When asked what he thought of Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U, Kevin Reagan, a sophomore history major at Maryville College, responded with, “What’s that? Is it like the new Wii or something?”
Reagan is not the only person who is unaware about Nintendo’s new videogame console. The Wii U is the first in line of the next generation of video game consoles, and will be released on Nov. 18 in the U.S. The U.S. release date is a surprising move on Nintendo’s part, considering it will occur earlier than the release date in Nintendo’s home country, Japan, on Dec. 8.
Nintendo’s new console will have a basic version with 8GB of memory that will sell for $299.99 and another that has 32GB of memory that will sell for $349.99. Reggie Fils-Aime, president of U.S. Nintendo of America, noted at a launch reveal on Sept. 13 that games will be abundant for players, differing from how Nintendo’s 3DS system was launched, which caused the system to experience a harsh decline in sales.
As for the system itself, the Wii U has two unique factors that help set it apart from other systems. One factor is the GamePad. With every Wii U comes a GamePad that serves as your console’s main hub. Users can browse everything on their console via the pad without even turning on a TV. It also serves as the controller for games.
The GamePad provides analog sticks typical of gaming consoles, like the PS3 and XBOX 360, doing away with the circle pads used by most handheld gaming consoles. The GamePad also serves as a screen, which provides users the ability to view Netflix movies, surf the web and even play some of their Wii U titles without the need of a TV.
The other unique factor is that Nintendo is marketing the console as an entertainment system. Nintendo is going to release a feature called “Nintendo TVii,” which collects various means of TV and movie viewing and provides easy access to users. This means that the TVii application will allow people to have access to Hulu, Amazon Netflix and even view footage of live TV through their Wii U device.
The TVii feature also offers users the ability to share what they view via Facebook and Twitter with their friends. This feature will be available at launch with paid subscriptions for subscriptions to the various instant video services offered.
As for game play using the Nintendo Wii U GamePad and a TV, little has been said as to how it will work. Nintendo seems to be focusing more on GamePad usage and has not released a lot of information detailing if they will focus on motion control and player’s physical action in games like they did with the Wii.
TheWii U is backwards compatible with regular Wii games, so there will presumably be some motion play involved in the system somewhere. There are still many things to look forward to from Nintendo before Nov. 18. One thing is certain, if the Wii U turns out to be as big of a hit as its predecessor, great things will be heading Nintendo’s way.