Wii U questions

We need to know.

Fans, analysts, and critics were expecting Nintendo’s press conference at E3 2012 to shed light on the company’s new home console, Wii U. Unfortunately, Nintendo’s conference failed to impress, and despite over an hour dedicated to Wii U, many were left with the same questions they had going in.

Nintendo had made it clear that Wii U’s price and launch date would not be disclosed at E3, which is understandable from a marketing perspective, but the company is planning to launch the system before the end of the year, so hardware details and system features should be nailed down by this point. Here’s a quick rundown of the top five questions Nintendo still needs to answer.

5. What about achievements?

Heading into E3, rumours swirled of a system-level achievements program for Wii U that even included the ability for points to unlock additional features.

Unfortunately, no word of such a system has been offered from Nintendo, despite the demands of gamers who have come to love similar services on competing platforms.

4. How much internal memory will be included, and what about cloud storage?

We know that Wii U includes some internal flash memory, but not how much. Nintendo has confirmed and reiterated that SD memory cards and external USB storage will be supported, suggesting that what’s included in-system won’t be enough for more invested gamers.

Along with achievements, cloud storage for game saves and other content has been rumoured, but at this point Nintendo has not given any sign that such a service will be available on Wii U.

Speaking of memory, the storage capacity of Wii U optical discs has not been revealed either.

Image: New Super Mario Bros. U. Nintendo.

3. Just what will be playable on the GamePad screen?

Although Nintendo has indicated that some games will be playable entirely on the Wii U GamePad tablet, many games and features require both GamePad and TV use simultaneously. Other titles appear to have limited functionality while restricted to the tablet. We need a clearer picture of which games need what.

Personally, I want to know if Virtual Console purchases will be playable without use of the TV. The necessary controls are right there on the tablet, so it would make sense.

2. How will you connect with other players online?

Despite all the attention Nintendo has given to its Miiverse social network, it’s not know how gamers will actually connect with one another.

We know user accounts are on the way, but we’ve also heard conflicting reports of whether the dreaded Friend Code system of Wii will be returning. Perhaps the two methods will work in conjunction somehow, but we just don’t know.

Wii U promises all kinds of online socializing, sharing, and even FaceTime-style video calls, but considering Nintendo’s poor online track record, it’s hard to get excited for any of it without knowing how easy it will be to connect.

Watch Dogs

Image: Watch Dogs. Ubisoft.

1. Where are the games?

Nintendo and third party developers have only announced Wii U games scheduled to release alongside, or shortly after, the launch of the system. That leaves consumers unsure of the Wii U’s long-term potential.

It’s safe to assume Nintendo is working on plenty more than just New Super Mario Bros. U and Pikmin 3, but what about other developers? It’s been many generations since third party support could be taken for granted on a Nintendo system, and the current lack of information on multiplatform titles is disconcerting.

Resident Evil 6 will be out around the same time as Wii U, yet it’s apparently not coming to the system. Watch Dogs includes tablet functionality that makes it an obvious candidate for Wii U, but it’s not on the way either.

Top Five Wii U Questions Nintendo Still Needs to Answer