Wednesday, June 8, 2011
On Tuesday morning, Nintendo debuted the Wii U, the company’s newest video game system. It’s the successor to the blockbuster Nintendo Wii, which has sold more than 86 million units worldwide, and the first announced member of the next generation of game hardware.
It’s also a whole lot of fun.
Earlier this week, Nintendo gave me an advance preview of the device. I’ve handled the hardware and tested out a few games, and while the product I saw was not finished, I can tell you that it’s a big leap for the company. This device closes some glaring technological gaps between Nintendo and its main competitors, Microsoft and Sony. And more importantly, it introduces new, exciting modes of gameplay. The Wii U breaks the decades-old convention of gamers holding controllers while staring at a TV screen.
Before I get into detail, allow me a short disclaimer: The hardware I played with was a prototype, not a finished production model, and the games I played with were essentially proof of concept demos, not necessarily software under development. Nintendo says the console’s actual release date will fall sometime between April 1 and December 31, 2012, so lots may change before it hits stores. That said, I believe I got a good feel for the console and what it will eventually look like.
The first thing to note about the new console is that it offers full 1080p high definition video — a feature sorely lacking in the Wii. The graphics on this system look great, as good as anything you’ve seen on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, even in this early prototype stage.
The big idea that sets the Wii U apart from its predecessors and competitors is a new kind of controller. Instead of a hand-sized game pad studded with joysticks and buttons, or the motion sensitive wand used on the Wii, the Wii U is controlled essentially by a tablet computer. It looks and feels a lot like an Amazon Kindle –just with a few more buttons and a color screen.
The controller is about the size of a hardcover book, with a 6.2″ LCD touch screen at the center. On the borders of the screen there’s a traditional direction pad, buttons, and two control sticks. On the back, there’s two trigger buttons, and a ridge that makes the whole thing easier to keep in your hands. You’re meant to grip it in front of you with hands on the left and right edges.
That color touch screen is the key to everything that’s different and cool about the Wii U. On the most basic level, it allows the system to convey more information to the player; something complementary to what’s on the main monitor, like maps, inventory information, or different camera angles.
Full article: http://blogs.forbes. … -the-nintendo-wii-u/