumba Fitness (Majesco)
New Super Mario Bros. Wii U (Nintendo)
Game & Wario (Nintendo)
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge (Nintendo)
Sing Party (Nintendo)
Nintendo Land (Nintendo)
Wii Fit U (Nintendo)
The Wonderful 101 (Nintendo)
Pikmin 3 (Nintendo)
Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper (Tecmo Koei)
Lego City (Nintendo)
Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games)