Following the latest announcement from Nintendo about the Wii U, we decided it was time to look at just what the customer knows about the latest fun box. But, unlike many other websites and magazines jumping on the same bandwagon, we understand that not everyone understands the technical gibberish that spews out of Nintendo’s mouth. Therefore, we’ve decided to break it all down into words that you may recognize. Possibly. If you still don’t, it’s probably not worth knowing anyway. Let’s get started with the most important details…
18th November 2012 – North America
30th November 2012 – Europe and Australia
8th December 2012 – Japan
For once, Japan isn’t getting a console before the rest of the world. Hoorah! However, Europe and Australia still aren’t the lucky winners of the release date wars (boo!). Obviously this release is just in time for Christmas, meaning that you can start bugging your parents and/or best friends for that special present.
This is just the date for the main console’s release, so take note that America may not be able to buy extra GamePads at launch; however, nothing official has been announced about this dilemma as of yet. It’s sort of a shame, yet strangely satisfying for the rest of the world.
¥26250 (basic package) or ¥31500 (premium package) – Japan
$299.99 (basic package) or $359.99 (premium package) – North America
$349.95 (basic package) or $429.95 (premium package) – Australia
£249.00 (basic package) or £299.00 (premium package) – UK
Well it’s nice to know that your Christmas present won’t cost too much, especially compared to some other release prices *ahem – PlayStation 3*. Although most of these prices are official, straight from Nintendo’s mouth, Europe has been left to its own devices, allowing retailers to set the asking price. The prices listed for Europe and the UK above are only averages, though obviously nearer the time, we’re bound to see a huge price war, meaning that if you play your cards right, you can get this brand new entertainment system for a much lower price.
What may have also caught your eye are the two different packages available to you. The basic package (aimed more to the interested yet not obsessed gamers, as well as the ones with less cash) will give you the white console with 8GB of storage along with a white GamePad, HDMI cable (so that you can drool over the first ever high definition Nintendo graphics. Unless you live in Europe of course, where you’ll have to make do with purchasing on separately, as it’s not included.) and sensor bar (again, not if you live in Europe. Face it, you’re just unloved).
On the other hand, the premium package (mostly for the fanboys) gives you a black Wii U, with a more ideal 32GB of storage, a black GamePad, a HDMI cable, a charging station for your controller, stands for both the GamePad and console, Nintendoland to play your days away on, a sensor bar and Nintendo Premium, allowing you get discounts in the online store. Phew, that’s a lot of stuff.
Size and Weight
1.8in tall, 10.6in deep and 6.75in long
1.6kg in weight
As you can tell by these dimensions, the Wii’s baby brother is now lying down, rather than standing tall, which allows you to sit it on top of other consoles and continue stacking in the future. If you don’t understand these sizes, it just a tiny bit bigger than the Wii was, which is a given as it has a lot more power to hold inside it. However, it’s slightly thinner and heavier than the last generation, though for most people who don’t place their consoles on top of the scales as soon as they receive it, the new size will be almost unnoticeable. And if you do notice it, just remember that it’s curvier this time around, and curves are sexier, right?
The old Wii controllers – of course, in order to fit in with the backwards compatibility of the games, this console requires backwards compatibility of controllers. That and these controllers were extremely comfortable to throw around your living room, so why not allow them to be used again? Just try to miss the lights this time.
GamePad – the one you’ve all been waiting for. It boasts a 6.2in LCD screen with a 16:9 ratio. Basically it’s slightly larger than your phone’s screen, yet smaller than your tablet. A modest size really. It weighs in at around 500g, which is heavy when compared to how thin it looks, but light in comparison to most other things. It also includes stereo speakers, a front-facing camera, motion control, microphone, rumble and NFC (which allows you to put real life objects into games such as a Mario figurine or extra hearts, though this isn’t used by any of the launch games). Considering what it provides you with, the ¥13440 price tag isn’t all that high.
Wii U Pro Controller – this Xbox 360 controller lookalike is… well just that. A comfortable, more hardcore way to play through your games, that doesn’t involve drawing patterns on your screen or slashing your arm through the air. That’s right neighbours, try and make fun of me now! This is also being sold at about a third of the WiiPad’s price. Affordable in terms of controllers. Just about.
IBM POWER7-based multi-core processor (rumoured to have 4 CPU Cores and 2 MB shared L3 cache, 3 GHz clock speed, 4 threads per core, 45 nm process, Advanced power savings features and design, 256 KB L2 cache per core)
Don’t worry, it’s not just you getting confused by all this jargon and seeing as it’s not really of great importance to the consumer (unless you’re tech-savvy or a developer), it’s not a crime if you are a bit lost. But it has to mean something right? Otherwise they wouldn’t have changed it from the Wii. Basically this means that the games you play can load a bit faster and have cleverer AI, which might not necessarily be a good thing – as soon as they figure out how to use nuclear weapons effectively, we’re all screwed. As well as this, the console is a tiny bit cheaper using this processor than a different one (due to the 45 nm transistors). And the obvious part, the power saving features, mean that your electricity bill won’t be as high as with some other electronics and it’s better for the environment too. See, playing videogames isn’t all that bad, you’re saving the polar bears’ lives! Sort of…
Custom AMD Radeon High Definition GPU
Still lost? Don’t worry, the graphics card is much easier to understand, this basically shows that the Wii U is capable of high-end graphics (bet you never guessed that did you?) It’s finally on par with its rivals in that games are now able to be played in 1080p (though they will look a bit better on the Wii U), meaning that you can ogle that beautiful sunset as Yoshi flies away in the distance. Or, you know, look out your window – I heard those graphics are fantastic.
2GB Total; 1GB for games and 1GB for System Software
Considering that the Xbox 360 carries just 512MB of RAM and the PS3 has even less – just 256Mb – this seems like an incredible number. Or maybe not so incredible, depending how technical you are. All this means for the consumer is that you won’t have to wait around for loading times because the console can load resources in the background (our prayers have been answered!) and if you ever get bored of saving Hyrule, you can always switch out to Netflix, sob your eyes out at The Lion King, and switch back into control of Link’s life without having to quit the game. Poor little Simba… I mean, of course you watch big manly films, with guns, death and sex. You big pansy.
As previously mentioned, the basic comes with 8GB of storage and the premium version comes with a much nicer 32GB. To be honest, this seems to be where the console is lacking – especially as GameCube games are available for download, which would no doubt fill the smaller of the two sizes in a few minutes. The other consoles of the previous generations figured that one out pretty quickly, so it’s a wonder why Nintendo didn’t catch on. However, this seems to be more to keep the initial cost down rather than just not understanding the necessary amount of storage space, as you’re now offered four USB ports and an SD card slot in order to extend that storage. Now I get it; pay less now, pay more in a couple of weeks time. Clever Nintendo.
4 x USB 2.0 ports
Notable here are the extra USB slots available, allowing you to have even more items dangling around your console while you set up your virtual band. Apart from that, there’s nothing all that different from the Wii, but would it kill Nintendo to have one or two USB 3.0s? Modernise!
25GB of data
Now that’s a lot. And we mean a lot. That’s almost three times the size of the Wii’s dual layer disc and on par with the Blu-rays for the PS3. Think how many lost princesses and elf-boys that could hold. On release, you will have absolutely no problem getting your hands on the largest games, without the hassle of multiple discs. However, in a few years to come, this may not be the same story, what with developers adding more and more crap into games. If we want to keep seeing these games though, it’s probably not best to complain. We love you game devs!
A nice assortment can be seen in the 51 launch titles. Ranging from casual to Mario to the much-anticipated ZombiU, there’ll no doubt be something for everyone to jump on this Christmas. And just what could be better than losing those few holiday pounds before cracking out your virtual weapons and racking up numerous headshots? 51 launch titles is considerably more than any other home console ever released (not to mention the hundreds of Wii games), which is a blessing in many players’ eyes, yet could also be considered as annoying in others. Really all it means is that quite a few will be forgotten, while the best will thrive in the market. Plus it lets every family member buy you one game each at Christmas and not just the lucky few. That’s generosity.
On top of all this, the Wii U is energy efficient, meaning that all the green kids out there will be satisfied. Something tells me that the players’ energy won’t be spent quite as wisely though. Now that you know the details, it’s time to mark your calendars and start the countdowns. Not long to go!