Wii U

Image: Nintendo.

Nintendo has officially unveiled the Wii’s successor, known as Wii U. What follows is my attempt at a comprehensive report consisting of all the information we have regarding this new system. This article was last updated on June 13.

This piece follows the proud tradition of Splodinator’s comprehensive report on the no-longer-rumoured Project CafĂ©.

Once again, this report is intended to be a living document. I will update it regularly as new information is uncovered up until the system’s launch. If you have any additional information regarding the Wii U that I have missed, please share it in the comments section below. I would like to maintain a full list of the games and technical demonstrations shown for the system.

Reveal and Release Date

Nintendo announced on April 25, 2011 that they were developing a successor to the Wii home console. The company indicated at that time that additional details would be revealed at E3 2011.

At their June 7, 2011 E3 press conference, did indeed unveil their new system, named Wii U.

The Wii U is slated for launch sometime between April 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012.

Price

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has stated that the system will come in at a price competitive with the PS3 and 360 at their current prices “in terms of value.”

Controller

Wii U

Image: Nintendo

Wii U

Image: Nintendo

The Wii U’s most unique feature is its controller. The system’s input device (shown above) is reminiscent in design of a tablet. It is comprised of a 6.2″ 16:9 single-touch touch screen, two analog Circle Pads, four face buttons (A/B/X/Y), a directional pad, and four trigger buttons (L/R/ZL/ZR), as well as an accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble, microphone, stereo speakers, front-facing camera, sensor strip, and stylus.

Although the system will be able to use more than one Wii U controller at a time, development focus at this time is on only using one. Additional controllers will not initially be sold separately.

Up to four Wii Remotes can be used with the Wii U at once. The system also supports all of the Wii’s accessories, including Nunchuck, Classic Controller, and Balance Board.

A Wii Zapper like device to support the Wii U’s controller for shooting games has also been shown.

System Hardware

Wii U

Image: Nintendo

The Wii U is powered by an IBM Power-based multi-core microprocessor. More specifically, it uses a 45nm custom chip in the same product family as the processor used in IBM’s Watson supercomputer. The chip also has an undefined amount of embedded DRAM, described as “a lot.” The system uses a custom AMD Radeon HD GPU.

The system is reportedly “50%” more powerful when it comes to processing power than the PS3 and 360, although the meaning of that claim is unclear. The system’s CPU may be 50% more powerful, but without information on the system’s RAM and GPU, its graphical capabilities remain unclear.

Nintendo’s Wii U includes four USB 2.0 slots.

The system is capable of 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, and 480i resolutions. It is compatible with HDMI, component, S-video, and composite cables. For audio, the system includes an AV Multi Out port and six-channel PCM linear output through HDMI.

The system is not significantly larger than the current Wii. Its dimensions are 45 x 165 x 255mm.

Software

In addition to the standard software support provided by Nintendo, the Wii U appears to have strong third party support. This includes a “special” relationship with EA.

The following games have been announced for the Wii U:

Additionally, the following technical demonstrations have been given (some of these may turn into games):

CryTek has announced that its CryEngine is already close to fully running on the Wii U. The Unreal Engine 3 and 4A engine also run on the system.

Backward Compatibility

The Wii U is fully backwards compatible with the Wii’s games, controllers, and accessories. The new system will not upscale Wii games. It is not backwards compatible with GameCube games, accessories, and controllers.

Storage

Nintendo’s new system will have internal flash memory, expandable with SD memory cards and USB hard drives.

Format

The Wii U uses proprietary 12-cenimeter 25GB high-density optical discs. It also supports Wii optical discs. The system is not compatible with Blu-Ray discs.

Online

Very little has been said of Wii U’s online capabilities. We do know that downloadable games will be available.

According to third party developer Ubisoft, friend codes are also gone.

Wii U: The Comprehensive Report (updated June 13)