Wii U launches today!

 

Today, November 18th 2012 marks the long awaited release of the new Nintendo Wii U console.

The Wii U is the first Nintendo console to support high-definition graphics, capable of producing video output up to 1080p, and has 2 GB of memory with half dedicated to the console’s operating system. The console was released in two versions: a “Basic” white-colored version with 8 GB of internal Flash storage; and a “Deluxe” black-colored version with 32 GB of Flash storage, which includes stand and docks. An HDMI cable is included with both versions. The Wii U’s primary controller is the Wii U GamePad, which features an embedded touchscreen. The touchscreen is used to supplement the main gameplay shown on the television or, with supported games, can allow the player to continue playing games by displaying the main gameplay even when the television is off. In addition to the Wii U GamePad, a more traditional controller, called the Wii U Pro Controller, may be used.

The system is backward compatible with Wii, and Wii U games may support compatibility with Wii peripherals, such as the Wii Remote Plus and the Nunchuk. While it is not backward compatible with Nintendo GameCube discs or peripherals, GameCube titles will become available for purchase and download from Nintendo’s Virtual Console service.

 

Wii U GamePad

The Wii U GamePad is the main controller for the Wii U. It features a built-in touchscreen, which can either supplement or replicate the gameplay shown on the main display, and can function as a standalone screen without the use of a television screen. The controller features an accelerometer, gyroscope, camera, dual analog sticks, a built-in sensor strip, a built-in microphone, and supports near field communication (which can be used for, among other uses, figurines that can interact with the console and wireless credit card payments with compatible cards). The console will also be compatible with the Wii Remote Plus, Wii Nunchuk and Wii Balance Board, as well as a Wii U Pro Controller for more traditional controls. Two GamePads are supported per console.

Shigeru Miyamoto promoted the idea of the GamePad, stating that he supports being able to use a secondary screen while someone else is watching the television. Wii U is said to offer asymmetric competition, where the player using the GamePad has one experience and wins in a certain way, while competing players have different ways to play and win.

 

Wii U Pro Controller

Wii U pro controller

The Wii U Pro Controller is the second controller released for the console, available separately. Like more traditional controllers, it features standard control sticks, buttons, and triggers. Nintendo unveiled the Pro Controller at E3 2012 with the aim of attracting more “hardcore” gamers to make the Wii U more competitive with Sony’s and Microsoft’s offering. Many video game journalists have noted the similarity between the controller and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Controller. Nintendo claims that the design of the Pro Controller is an “enhanced version” of the Wii Classic Controller and “offers a richer experience.”

Find the best deals and save money on your Wii U!

Deluxe (black)

Regular (white)

 

Tech Specs
Processors

GPU CPU Nintendo Wii U

CPU: IBM Power Architecture-based multi-core processors.
GPU: AMD Radeon High Definition with an eDRAM cache built onto the die.
The Wii U CPU is designed by IBM. It is described by IBM as an “all-new, Power-based microprocessor”, the processor is a multi-core design manufactured at 45 nm with an eDRAM cache. Neither Nintendo nor IBM has revealed detailed specifications, such as the number of cores, clock rate, or cache sizes. References have been made to the chip containing “a lot” of eDRAM and “the same processor technology found in Watson”.  The Wii U CPU is produced by IBM at their 300 mm semiconductor manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, New York.  Both the CPU and the GPU are on one MCM.

RAM
2 GB Total (1GB system and 1GB video).

Storage
8GB (Basic) or 32GB (Deluxe (NA)/Premium (EU)) Internal flash memory, expandable via SD memory cards up to 32GB and USB hard disk drives up to 2TB
Slot-loading optical disc drive compatible with 12 cm “proprietary high-density optical discs” (25 GB per layer) 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

Internet Browser
Browser Engine: NetFront® Browser NX v2.1
User agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Nintendo WiiU) AppleWebKit/534.52 (KHTML, like Gecko) NX/{Version No} NintendoBrowser/{Version No}.US
Supported Protocols: HTTP1.0/HTTP1.1/SSL3.0/TLS1.0/TLS1.1/TLS1.2
Web Standard: HTML4.01/HTML5/XHTML1.1/CSS1/CSS2.1/CSS3. (partial functionality)DOM1-3/ECMAScript
XMLHttpRequest/canvas/Video/Web Storage (partial functionality) Web Messaging/Server-Sent Events/Device Orientation/WOFF/SVG
Plug-ins: Does not support plug-ins, such as Adobe Flash.
TouchEvent: The browser supports only one of these at a time: touchstart, touchend, touchmove, touchcancel
Screen resolution: If it isn’t specified, width is 980px layout
It is possible to specify width/height of the viewport within the HTML’s <head>…</head>, and specify scaling permission via user-scalable meta tags. (e.g) <meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, user-scalable=no”/>
Saving/upload of image/video: Not supported
Video Format: MP4, M3U8+TS(HTTPLiveStreaming)
(Some videos may not be playable.)
Video Codec: H.264 – MPEG-4 AVC Video
(Some videos may not be playable.)
Audio Codec: AAC – ISO/IEC 14496-3 MPEG-4 AAC
(Some audio may not be playable.)

Wii U GamePad
Built-in 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope and a geomagnetic sensor
Stereo Speakers and Microphone
Volume Control
Front-facing camera
IR Sensor strip
Infrared Transceiver (part of “TV Control” feature)
Headphone jack
6.2 inch (15.7 cm) 16:9 resistive touchscreen
Two clickable analog sticks and one D-pad
Stylus
Select, Start, TV Control, Home and Power buttons
A/B/X/Y face buttons, L/R bumper buttons and ZL/ZR trigger buttons
Rumble
Controller sync button
Wireless communication with console based on IEEE 802.11n operating at 5 GHz
NFC
External Extension Connector (for additional accessories)
Note: The Wii U is also compatible with the Wii Remote Plus, Wii Nunchuk, Classic Controller, and the Wii Balance Board.

Video
1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576i (PAL Only), 480p, 480i, standard 4:3 and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen
“AV Multi Out” port supporting composite video, YPBPR component video, S-Video (NTSC consoles only), RGB SCART (European consoles only) and D-Terminal (Japan only)
HDMI 1.4 out port supporting stereoscopic 3D images.

Audio
“AV Multi Out” port. Six-channel PCM linear output through HDMI

Nintendo Wii U MCM

GPU CPU Nintendo Wii U

Nintendo Wii U heatsink

 

[Sources: Wikipedia, Nintendo.com]

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Jonathan is the Editor-in-Chief of NERD TREK and Game Developer for Adventureaweek.com. Obsessions include his Rise of the Drow Kickstarter, Elder Scrolls, Tabletop RPGs, and this website. Visit Jonathan's profile on facebook!