We've known about the Nintendo Wii U, the followup to the somehow-both-popular-and-niche Wii, for a long time. Like, more than a year. But it's almost here, and today Nintendo showed off more of it, in more detail. Here's what's actually interesting about it.
IT HAS A TABLET THING
Imagine a post-iPad version of the Sega Dreamcast's VMU, that little Tamagotchi-type thing that lived in the Dreamcast's controller. Stick a screen in the controller! Now you have two screens! This one is a touchscreen, and it's sort of uncreatively called the Gamepad. You can play games on your TV or on the Gamepad, you can see extra stuff on it (like football plays or world maps), and it also functions as a remote control for all of the Wii U's remote control stuff (see: next category). You can buy the Gamepad separately, but you can only use up to two at a time, and they won't be cheap (maybe around $175, though we're not sure yet).
Just like the Wii had the big motion-control idea, and the DS had the multiple screens, this is Nintendo's Weird Gimmick That Might Actually Be Fun, 2012 Edition.
IT WILL HAVE TV
One of the sneakiest things the game-makers have done in recent years is slowly but surely transform their consoles into legit media centers. This doesn't get talked about enough, but the fact is that the PS3 is a pretty decent media center and the Xbox 360 is at least as good as the Apple TV or Roku. Nintendo has had Netflix but not much else, so the Wii U is an attempt to get in on that market a bit. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and, oddly, TiVo are all on board. This part of the console is called TVii, pronounced like it didn't have those last two letters, and we basically have no idea how it works. For real! Watch this:
So it has DVR functionality through TiVo. What does that mean? Do you plug a TiVo into it? Does it just have TiVo software and you plug your coaxial cable into it? Where are shows and movies stored--on the Wii U's meager storage (8GB or 32GB), or on another device? Or in the cloud? Does it have an HD antenna? It seems mostly like a Google TV--plug everything into it, and then you have one device that collects all of your content--rather than a cord-cutting enabler like a Boxee Box. But nobody knows exactly what this thing does.
IT WILL HAVE GAMES
I'm not listing them. Go read that somewhere else. Or watch this.
IT ISN'T CHEAP
The Wii U costs $300 for the 8GB version and $350 to upgrade to a version with 32GB of storage, plus a subscription to Nintendo Network Premium (for discounts on future games) and a copy of Nintendoland, which looks fun. Not cheap! For $300 you can get an Xbox 360 with either a Kinect or a 250GB hard drive.
IT IS RISKY
Nobody's ever made a good two-screen gaming system, ever. The Dreamcast would win my vote for Most Charming Game Console of all time, but it was 1) not a success by any other metric and 2) abandoned the two-screen thing pretty much immediately because it didn't work. And a lot of folks will call this a make-or-break for Nintendo, although when you only make one system every five or ten years, every single release could be a make or break.
IT COMES OUT NOVEMBER 18th
That's when you can buy it.
I really hate how the price keeps getting compared to the PS3 or Xbox 360. Those systems are both as old or older than the Wii, both of which cost more when they launched than the Wii U launch price. But as with all technology the price comes down over time. When the next Xbox or Ps launch they will likely be priced at this same price point or even higher.
Besides, if you buy an Xbox 360 now 'for the same price as a Wii U' you're not getting the same value. You're getting a console nearing the end of its life cycle. In the next year to 18 months Microsoft will likely release it's successor, so you've paid $350 for at most 18 months. The Wii U is just at the beginning of its life, and it's a Nintendo console so the chances of it failing are slim.
Stop comparing fresh apples to old apples.
This all seems silly. 350$ for a console is pretty steep, especially when you get a mere 32GB of storage. They're trying to make this a media device to compete with the 360 and PS3, and video (especially HD content) is huge. The price to capacity ratio for solid state isn't good enough yet. Putting say a 500 GB HDD would make this worth 350$, but just barely.
And 175$ is quite a lot for a what I think is a silly gimmick controller. Why would I want to be looking back and forth between their controller and their TV? And its pretty big. It looks pretty awkward to have to switch from joysticks to buttons on the fly. For 175$ I can get a half decent android tablet that will do more and provide far more entertainment.
We don't need to re invent the way we play games. We've been using hand held controllers since gaming began and its what works. Nintendo's only breakthrough controller innovation was the analog stick on the N64.
it has roughly the same performance as the XBOX360/PS3 (with LESS storage, and probably no way to increase it) and it's having mostly the same games from those systems ported to it.
it's impossible not to compare the two, hell you can't even consider it a next gen console, considering it's hardly any more powerfull than PCs were half a decade ago.
this system is going to be a bust, no doubt.
nobody wants a giant ass tablet as a controller, and no one wants to have to recharge their controller ever three hours (that screen is going to KILL batteries)
but you can use the wiimote with it anyway right? so maybe it wont be THAT big a deal.
anyway who wants to pay $350 for a system that brings nothing new to the table?
current PCs -even consoles for that matter- do EVERYTHING the wiiU is trying to sell itself with
i'm disappointed nintendo >:(
I thinks with all technology the price comes down over time. When the next Xbox or Ps launch they will likely be priced at this same price point or even higher.
I owned a Dreamcast and that system was one of my favorites. The two screens worked fine when used. The Dreamcast failed dut to it being so expensive to develope for since it was way ahead for its time, not because it had two screens. And no one has made a "console" who's main selling point was two screens however Ninentdo had made a 2 sceen gaming device that has more than stomped the competition...forgot about the DS? It has stomped the PsP. And the Wii U is said to be ahead of current gen in graphics...3D will not catch on for a while, most people don't like it...hence why the 3DS is struggling still.
Oh and Nintendo has advanced how we play games multiple times. The D-pad was first (NES), then the left and right button on the top of the controller (SNES), analog stick (N64) and then finnaly motion controls....everytime being copied by their competitors. If gaming isn't reinvented every so often it will die.
"Make it so"
Does no one remember how much even the Ps2 and the OG XBOX on launch? This is nothing compared to them. I am also not real sure how any one can say you "get less" it seems that Nintendo has some large plans for this as far as the media center aspect goes. How bout we hold judgment till all the facts are in.
Nintendo won't be offering extra tablet controllers in NA. Second the console has 2GB of RAM. That's four times the amount of RAM when compared to both 360 and PS3. A direct price comparison isn't very accurate in that the WiiU does have better hardware, well except storage. Though the WiiU supports expanded storage via SDHC card, USB stick, and external HDD storage. I'm just amazed how many inaccuracies made it into this one small article.
The 3DS has been immensely successful since the price drop. The new XL model is flying off shelves. In other words, it's not struggling, it's selling like hotcakes.