Nintendo shows us its vision for the future - Wii U. Is it another revolution?
Nintendo found lightning in a bottle with the Wii, and with the Wii U--the company’s upcoming console--it might have found the bottling plant. The Wii U builds on the barriers broken by the Wii and takes advantage of a touch-screen-equipped controller that offers you a new way to interact with games paired with a console capable of HD visuals.
To save you the effort and grief of reading through the whole article, we'll just state up front that Nintendo did not disclose many pertinent details of its next system at E3 2011. There's no official price point. And there's no specific release date. It might come out somewhere between April Fools' Day and New Year's Eve in 2012. The rumors were also correct about the Wii U. It's most definitely going to be running in high definition, and the controller is every bit as outlandish as we were led to believe. Probably more so.
The actual hardware behind the Wii U is still under wraps. Nintendo offered no specifics as to the internals behind its upcoming console outside of saying that it has a multi-core IBM Power processor and an AMD GPU, but its size and capabilities give us much to speculate about. The Wii U appears to be no larger than the Wii itself, but it's much more capable, outputting 1080p visuals over HDMI. The console has internal flash memory for storage that is expandable via USB and SD memory cards. Games will come on proprietary high-density optical disks similar in size to a DVD. Like the Wii, the Wii U will be able to download and play games. It's also backward compatible with Wii software and devices (specifically the Wii Remote and Nunchuk--a key point we will get to). Nintendo made no mention of backward compatibility with GameCube games.
As with the Wii, the controller is the heart of the Wii U. And it's large--think somewhat smaller than an iPad and considerably bigger than the original Sony PSP. The reps on hand noted that the controller was designed to offer a new way for players to interact with the console, games, and other players. They understood that, much like the first time we saw the Wii Remote, the only way to really understand was to show us.
On the face of the controller you'll find a 6.2-inch touch screen (Nintendo declined to say whether it was multitouch capable). A stylus slides out of the controller for use on the touch screen (which makes us think it's based on resistive touch technology). During the E3 2011 press conference, Nintendo showed the stylus being used for fairly complex sketching, which shows us how detailed the touch screen will be. The matte screen has great viewing angles and offers vivid colors and brightness, making it ideal for use by two people at the same time at very off angles. The pixel density seems to be high enough to put it on par with modern smartphones. Nintendo stated that it's not high definition, but the resolution appears to be substantially higher than the 3DS screen. We're guessing the screen is under 1280x720 and above 640x480.
Nintendo eschewed a complex controller with the Wii by limiting the number of buttons. By contrast, the Wii U controller practically bristles with them. Two circle pads, similar to those found on the portable Nintendo 3DS, flank either side of the screen. A D pad resides on the left; A, B, X, and Y buttons are on the right; two shoulder buttons are on the top; two trigger-like buttons are on the bottom; and the usual array of start, select, and home buttons line the bottom. But it doesn't end there.
Like the Wii, the Wii U controller also features motion controls that should be on par with the Wii MotionPlus. Although you won't be using it like a Wii Remote, as its bulk and unwieldiness prevent it from mimicking sports equipment like bats and rackets.
A front-facing camera sits at the top of the controller, ostensibly for use in taking pictures and possibly for augmented-reality capabilities. At its E3 2011 press conference, Nintendo revealed that the controller will have video chat capabilities. Built-in speakers also play back sound, and the controller also features a headphone jack.
The controller is capable of playing games even if the TV is being used at the moment for something else, like watching shows. It's portable in a sense, but only within wireless reach of the main console, because all of the controller's visuals are generated by the console and then streamed to the controller.
One of the key features of Wii U is its backward compatibility with Wii controllers (remotes, nunchuks, and more). Many of the cases we saw involved anywhere from two to four remotes, with and without nunchuks, and one player on the Wii U controller. Players on Wii Remotes would generally get split-screen gameplay on the TV, while the player on the Wii U controller would primarily use the screen on the controller. Most of the games we saw would give the player on the Wii U controller extra information, or an entirely different perspective paired with vastly different controls. In general, the player with the Wii U controller was pit against the players with Wii Remotes.
Outside of stating that the console outputs at 1080p, Nintendo was mum on details. But judging from the visuals, we can speculate a little on what's driving Wii U. Many of the demos we saw had dynamic lighting and shadowing, light shafts, high dynamic range rendering, full reflections, and bump mapping, and some titles also featured antialiasing. It's hard to say whether the console was rendering at a lower resolution and then upscaling to 1920x1080, a common occurrence on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The console's GPU has its limitations--distant objects in complex scenes were noticeably less detailed than those found in the foreground.
The screen on the Wii U's controller receives a video stream from the console and does not have its own mobile GPU. Looking between the controller and the console, the visuals were more than comparable, if not identical. Impressively, we didn't notice any compression artifacts or lag between what we saw on the TV and what we saw on the controller's screen.
Nintendo is pushing forward. Lets face it, was Gamecube that good? Not really. Dont get me wrong, it had amazing games, but hardware wise it was average. It had no real umph that nintendos previous consoles had. N64 was truly 64 bit, SNES had 3D capability, and NES was more powerful than 2600. Gamecube had the least power, but wasnt obsolete. Wii had a totally new innovation, but is obsolete. Wii U is just like NES and SNES. Innovation and ample power. This tablet thing could be the next big thing. Motion control became huge with Wii, touch screen could be the next wave of gaming. Who knows?
Now I`ve been a long time fan of Nintendos past work, but I think they may be jumping the gun replacing the wii. I guess it`s the whole 'But we JUST got this one!' thing. That, and all this looks like to me is an over sized, multipart DS.
Speaking of which. I still haven't heard anybody from Nintendo mentioning the controller's name, they all keep calling it "The New Controller" even at Ubisoft's private post conference they still called it "The New Controller".
Nintendo is learning about the innovation that Mac makes in its hardware (iPad, MacBook, etc.,). Look, the design and the technology showed in the screens: it is small, it has good techonology, it represents "useful" for videogamers; we only need to see the new games to have the final veredict. "THANKS NINTENDO"
@spoonybard-hahs Actually, it says in the article that you can play games on the conrtoller while the TV is in use by others.
I'm chuckling at the people who keep saying that Nintendo's hardware was a no-show. So you think that the new controller was working all by itself? What are they playing in the videos? That's not a Nintendo Wii; it's a Nintedo WiiU. The hardware was at the show, but it's not going to be released for over a year. They won't tip their hand so early. You'll get a better look at the hardware and games at next year's E3. Cool your jets and be patient. It's interesting to see how many people who know little to nothing of economics/business criticize a company that has continued to make money despite having, according to "popular" opinion, made "inferior" gaming systems.
Very early development of Killer Freaks on the Wii U using the dev. kits. http://youtu.be/p99ghcy450E Very early development of Ghost Recon Online Wii U http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iEV-hg2Vh8&feature=related
@Metrovania: I still think power glove is not yet tackled enough in the current systems. To rephrase my thoughts, I believe we now have seen a leap forward in means of input to the console. But feedback is yet to do the same (come on, rumble vibrator does not really give me the sense of touch!)
@Kenshin0011: I agree with you on the hardcore part, but I do not see the tab (pallet? does it have a name?) controller replacing a wiimote completely for casual / active games, because of its bulkiness. Yet I hope they give you a good rubber protection for the new controller, like they did for wiimotes. ;) Then we can play disk golf with it!
Im liking all the options that Nin is giving you with this console... Tired of holding the tablet? Then grab a CCpro bro
Why does everyone insist that this controller cannot work as well as a "normal" controller when it CLEARLY can? Seriously, anyone who thinks that is completely blind or is just lying to themselves. The Wii U controller can play any hardcore game exactly as it's played on a 360/PS3 because it has dual analog, triggers, and buttons. PERIOD! But also, the controller can be used in a "Nintendo" way because it has a touch screen, motion controls, etc. CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG!!!!!
Im a little disapointed that the actual console wuznt on display but the controller is great. A little big but if i know Nintendo, it'll fit nicely in ur hand. If its capable of showing 1080p then yes this is wut we, the gamers, have been waiting 4. Now the only real question i have is, will we b able 2 keep the games we aready purchased from the store & transfer them over? I downloaded some games that i dont wanna pay 4 again. If we can transfer the games we have stored on our sd cards, then that'll b great. Then i can just trade in my Wii. But who knows we have a year 2 find out.
It seems to me that the Wii U is at the evolutionary apex in the proud history of Nintendo innovations. 1) Multi-screen gameplay: Game & Watch ---> GBA-GameCube connectivity --> DS handhelds --> Wii U 2) Motion control: Zapper --> Power Glove --> GBA Gyroscope --> Wii --> Wii U 3) Online: SNES Broadcast Satelite --> DS handhelds --> Wii --> Wii U 4) Controller Innovations: --> D-pad + face buttons --> Shoulder buttons --> Analog Stick --> Trigger Button --> Rumble --> Motion control --> Screen on the controller (thanks Dreamcast!). IMO Nintendo will be coming into the HD era able to take advantage of lower costs and a massive backlog of 3rd-party games for other consoles, and use the expertise that has had a chance to develop on the Xbox360 and PS3. They will, once again, make a proffit on every console sold. Consumate business-people.
Why is everybody giving Nintendo a free pass on the hardware no-show? It's unacceptable to announce you will unveil your new system and then not bring it with you. Should have been done at TGS in the fall.
smooth81_basic your kidding me when you say the game cube was twice as powerful as the PS2 right? It wasn't, but the original xbox was. The cube had a tad more horse power but not twice as much, And Nintendo isn't behind now with the Wii U but two years ( after the Wii U launches) when Sony and MS break out new console the Wii U will be left behind, then what will Nintendo do when its sales start to plummet, because the new consoles are dominating? Release another console after just 2 years on the market with the Wii U,,,,,See SEGA for releasing a console or add on every few years and see how well that worked. Ninty should have just held out and released a console that's going to be on par or above the NEXT consoles coming out, because come holiday 2013 OR 2014 its going to once again be behind. The only reason they are pushing the Wii U now is because Wii sales and support are tanking. The Wii was innovative the Wii U isn't and and I'm banking on the fact the Wii U will do no where near as good as the Wii, because just like the Wii, the cube and the 64, support will drop from 3rd parties and the software attach rate will be horrible.
@termadoyle You talk like Nintendo is dragging up the rear, again. Really? Let's see here - The N64 had the best hardware, and introduced the world to how awesome the Analog stick really is. The PSOne only had a DPad on it's controller and had far inferior hardware. However, the PSOne won the console war that generation. So, then the PS2 came out, and Nintendo trumped it in terms of hardware. Basically twice as powerful as the PS2, the Gamecube fell short again. The XBox didn't really beat out the Gamecube, hardware-wise - not by much, anyways. The Gamecube was a completely competent system. Then, with the Wii, Nintendo wanted to push the boundaries of gaming with motion controls. But, if that failed, why make it another powerhouse system?? Test out the motion controls. If it fails, no big loss, right?? So, it wasn't a "next-gen" console, per-say. It was a console to feel-out the market. Smart. Now, with the motion controls fully perfected (and fully compatible with the WiiU), Now it has it's current-gen platform. Why do you say they're behind?? They're leading the pack - forcing everybody to evolve gaming, not just sit by on their laurels of: HD grafix r teh b0mb!!
@coylenintendo "I'll keep playing my Xbox 360 but it'll be nice to get the Wii U and take a break from Call Of Duty, Resident Evil, Grand Theft Auto and Gears Of War. Mario games are still some of the best games out there." But that's the beauty of the Wii U!!! You don't have to choose between hardcore vs casual, the Wii U will be capable of playing all of our favorte 3rd party games AND it's Nintendo, so we will also have Mario, Zelda, SMASH BROS, etc. It's the best of both worlds!!!
Turns out the rumors were true. Friend codes will be no more with the Wii U. Instead there will be a single online identity, in a similar vein to Gamertags in Xbox Live. This information was revealed in relation to Ghost Recon: Online, which is one of games on display at E3 2011. YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!
lol I laugh at how many people argue over video games and say negative things WAY before a console even comes out. just calm the hell down. for one thing, there's more to life than video games. so the people who sit and play Xbox and Playstation until the sun comes up need to get more sleep so they stop being so cranky every time Nintendo tries something new. honestly, I'm mainly an Xbox 360 player but I still love Nintendo. they're a really good video game company and I respect them for making a system for all types of people to like. so to the people who hate split screen co-op and multiplayer video games, try something different for once. like playing video games with actual people and not just online or maybe taking a break and doing something else for once. I'm honestly sick of the people who put down Nintendo right away because it doesn't have enough games for them to sit all night and kill people online or see video game women naked. I feel bad for these kind of people to be honest. in my opinion, the Wii U is an awesome idea. I'll keep playing my Xbox 360 but it'll be nice to get the Wii U and take a break from Call Of Duty, Resident Evil, Grand Theft Auto and Gears Of War. Mario games are still some of the best games out there.
that is one huge controler, but look like nintendo is looking to get back it share of the console market
first it was the wii breaking wrists now its controllers powered by plutonium great nuclear disaster here we come
Wow Wii U. it sounds incredible due to its hdmi and new controller. doew this mean those who own a wii need to upgrade again. I want to get one but i just got my wii over a year. lets hope the new console is satisfying.
Has anyone heard any confirmation on how many Wii U controllers the system will support? There are rumours it will be one per console which makes me sad but I can't find an official statement. Links anyone?
The Wii U is about as exciting as a sandwich. Sure, perhaps a little more exciting than the Wii, but I'm not at all convinced.
I'm sorry, for financial reasons I hope this sucks. Otherwise I'm going to have to loot all of your banks.
@LancerVI personally I prefer a 2D screen. Artificial 3D brings nothing to gaming or movies, it is a gimmick now like it was in the 1960s, the 80s and now, a gimmick they dust of and reuse every 10-20 years or so. It is interesting at first but hard on the eyes after a while and soon the novelty wears off.
The Wii Story is repeating: A novel toy wich everyone on the planet buys and a couple of months later are collecting dust on the shelves, cause the only thing to play are crappy kiddie games... And the people will give again a truckload of money to nintendo.
Ah Nintendo, you have learned your lessons well.... If you can't make a GOOD system, then make a GIMMICKY system and clean up on the casual crowd.
The reality is this: Just like the Wii, this will be fun to play during the first Christmas you play it, quickly wearing out its welcome by the next one. Nintendo should be applauded for doing something different but, for now, people will always return to the traditional controller. This is quite evident in the number of people owning a Wii AND/OR a Playstation or Xbox or even BOTH.
I have to nitpick: "proprietary high-density optical disks similar in size to a DVD." Reggie gave us to understand that the size will be closer to Blu-Ray. At least that's what I got from his elusive words. "Nintendo declined to say whether it was multitouch capable" Reggie made it clear that it's a singletouch display. SADLY. "We're guessing the screen is under 1280x720 and above 640x480." 640x480 is not a widescreen even. Other than that - good article, too bad Nintendo isn't willing to disclose too much info right now.
@BloodLoss because if nintendo gave you a normal consol then then it's just another same old consol that sony and microsoft does, If ya wont a normal consol buy either one of those, Nintendo does not go with the same general idea, They never did, Nintendo will and always go with something new, Revolutionizing the future of gaming. So if your hoping Nintendo will release a consol like 360 or PS3 then theres no hope, because we already have normal consols. Do you see were i'm coming from?.
I might have to pass on this I bought a wii a few years ago and never really touched it. I play my ps3 and 360. I guess maybe if there are games that are going to make me want the system I might give it a shot, just not sold on it yet.
If Nintendo makes this console as powerful if not more than the PS3 they will win me back, I won't take less than that!... ^_^
potential console I hope they will take advantage of it's powers and offer something spectaculer and surprising
@steve4123456789 just like with the gameboy advanced on the gamecube, you can see your inventory, maps, etc. without having to open it up on the tv.
Why can't Nintendo just give me a normal console, with a normal controller and a ton of good games? Man, i miss the SNES...
It's essential that they improve the graphics. I would hear about a Wii game that sounded good, but I would not buy it because I knew the graphics would be crap. I have owned a Wii for a couple years and have only bought about 3 games for that very reason. In the same time frame I have bought dozens of Xbox 360 games. Like another article said, they sold a lot of Wii consoles, but the number of games sold is way under the amounts of Xbox and PS3.
@jecht_35 I agree about the controller! I think when you look at the back of it, the thing might be fairly comfortable to hold. I think the possibility of having contextual controls on the touch screen will be great! Still not convinced developers on than Nintendo will know how to take advantage of Wii U properly, but lets hope I'm wrong about that!
@Sk8rlink If you've really broken a lot of controllers in your life, maybe... just maybe you are not the best critical voice about controller fragility or durability. You just may be the Destroyer of Controllers, regardless of their construction. Only controller I ever broke was through over-use. R.I.P. Atari 2600 controller x 2. Also, watch for my comments or click on my account. I'm no fan boy. I enjoy all gaming and yet am plenty critical of all the Big Three from time to time.
@ Phil-teh-Pirate Was there a memo that the definition of controller changed to "hand-held video game system"? It's the controller. It's useless without the system. Yes, you can "play" games on it, but you can only do that when the system is on. It's not synched; it's tethered.
now that I take a second look at the controller it look about the size of the nook and that I guess its a reasonable size and it might not be that clunky to hold, I might start warming up to it once I hold that controller and play zelda in HD. @Phil-teh-Pirate well if you wanna get technical about it the GBA did that before the psp with the GameCube. Don't knock a console down a peg before we can actually try it and see if we would like it or not.