Nintendo’s Wii Successor is the Wii U

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The successor the the Nintendo Wii has finally been revealed…and I’m still not quite sure what to make of it!

The Wii U console, as it has been officially branded, consists of a standard table-top system with horsepower up to modern standards of PS3 and Xbox 360, plus an innovative new controller that is essentially a standard video game controller and a tablet all in one.

The controller consists of a 6.2-inch touch screen, gyroscopic motion sensing, a microphone, an inward-facing camera, speakers, force feedback and all the staple buttons a gamer needs to game, including two analog Circle Pads, D-pad, A/B/X/Y face buttons, L/R shoulder buttons and ZL/ZR triggers.

The magic of the Wii U starts to happen when the controller and console come together. When playing single player games, whatever is displayed on your TV screen can output directly to the controller’s display, freeing up the TV for someone else to watch a sports game or other program while you continue on uninterrupted. Similarly to the old GBA and GameCube link up, certain game information can also be displayed on the controller’s screen while the main gameplay is running on a TV.

For multiplayer things get even more interesting, as one player using the Wii U controller can see gameplay from an entirely different perspective than their friends using Wii Remotes. Yep, that’s right. The Wii U is fully compatible with all existing Wii software and accessories!

Here is more from the press release:

Previously, video games played on a home console have been confined to the TV and offered identical viewpoints to each player in a multiplayer environment. Furthermore, watching TV and playing console games have been completely separate experiences. The new controller removes these boundaries, creating a more dynamic and fluid gaming and entertainment experience. Visitors to the E3 Expo will see firsthand the type of gaming experiences made possible by Wii U and the new controller such as:

In single-player games:
– The new controller can display information on its screen that does not appear on the TV.
– The information and viewpoint can also change in the new controller based on the orientation of its gyroscope.

In multiplayer games:
– The player using the new controller can have a different experience than those looking at the TV. This will offer a wide variety of competitive and cooperative opportunities.

In addition to the 6.2-inch screen, the new controller also features an accelerometer and a gyroscope, a rumble feature, an inward-facing camera, a microphone and speakers. Adding these features to the Classic Controller™ button scheme – two analog Circle Pads, +Control Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons – will enable a breadth of game-play experiences while appealing to both casual and dedicated video game players.

Wii U combines motion-sensing game play with the ability to support full HD graphics. Each Wii U console will be partnered with a new controller and can also use up to four additional Wii Remote™ or Wii Remote Plus controllers. The system is also backward compatible and can play all Wii games and use all Wii accessories. The Wii console has sold more than 86 million units globally and greatly expanded the overall audience for video games. Wii U aims to expand that audience even further. Developers worldwide are already working on new games and experiences for the console.

“Wii U redefines the structure of home entertainment by fundamentally changing how the TV, the game console and the Internet function and interact together,” said Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. “The experience enabled by Wii U and the new controller takes players deeper into their games, while reaching out wider than ever before to be inviting to all kinds of gamers.”

As already mentioned, the console itself — which Nintendo oddly didn’t actually show during the E3 stage unveil — appears to bring the Wii brand up to par with current PS3 and Xbox 360 hardware performance, as was presented at the end of the briefing, when Nintendo let a montage roll showing that major upcoming third-party titles like Battlefield 3, Darksiders II, Metro: Last Light, Ninja Gaiden 3, Ghost Recon Online, Aliens: Colonial Marines and Assassin’s Creed are coming to Wii U.

What I’m not so sold on yet is the controller’s ergonomics. The technology is interesting, but the device itself looks a bit too bulky and squarish to be comfortable for traditional game control during long sessions with ‘core’ games. Also, while the console will be able to output at 1080p on a TV, the controller screen won’t be able to display HD image quality.

By the time the Wii U comes out next year, early details for the next Xbox and/or PlayStation could also begin to surface, if industry analysts’ predictions prove accurate. Then, the Wii U will find itself lagging behind technologically just like the Wii.

Pricing will also be important, but Nintendo hasn’t announced such details at this time.

So, what are your thoughts on the Wii U? Yay? Nay? Somewhere in between, like me?

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!