You saw the E3 2011 conference live or heard about the console as the news broke, and then you thought: “What’s going on, is this a controller, a console, what exactly does it do?” Fear not, you’re not alone. Meet the Wii U.
The Wii U caused quite a lot of confusion when it was unveiled on June 7th at Nintendo’s E3 conference. Specs were slim to none, and for many, the console remains a mystery. This is where we come in. We’ve created a comprehensive FAQ answering the most common questions about the Wii U, along with everything we know about the system. Without further ado, let’s begin.
Is the Wii U a controller for the existing Wii, or a new console altogether?
It’s certainly not a controller for the Wii. The Wii U is Nintendo’s next home console that features a unique touchscreen controller called the GamePad.
What does the GamePad do, how is it different?
The GamePad controller is the next natural upgrade from the Wii. It keeps the motion sensing abilities of the Wii, but adds in a 6.2 touch screen and traditional button controls, including two analogue Circle Pads. 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.
What other ways can the Wii U GamePad be utilised?
The Wii U has the ability to interact with what is happening on screen, such as aiming and flicking with the touch screen to strike targets on the TV screen. The Wii U can also stream games from the TV to the screen on the controller. This gives players the option to switch to the controller if the TV is being used by other people.
When does it launch?
The Wii U will launch November 30th, 2012 in Europe.
In what colours?
White and black: white will be the console colour for the Basic Pack, while the Premium Pack gets a black console.
How much does it cost?
The first price so far is £199.99 for the Basic Pack, and £279.85 for the Premium Pack in the UK. Updates will follow.
What about the games?
The confirmed Wii U games are:
Assassin’s Creed 3 (Ubisoft, Release: November 30th)
Batman Arkham City Armoured Edition (Warner, Release: November 30th)
Darksiders 2 (THQ, Release: Launch title)
Game and Wario (working title) (Nintendo, Release: 2013)
Just Dance 4 (Ubisoft, Release: Launch title)
LEGO City Undercover (Nintendo, Release: November 30th)
Mass Effect 3 (EA, Release: November 30th)
New Super Mario Bros. U (Nintendo, Release: November 30th)
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge (Nintendo, Release: November 30th)
Nintendo Land (Nintendo, Release: November 30th)
Pikmin 3 (Nintendo, Release: 2013)
Project P-100 (working title) (Nintendo, Release: Launch window)
Rayman Legends (Ubisoft, Release: November 30th)
Scribblenauts Unlimited (Warner, Release: Holiday 2012)
SiNG (working title) (Nintendo, Release: Holiday 2012)
Trine 2 (Frozenbyte, Release: Launch title)
TANK TANK TANK (Namco Bandai, Release: Launch title)
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Namco Bandai, Release: TBA)
Wii Fit U (Nintendo, Release: Launch window)
Wii U Panorama View (working title) (Nintendo, Release: Holiday 2012)
ZombiU (Ubisoft, Release: November 30th)
How about the online, any friend codes?
The Wii U is powered by an integrated social network system called Miiverse. This allows users to chat with one another through text as well as through video and online voice chat, (VoIP).
Friend codes are said to be returning but in a different form seen previously on the Wii and 3DS.
What about local multiplayer? Do I have to buy another GamePad controller to play 2/3/4 player games?
This depends on what the game supports. The console itself can support two GamePad controllers, 4 Wii U Pro Controllers and is also compatible with Wii Remotes, Classic controllers and other accessories.
Can I play my Gamecube games on it?
No, the Wii U will not play Gamecube games. It will, however, be backwards compatible with all Wii games.
Is the console as small as the Wii?
No, it is slightly bigger, measuring horizontally at approximately 1.8 inches tall, 6.8 inches wide and 10.5 inches long. The Wii was, by comparison, less than two inches tall, 6 inches wide, 8.5 inches long.
Can I upload my original Wii system’s memory onto the Wii U?
Nintendo has said WiiWare and Virtual Console purchases can be transferred to Wii U. Expect more details at a later date.
Is there going to be a Virtual Console/WiiWare service?
Yes, the Wii U will have its own virtual eShop similar to the 3DS.
Nintendo has announced that users will have three ways of purchasing content on the Wii U eShop. The three purchase options are:
- Purchase directly from the Wii U eShop via credit card.
- Purchase via a download code that you have received or bought from someone.
- Pre-paid download cards that can be purchased in video game stores and online
Amber McCollom, Nintendo of America’s director of entertainment, has also said that selected Gamecube games will be ready to download on WiiWare, (presumably this means the Wii U’s eShop).
Will it play DVDs, Blu-ray discs?
No, neither. The Wii U will use its own proprietary 25GB discs, as confirmed by Nintendo designer Katsuya Eguchi.
Does it support High definition?
Yes. The Wii U supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Compatible cables include HDMI, component, S-video and composite.
What audio does it use?
Six-channel PCM linear output through HDMI.
Does it have a hard drive (HDD)?
The Wii U will have internal flash memory like the Wii did, as well as the option to expand its memory using either an SD memory card or an external USB hard disk drive.
How powerful is it then?
No one can say for sure at the moment, but we gather that it will be at least on par with PS3 and Xbox 360 visuals, perhaps even better. The CPU, for example, is an IBM Power-based multi-core microprocessor with a custom AMD Radeon GPU. It should be very capable.
Any other features?
The Wii U has four USB 2.0 connector slots and is backwards compatible with most of the Wii accessories, including the Wii Remote Plus.
The GamePad can be used as a TV remote and there will be browser support as well.
The Wii U also features Near Field Communication technology located on the Wii U GamePad itself. This allows users to import content from supported cards and figurines, and conduct wireless transactions.
Nintendo confirmed at E3 2012 that they are working with Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube to bring streaming digital movie and television content.
Anything we missed?
Please let us know and we’ll update the feature accordingly.