Nintendo unveils its next-generation console, Wii U

By on June 7, 2011, 4:12 PM

Nintendo unveiled the successor to its Wii today at E3, leaving many onlookers baffled. Called the Wii U, the company's next-generation console aims to bridge the gap between casual and hardcore gamers -- the latter of which were which were abandoned by the Wii. Nintendo wants the Wii U to offer something for everyone, claiming it "will create a deeper experience for even the most passionate gamers."

The most puzzling thing about the Wii U -- apart from its name -- is undoubtedly Nintendo's new controller concept. At first glance, it appears to be an entirely separate device, featuring a built-in 6.2-inch touchscreen, speaker, microphone and camera alongside the traditional buttons, directional controls (two analog sticks and a D-pad), as well as sensors including a gyroscope and an accelerometer.

While it may resemble the bottom half of a 3DS, the controller isn't a self-contained system like a portable console. It connects to a separate box that pumps graphics to your TV, just like most other full-scale consoles. However, the Wii U is more flexible, as the controller's integrated screen can serve as your primary (and only) display, allowing you or your family members to use the TV while you play.

When the controller's screen is used in conjunction with your TV, it can enrich the experience by displaying a different view of the game, statistics or whatever else developers dream up. Although the controller is motion-sensitive, we imagine you probably won't want to dance around the living room with it, nor will you want to buy extras for your buddies as they'll probably be pretty expensive -- initially, anyway.

Fortunately, the Wii U is backward compatible with Wii games and accessories. It can also handle 1080p video, is powered by an IBM CPU, has internal flash storage along with support for SD cards and USB drives, plays proprietary discs and digital downloads, and is due between next April and December. Launch titles include Batman, Tekken, Assassin's Creed, Metro and other popular franchises.




User Comments: 39

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Mindwraith said:

I was blown away when i read about the tech demos, I really underestimated what nintendo was gonna do with this generation.

veedubguy said:

My only question is about the graphics, are they going to be better than PS3 and the 360, or just on par... If they aren't better, not really a next gen system IMO...

ColdFusion1990 ColdFusion1990 said:

Supposedly the Wii U is faster than the PS3, but I don't think developers had a good chance to work with the hardware yet. Maybe in a year or two the games will look at least as good as the 360 and PS3, or better

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

No, no, and no. I like Nintendo, and the system seems capable but the controller... that <I>thing</I> just looks awful, and looks like it would get extremely uncomfortable after long gaming sessions. Besides, they haven't announced any launch exclusives, there is going to be little to no reason for gamers to switch from a PS3/360 to a... Wii U. Really?

Guest said:

The wii u console looks like the wii and 360 had a baby!!! SERIOUSLY LOOKS SWEET BUT VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE 360 SLIM.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I can see lots of people getting hand cramps from using that controller. From the looks of things it's not even possible to hit those buttons at the bottom without letting go of it.

Also pleasing both hardcore and casual gamers is an impossible concept, but let's see what happens. The games sounds decent at least.

Raswan Raswan said:

veedubguy said:

My only question is about the graphics, are they going to be better than PS3 and the 360, or just on par... If they aren't better, not really a next gen system IMO...

Was the original Wii's graphics on par with the PS3 and 360? No? Then if this one is, it's next generation. Pretty simple concept...

Guest said:

That controller is going to be extremely diffficult to use for prolonged periods of time in FPS games. Even if it is light, your hands would be very far apart (probably 7+ inches given the screen size). Also, the controller doesn't seem to have enough buttons and isn't very suitable for first person shooters. Perhaps Nintendo will wow with new style of games though. But the core audience of the Wii (motion type of games) will also be alienated by this system since it no longer has that unique competitive advantage (with PS Move and Xbox Kinect). Not sure this design is enough of a breakthrough for the next 5-6 years. And graphics may not be enough of an improvement either. Hmm.....Certainly a huge gamble for Nintendo.

I haven't owned a single Nintendo system since N64 and this one doesn't entice me to purchase it either. This is because I would have to buy in "faith" that Nintendo will be able to finally bring strong 3rd party support. I might wait 1-2 years to see how this pans out and pull the trigger on the next PS4 or Xbox or this depending on how they stack up in 2013-2014.

Guest said:

What a graphics *****. So if it doesn't offer any good gameplay but has nearly perfect graphics, its the next and best system?

bchen88c said:

If a lot of people criticize the controller, it might have a similar effect like what happened to the PS3. The "boomerang" controller announced before was severely criticized...and now we have the Dualshock 3, basically the same. Not like I'm saying Nintendo will revert to the old WiiMote, but anything can happen now, really.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Very interesting. Wonder if we'll see a repeat of the last Wii Crisis.

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

I fear that it might flop still... due to that they didn't focus on games for hardcore gamers. but I would want to get it so I could play the next zelda and whatever. Also, if I can't transfer my wii store games, I will be very ticked off...

Scshadow said:

I want what nintendo execs are smoking.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

What a graphics *****. So if it doesn't offer any good gameplay but has nearly perfect graphics, its the next and best system?

No, but it's too easy these days to have hardware capable of displaying decent graphics for it not to be taken into consideration. The Wii just looks painful once you stretch those low res graphics past 40-50". They're going to have to pull out all the stops to get me interested this time - I gave up on my Wii right after I got it. Even my 6 year old daughter has been complaining about how it looks for over a year now.

Cota Cota said:

That control looks uncomfortable, maybe it has some support on the back for your hands and lol for how far the L and R buttons are from the front ones, and whats whit the anemic Xbox xD?

oh man they had to use Link do they? i feel so disconnected from it since the GC came out since im not buying a console to play a single game

TekGun TekGun said:

I would imagine that you will be able to get different controllers just like the Wii, I mean come on...

I think it's a good idea being able to just play on the controller if you like.

treetops treetops said:

Its pretty easy for it to beat the other 6 year old consoles graphic wise. Looks very interesting and unique. I would love to give it a try. I am guessing they will have a lot of different controllers not just that one. It would be pretty sweet to play while someone is watching tv sitting next to you. Finally consoles are catching back up to pc's. Let the next generation games begin!

treetops treetops said:

Furethermore as they mention in the article you can use your old wii peripherals on it...

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

bchen88c said:

If a lot of people criticize the controller, it might have a similar effect like what happened to the PS3. The "boomerang" controller announced before was severely criticized...and now we have the Dualshock 3, basically the same. Not like I'm saying Nintendo will revert to the old WiiMote, but anything can happen now, really.

That "boomerang" controller wasn't the Dualshock 3. It was simply a prototype Sony used as a possible concept controller. They realized that they did not need to fix was wasn't broken, and that's why we have the Dualshock 3. Currently, the dualshock is considered the best controller, and it has become pretty much a standard for third-party manufacturers. But this, this Wii U controller is not a prototype or a concept, it's the real thing.

Alternatively, the problem with this controller is the unnecessary width, and lack of proper grip, something that the Dualshock 3 and the 360 controller do very well (as any standard gamepad should).

I seriously can't see someone playing, say, Street Fighter--no, scratch that... say, Super Smash Bros. for 4-5 hours with friends, and not feel both tired and uncomfortable after the first hour or two. Not to mention the clearly gimmicky touchscreen display. Why, I ask, <i>why</i> do we need a 6.2-inch touchscreen, speaker, microphone and camera on a controller?

Guest said:

All i can think of is how many controllers and/or screens are gonna get broken. Then the returns...

aj_the_kidd said:

Gimmick console + gimmick controller that is big and probably expensive, isn't the best way to attract hardcore gamers. That being said i think with RPG, MMO and driving games have potential. Not sure how Tekken will be with this controller, considering its a button mashing game

Guest said:

Gimmick controller? Nintendo were the first to market these "hardcore" controllers that the Xbox and PS3 use.

You need to learn your video game console history to realize that Nintendo is always the first to release new input devices.

Guest said:

a lot of you complain to much. Gee what if a third party brings out a xbox like controller problem solved. for the fighting games and whatever. im sure they will

aj_the_kidd said:

Sorry to tell you this, but the controller is a gimmick, any which way you put it. Whether it be innovative or stupid, its still a gimmick

Arris Arris said:

What?

*checks it isn't April the 1st again already*

Eh?

Urm, interesting idea with the controller o_0

The controller looks like a Kindle. Strange move. Think they are doing that just to see if MS and Sony copy them? :P

UT66 said:

so handcuffs again ? such a fail!!1 what happened to the wiimote? il guess the wii was for nothing after all, they should have stuck that screen on top of the nunchuck!!!! that way you can still use the wiimote, or better yet, drink a beer!

Guest said:

@aj_the_kidd

I guess analog thumb sticks were a gimmick too.

I guess vibrating controllers were a gimmick too.

I guess shoulder buttons were a gimmick too.

I guess a D-Pad was a gimmick too.

^ Nintendo did these things first.

Nintendo...releasing gimmicky controller ideas that never made an impact on game consoles according to aj_the_kidd.

Guest said:

So here is an idea what will nintendo achieve with this console in families.

There are a lot of devices out there. Most likely the families which can afford a console already have a normal Wii so:

-If your child crying for a new console with better graphics = Wii U

-if your child crying for a new handheld console = Wii U

-if your child crying for a new tablet device or you want one to browse next to TV etc. = Wii U

-if you want to save money and not to throw away your already bought wii collection = Wii U

-your wife can use wii fit while other members watch teli = Wii U

So in an economic crisis even if this console will cost like 50-100$ more than a normal console this will be a definite winner because cost savings on other devices.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It looks very good and I like the use of the touch screen for the golf game on the promotional video etc but I worry about the controller.

Primarly because it looks expensive featuring most of the features found in a smart phone and a larger screen than most. Controller D-pads break. Buttons become flakey. Not a problem on a £30 controller but this one looks like it will cost alot more unless touch screens just got cheap?

tehbanz tehbanz said:

I liked the "Project Cafe" concept controller, it looked like a classic controller pro, with the 6.7" touch screen located on the top of the controller. The concept controller was way more practical because it still had the grips, not this abomination.

I look at it this way, I have an iPad, It gets uncomfortable even to hold that for an hour or two, i can only imagine now with much more finger movement/needed grip it will get way worse.

If the controller stays like this, I won't be getting one until the price drops big time , I collect VG consoles so I gotta get one.but..... this one can wait

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Gimmick controller? Nintendo were the first to market these "hardcore" controllers that the Xbox and PS3 use.

You need to learn your video game console history to realize that Nintendo is always the first to release new input devices.

What the **** are you talking about? The first, new generation hardcore controller was the dualshock 1. The first dualshock was released in 1994, and the Nintendo 64 controller was released in 1996. I don't know what math you're suing, but dualshock was clearly first. <i>You</i> need to learn video game history before embarrassing yourself like this.

Trainass said:

Also, the controller doesn't seem to have enough buttons and isn't very suitable for first person shooters.

It has the same number of buttons that a PS3 or 360 controller has. D-Pad, dual analog sticks, A/B/X/Y, and 4 L&R shoulder buttons. How many more buttons do you need?!

If a lot of people criticize the controller, it might have a similar effect like what happened to the PS3. The "boomerang" controller announced before was severely criticized...and now we have the Dualshock 3, basically the same. Not like I'm saying Nintendo will revert to the old WiiMote, but anything can happen now, really.

This looks to work in addition to the existing compliment of Wii peripherals. In the demo videos, it shows most ppl using Wiimotes, etc in addition to this. What I want to know, is if GCN controllers will still work (along with GCN games)

I fear that it might flop still... due to that they didn't focus on games for hardcore gamers. but I would want to get it so I could play the next Zelda and whatever. Also, if I can't transfer my Wii store games, I will be very ticked off...

It was also just ANNOUNCED. I don't think there have been any major games announced for it yet. There's another gaming convention/show coming up in a few months (TGS) that I'm sure we'll hear more about then.

No, but it's too easy these days to have hardware capable of displaying decent graphics for it not to be taken into consideration. The Wii just looks painful once you stretch those low res graphics past 40-50". They're going to have to pull out all the stops to get me interested this time - I gave up on my Wii right after I got it. Even my 6 year old daughter has been complaining about how it looks for over a year now.

Well, this new system supports 1080p via HDMI, so in theory, one would hope, that visually the games should be on-par or exceed those currently available on the 360 and PS3.

Gimmick console + gimmick controller that is big and probably expensive, isn't the best way to attract hardcore gamers. That being said i think with RPG, MMO and driving games have potential. Not sure how Tekken will be with this controller, considering its a button mashing game

Gimmick console how? Care to elaborate on your opinion as to why you feel that the next Nintendo system is going to be a gimmick?

so handcuffs again ? such a fail!!1 what happened to the wiimote? il guess the wii was for nothing after all, they should have stuck that screen on top of the nunchuck!!!! that way you can still use the wiimote, or better yet, drink a beer!

If you read more about the new system, you'd realize that the existing compliment of Wii accessories will work with this new system!

What the **** are you talking about? The first, new generation hardcore controller was the dualshock 1. The first dualshock was released in 1994, and the Nintendo 64 controller was released in 1996. I don't know what math you're suing, but dualshock was clearly first. <i>You</i> need to learn video game history before embarrassing yourself like this.

The original playstation was released in 1994, using a digital gamepad. There were no analog sticks on it, and I don't think it even had vibration (could be wrong on that last part). The N64 was released in 1996 and came with the single analog stick from day-1. The Dual-analog controller (dual-shock) was was released in the United States on August 27, 1997; and in Europe in later 1997 with little promotion. A few months later, the first DualShock controller was released in Japan on November 20, 1997. It was then discontinued mid-1998. So about a year later.

Fans of a smaller form factor, Japanese gamers complained that the very long hand grips made the controller too large to be held properly and the lack of a rumble feature in the U.S. and European models are the most commonly cited reasons that Sony decided to end production of this controller and redesign it. This redesign eventually became the DualShock.

Maybe YOU should learn video game history before you go embarrassing yourself like this.

Guest said:

Driving games and FPS shouldn't be a real problem if your capability to adapt is still working. I play Quake3 Arena on N900 and WASD keys are on my accelerometer and make this "analogic behaviour", shooting is one key, jumping another, or just make upwards movement, touchscreen is highly sensitive to aim. Driving is really sweet, I play with my old phone (N95-1) on LFS by just tilting it and response time is really short, not comparable to cabled peripherals but you can live with that.

This is what I wanted to see from the PSP and PS3. I want to believe this will be a great console. It means so much Sega to me, in a Nintendo design.

Drejeck

aj_the_kidd said:

Guest said:

@aj_the_kidd

I guess analog thumb sticks were a gimmick too.

I guess vibrating controllers were a gimmick too.

I guess shoulder buttons were a gimmick too.

I guess a D-Pad was a gimmick too.

^ Nintendo did these things first.

Nintendo...releasing gimmicky controller ideas that never made an impact on game consoles according to aj_the_kidd.

Serioulsy WTF are you talking about, i NEVER said nintendo didnt make an impact to gaming consoles, where the hell did you get that from.

The point i was trying to get across and i thought i did was, that the controller is a gimmick but what i probably should have also added is that WHETHER OR NOT IT CATCHES ON REMAINS TO BE SEEM (*shouting intended*). So just to be clear, i am by no means saying it wont catch on, what i am saying is, that with is size, shape and assuming high price, its going to be difficult, again just to be ABSOLUTELY FRICKING CLEAR i am not saying that the controller is crap, im saying its a gimmick (gimmick != crap) and i am not saying that the Wii is crap or that Nintendo hasnt made an impact to gaming. I did in my first post state that it had potential (even though its a gimmick)

Trainass said:

Gimmick console how? Care to elaborate on your opinion as to why you feel that the next Nintendo system is going to be a gimmick?

I call it like i see it, the Wii is a gimmick, most hardcore gamers dont take it seriously, its a "cute" console but if you want a serious console you go xbox 360 or PS3 (assuming you dont want to use PC)

Note to self, never use the work Gimmick again, geesh

Guest said:

kinda sucks to see nintendo an all star gaming company sink this low :( (only 1080p video, cumon)

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

I'm tired of all these gimmicks. I miss Super Nintendo style. Good games, great graphics. What's wrong with focusing on horsepower and just making fun games. Nobody wants to hold a tablet in front of their face or set it on the ground where it will get stepped on. Focus on games and fast hardware, Nintendo! Wii sucks u!

Guest said:

"kinda sucks to see nintendo an all star gaming company sink this low (only 1080p video, cumon)"

The rumoured R700 style GPU can easily output 2560x1600 resolution, but what's the point when mainstream TVs only go to 1080P? As long as the console can do 1080P at 60 frames per second, that's already miles better than PS3 and Xbox360. 95% of all games on PS3 and 360 are only 720P (and most modern games are far lower than that since the consoles can't drive more complex graphics even at 720P). Keep in mind, the worst R700 GPU is the HD4350 with 80SPs. That's nearly double what the Xbox360's GPU has. Of course the highest end RV790 had 800 Stream processors. So you do the math. It's virtually guaranteed that the Wii U is far more powerful than the PS3 or the 360 in terms of GPU abilities. But as always, it will take 2-3 years or more before developers take full advantage of this technology (since they'll have to cater to largest common base of old Wiis, Xbox360s and PS3s and their graphics capabilities).

Guest said:

does anyone remember the old xbox portable screen that you attached to the top of the console itself?

suppose to be a google image of the xbox screen. copy paste didn't work the way I thought it would.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.estarland.com
images/products/46/14446/21645.jpg&imgrefurl=http://ww
.estarland.com/XBox.product.14446.html&usg=__QVyk8cDNo
k-Yk7tQmTLiq4JnI8=&h=166&w=160&sz=8&hl=en&
mp;start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=zgIbOh4M9ys9HM:&tbnh=1
2&tbnw=128&ei=J2PxTYWVD4Xf0QH_0vT0Aw&prev=/sea
ch%3Fq%3Dxbox%2Bportable%2Bscreen%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfir
fox-a%26hs%3DE2%26sa%3DG%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:officia
%26channel%3Ds%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D811%26tbm%3Disch%26prm
%3Divns&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=698&page=1&
dsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0&tx=68&ty=53&biw=
280&bih=811

I'm not seeing much benefit to that controller screen. just make a separate attachable screen or something of a similar faction. I prefer the way controllers have been thus far.

Guest said:

Apple and nintendo had a baby, aww look at the cute tablet for a controller lol. Well anyway no way im interested unless theres some solid third party titles coming out. Im sick and tired of playing mario and zelda to last rest of my lifetime.

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