Wii U

Wii U
Wii U
Wii U
Wii U prototype E3 2011.pngWii U controller illustration.svg
The Wii U console and controller prototypes were first shown at E3 2011. The main feature of the controller is its built-in touchscreen, which either supplements or replicates the gameplay displayed at the television screen.
Developer Nintendo
Generation Eighth generation
Release date After March 2012 [1]
Media 12 cm proprietary high-density optical disc[2]
12 cm Wii optical disc
CPU Custom IBM Power Architecture[3]
Storage capacity Internal flash memory
SD card, SDHC Card
USB storage device
Display [4]
Graphics Custom AMD Radeon HD[5][6]
Sound [4]
Controller input Wii U controller, Wii Remote (and Wii MotionPlus / Wii Remote Plus), Classic Controller (Pro), Wii Balance Board
Connectivity 4 × USB 2.0[7]
Backward
compatibility
Wii
Predecessor Wii

The Wii U (pronounced /ˈwiː ju/) is an upcoming home video game console by Nintendo, and is the direct successor to the Wii.[8] The system is expected to be released in 2012 and was unveiled during Nintendo's press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011 on June 7, 2011. The console has been described as belonging to a new eighth generation.[9][10][11][12]

The Wii U is Nintendo's sixth home console and the first Nintendo console to produce 1080p high-definition graphics, and features a new controller with an embedded touchscreen. The controller allows a player to continue a gaming session by displaying the game even when the television is off. The system will be fully backwards compatible with Wii, and Wii U games can support compatibility with Wii peripherals, such as the Wii Remote, Wii MotionPlus, and Wii Balance Board. However, it will not be backward compatible with Nintendo GameCube media or peripherals.[13]

Contents

History

The console was first conceived in 2008,[14] after Nintendo recognized several limitations and challenges with the Wii, such as the general public perception that the system catered primarily for a "casual" audience.[15] With Wii U, Nintendo explicitly wishes to lure "core" gamers back.[16] Game designer Shigeru Miyamoto admitted that the lack of HD and limited network infrastructure for the Wii also contributed to the system being regarded in a separate class to its competitors' systems, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.[17] It was decided that a new console would have to be made to accommodate significant structural changes.

Internally within the company, there was much debate over the idea for the new console, and the project was scrapped and restarted several times.[18] The concept of a touchscreen embedded within the controller was originally inspired by the blue light on the Wii that illuminates to indicate new messages.[19] Miyamoto and his team wanted to include a small screen to provide game feedback and status messages to players (in similar vein to the VMU for Sega's Dreamcast). Much later in development, this was expanded to a full screen that could display the game being played in its entirety; a concept which was suggested but not financially viable earlier in the project.[14]

Pre-announcement

Initial beliefs about the Wii's successor were that the new console would be an "enhanced version" named the "Wii HD". Many journalists claimed that it would have a high-definition video output along with a Blu-ray Disc drive built in with a release sometime in 2011.[20][21] However, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata later stated that he saw "no significant reason" to include HD into the Wii and that such an addition would be better suited for a successor.[22] Shigeru Miyamoto also expressed Nintendo's interest in working with HD graphics but clarified that the company is primarily focused on the gameplay experience.[23] In October 2009, Miyamoto said that they had no concrete plans about a successor yet, but knew that the successor would possibly still feature motion controls and they expected its interface to be "more compact" and cheaper.[24] Iwata also mentioned that the Wii's successor might be 3D-compatible but concluded that the adoption rates of 3D televisions should increase to at least 30% first.[25]

In 2010, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime commented that he felt "confident the Wii home entertainment console has a very long life in front of it" and declared that a successor would not be launched in the near future.[26] At the E3 2010 presentation, Iwata revealed to the BBC that they would begin announcing a new console once Nintendo ran "out of ideas with the current hardware and cannot give users any more meaningful surprises with the technology [they had]".[27] Later, at an investors meeting, he disclosed that they were "of course studying and developing the next console to Wii", but they were simultaneously keeping its concepts secret because it was "really important for [his] business to positively surprise people."[28] Reggie Fils-Aime commented in a CNN article and claimed that Nintendo's next home console would not likely feature stereoscopic 3D, based on the 3D technology Nintendo had experimented with.[29]

In April 2011, an uncredited source indicated that Nintendo was planning on unveiling the successor to the Wii during E3 2011, codenamed Project Café,[8] that would be capable of gameplay in HD resolutions[30][31] and will be backward compatible with Wii software.[32] It was also rumored that the console would feature an all new controller with a built in high-resolution screen.[33] The origin of the rumor for the codename (and many other details) was French technology publication 01net.[34] 01net had previously revealed the technical specifications of Sony's PlayStation Vita before it was announced.[35] Claims have been made that the new machine is significantly more powerful than the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[32][36]

Many claims focused on the new controller, which would feature dual analog sticks, a standard D-pad, two bumpers, two triggers and "possibly more".[33][37] IGN compared the functionality of the new controller to a Nintendo GameCube controller.[8] 01net claimed the controller would be "a touch tablet controller, with moderate graphic output," comparing the controller to an iPad with buttons. They also added that there would be a front-facing camera on the controller.[38] Supposedly, the controller would also feature six-axis motion controls that outperform a PlayStation Move motion controller (in terms of fidelity),[39] as well as a built-in sensor bar.[38] The new controller features a 6.2-inch touchscreen.[40] 01net took the rumor a step further and claimed that the touchscreen would be single-touch.[38] Sources from CVG claimed that the controller featured a high-resolution screen.[33] IGN claimed that the controller would allow players to stream entire games to the controller from the console,[8] and that the console itself "is likely to resemble a modernized version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)."[41]

According to Edge, THQ president Brian Farrell allegedly told investors: "We don't expect new hardware any time soon from either Microsoft or Sony. It's different on Nintendo – we'll let them announce their new hardware".[39]

On May 4, Kotaku reported that Project Café would have 8 GB of flash-based memory on-board, with the assumed purpose of storing game saves. The game discs used by the console were said to be of a proprietary format, and to hold up to 25 GB of data, which is similar to the capacity of a single-layer Blu-ray Discs.[42] In early June, Nikkei issued a report confirming earlier rumors that the new console will feature a controller with a six inch touchscreen that will give tablet-like controls to games, as well as a rechargeable battery and a camera. Nikkei says the system will be released in mid-2012.[43]

Announcement and E3 2011 unveiling

The Wii U shown at E3 2011, demonstrating the various options of the controller.

On April 25, 2011, Nintendo released a statement officially announcing a system to succeed the Wii. They simultaneously announced that it would be released during 2012, and that playable console units would be present at E3 2011 (June 7–9).[44] Speaking at an investor's conference, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata stated the Wii successor "will offer something new for home game systems."[45] Iwata also confirmed that the successor to Wii will not launch in the fiscal year of 2012, meaning that it will release after April 2012.[46]

A prototype version of Wii U was showcased at the E3 2011. The design of the console and controller were not definitive versions.[47] The controller demonstrated features a touch screen over 6 inches wide and contains a built-in microphone, speakers, gyroscope, accelerometer, rumble and camera.[48] Although it may look like a tablet, all processing is done on the console itself and the screen only supports single touch, not multitouch, going against a popular trend across the technology industry.[48] Games that were confirmed are LEGO City Stories,[49] a new Super Smash Bros. game,[50] and a new Pikmin title.[51] A list of third party titles was announced to be available at release, and were on show with video clips taken from PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions.[52][53]

Shares of Nintendo fell almost 10 percent in the two days following unveiling of Wii U to levels not seen since 2006.[54] Some analysts did not understand Nintendo's strategy, expressing the concern that the controller would be too expensive and not as innovative as the original Wii Remote.[55]

On July 5, 2011, when asked about whether or not the Wii U was going to support 3D, Iwata told Mercury News, "If you are going to connect Wii U with a home TV capable of displaying 3-D images, technologically, yes, it is going to be possible, but that's not the area we are focusing on".[56]

On October 27, 2011 Iwata stated during an investors meeting that the Wii U will be released after March 2012, and its final specification and form will be revealed at E3 2012.[57]

Controller

The main feature of the controller is its built-in touchscreen, which either supplements or replicates the gameplay displayed at the television screen. The controller shares some characteristics of the Nintendo 3DS such as an accelerometer, gyroscope, camera, as well as a built-in microphone and resistive touchscreen.

Hardware

Technical specifications

Nintendo released technical specifications of the Wii U hardware, noting that aspects are subject to change.[58]

Processors:

Storage:

  • Internal flash memory, expandable via SD memory cards and USB hard disk drives[60]
  • Slot-loading optical disc drive compatible with 12 cm "proprietary high-density optical discs" (25 GB capacity)[61][62] and 12 cm Wii optical discs

Ports and peripheral capabilities:

  • SD memory card slot (supports SDHC cards)
  • USB 2.0 ports (2 at front of console, 2 at rear)
  • Sensor Bar power port
  • "AV Multi Out" port
  • HDMI 1.4 out port[56]

Controller:

  • Built-in 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope
  • Speakers and Microphone
  • Front-facing camera
  • IR Sensor strip
  • 6.2 inch (15.7 cm) 854×480 FWVGA 16:9 resistive touchscreen
  • Two Circle Pads and one D-pad
  • Stylus
  • Select, Start, Home and Power buttons
  • A/B/X/Y face buttons, L/R bumper buttons and ZL/ZR trigger buttons
  • Controller sync button
  • Bluetooth

Note: The Wii U is also compatible with the Wii Remote, Wii Nunchuck, Wii Classic Controller, and the Wii Balance Board.[63]

Video:

Audio

  • "AV Multi Out" port. Six-channel PCM linear output through HDMI

Software

Nintendo had pointed out that they are ensuring greater support for third-party games on the Wii U; during E3 2011 a handful of third-party titles were confirmed to be in development for the Wii U. Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed that Pikmin 3, which was initially being developed on Wii, will be released on Wii U.[51] Satoru Iwata also mentioned the next Super Smash Bros. title; the game has not started development yet, and will not until the completion of Kid Icarus: Uprising.

See also

References

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  2. ^ Rob Crossley (8 June 2011). "Nintendo Wii U disc capacity at 25GB". Develop. http://www.develop-online.net/news/37932/Nintendo-Wii-U-disc-capacity-at-25GB. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
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External links

Media related to Wii U at Wikimedia Commons


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