A white Wii U console (right) and Wii U GamePad (left)
|Manufacturer||Nintendo, Foxconn, Mitsumi|
|Type||Video game console|
|Introductory price||US$299/¥26,250 (Basic Set)
US$349/¥31,500 (Deluxe/Premium Set)
|Units shipped||Worldwide: 5.86 million
(as of December 31, 2013)
|Operating system||Wii U OS|
|Power||75 W power supply|
|CPU||1.24 GHz Tri-Core IBM PowerPC "Espresso"|
|Memory||2 GB DDR3 @ 1600 MHz|
|Storage||Internal flash memory:
8 GB (Basic Set) / 32 GB (Deluxe Set)
USB storage device
|Display||Wii U GamePad (FWVGA)|
|Graphics||550 MHz AMD Radeon "Latte" GPU|
|Sound||5.1 Linear PCM, Analog stereo|
|Camera||1.3 Megapixels (Wii U GamePad)|
|Touchpad||Resistive touchscreen (Wii U GamePad)|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
4 × USB 2.0
|Dimensions||Width: 17.2 cm (6.8 in)
Height: 4.6 cm (1.8 in)
Length: 26.9 cm (10.6 in)
|Weight||1.5 kilograms (3.3 lb)|
|Best-selling game||New Super Mario Bros. U, 3.89 million
(as of December 31, 2013)
|Wii, Virtual Console|
The Wii U (pronounced / /) is a video game console from Nintendo and the successor to the Wii. The system was released on these dates: November 18, 2012, in North America; November 30, 2012, in the PAL regions; and on December 8, 2012, in Japan. As the first entry in the eighth generation of video game home consoles, it directly competes with Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One.
The Wii U is the first Nintendo console to support high-definition graphics. The Wii U's primary controller is the Wii U GamePad, which features an embedded touchscreen. Each software title may be designed to utilize this touchscreen as being supplemental to the main TV, or as the only screen for Off-TV Play. Each game may support any combination of the GamePad, the Wii Remote, the Wii Nunchuk, the Wii Balance Board, or Nintendo's more classically shaped Wii U Pro Controller. The system is backward compatible with Wii software; this mode also utilizes Wii-based controllers, and it optionally offers the GamePad as its primary Wii display and motion sensor bar. Nintendo features these online platforms for Wii U and 3DS: the Nintendo eShop for official software and content; and Miiverse, a social network which is dedicated to free use by Nintendo system owners and is variously integrated with games and applications.
- 1 History
- 2 Hardware
- 3 User interface
- 4 Software and services
- 5 Network features
- 6 Games
- 7 Reception
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The console was first conceived in 2008, after Nintendo recognized several limitations and challenges with the Wii, such as the general public perception that the system catered primarily for a "casual" audience. With Wii U, Nintendo explicitly wishes to bring "core" gamers back. Game designer Shigeru Miyamoto admitted that the lack of HD and limited network infrastructure for Wii also contributed to the system being regarded in a separate class to its competitors' systems, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was decided that a new console would have to be made to accommodate significant structural changes.
Ideas on which direction to take for the new console led to a lot of debate within the company, and the project started over from scratch on several occasions. The concept of a touchscreen embedded within the controller was originally inspired by the blue light on the Wii disc tray that illuminates to indicate new messages. Miyamoto and his team wanted to include a small screen to provide game feedback and status messages to players (in similar vein to the VMU for Sega's Dreamcast). Much later in development, this was expanded to a full screen that could display the game being played in its entirety, a concept which was suggested but not financially viable earlier in the project.
Initial beliefs about Wii's successor were that the new console would be an "enhanced version" named the "Wii HD." Many journalists speculated that it would have a high-definition video output along with a Blu-ray Disc drive built in with a release sometime in 2011. However, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata later stated that he saw "no significant reason" to include HD into the Wii and that such an addition would be better suited for a successor. Shigeru Miyamoto also expressed Nintendo's interest in working with HD graphics but clarified that the company is primarily focused on the gameplay experience. In October 2009, Miyamoto said that they had no concrete plans about a successor yet, but knew that the successor would possibly still feature motion controls and they expected its interface to be "more compact" and cheaper. Iwata also mentioned that the Wii's successor might be 3D-compatible but concluded that the adoption rates of 3D televisions should increase to at least 30% first.
In 2010, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime commented that he felt "confident the Wii home entertainment console has a very long life in front of it" and declared that a successor would not be launched in the near future. At the E3 2010 presentation, Iwata revealed to the BBC that they would begin announcing a new console once Nintendo ran "out of ideas with the current hardware and cannot give users any more meaningful surprises with the technology [they had]". Later, at an investor's meeting, he disclosed that they were "of course studying and developing the next console to Wii", but they were simultaneously keeping its concepts secret because it was "really important for [his] business to positively surprise people." Reggie Fils-Aime commented in a CNN article and claimed that Nintendo's next home console would not likely feature stereoscopic 3D, based on the 3D technology Nintendo had experimented with.
In April 2011, an uncredited source indicated that Nintendo was planning on unveiling the successor to the Wii during E3 2011, codenamed Project Café, that would be capable of gameplay in HD resolutions and would be backward compatible with Wii software. It was also rumored that the console would feature an all new controller with a built in high-resolution screen. The origin of the rumor for the codename (and many other details) was French technology publication 01net. 01net had previously revealed the technical specifications of Sony's PlayStation Vita before it was announced. The new machine was believed twice as powerful as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Many claims focused on the new controller, which would feature dual analog sticks, a standard D-pad, two bumpers, two triggers and "possibly more". IGN compared the functionality of the new controller to a Nintendo GameCube controller. 01net claimed the controller would be "a touch tablet controller, with moderate graphic output", comparing the controller to an iPad with buttons. They also added that there would be a front-facing camera on the controller. Supposedly, the controller would also feature six-axis motion controls that outperform a PlayStation Move motion controller (in terms of fidelity), as well as a built-in sensor bar. The new controller features a 6.2-inch touchscreen. 01net took the rumor a step further and claimed that the touchscreen would be single-touch. Sources from CVG claimed that the controller featured a high-resolution screen. IGN claimed that the controller would allow players to stream entire games to the controller from the console, and that the console itself "is likely to resemble a modernized version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)."
According to Edge, software developer THQ's president Brian Farrell allegedly told investors: "We don't expect new hardware any time soon from either Microsoft or Sony. It's different on Nintendo – we'll let them announce their new hardware".
On April 25, 2011, Nintendo released a statement officially announcing a system to succeed the Wii. They simultaneously announced that it would be released during 2012, and that playable console units would be present at E3 2011 (June 7–9). Speaking at an investor's conference, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata stated the Wii successor would "offer something new for home game systems." Iwata also confirmed that the successor to the Wii would not launch in the fiscal year of 2012, meaning that it would release after April 2012.
On May 4, 2011, Kotaku reported that Project Café would have 8 GB of flash-based memory on board, with the assumed purpose of storing game saves. The game discs used by the console were said to be of a proprietary format, and to hold up to 25 GB of data, which is similar to the capacity of a single-layer Blu-ray Disc. In early June, Nikkei issued a report confirming earlier rumors that the new console would feature a controller with a 6 inch touchscreen that would give tablet-like controls to games, as well as a rechargeable battery and a camera. Nikkei said the system would be released in mid-2012.
A prototype version of the Wii U was showcased at E3 2011. The design of the console and controller were not definitive versions. The controller demonstrated a touch screen over 6 inches wide and contained a built-in microphone, speakers, gyroscope, accelerometer, rumble and camera. All processing is done on the console itself, with the output displaying on either on a TV, the controller, or both simultaneously; however, the screen only supports single touch, not multitouch, going against a popular trend across the technology industry, and, at the time of unveiling, the system only supported output to one tablet controller at a time. This was despite reports that Nintendo was looking into allowing such functionality in the final version of the hardware. Games confirmed for the new console included New Super Mario Bros. U and Pikmin 3, the latter of which was originally in development for the Wii but was later switched to the Wii U. A list of third-party titles was also announced to be available at release, and were on show with trailers from PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions.
In the two days following the unveiling of the Wii U, Nintendo's stock value fell nearly 10 percent to levels not seen since 2006. Some analysts expressed skepticism in regards to the addition of a touch screen to the controller, expressing concern that the controller would be less affordable and less innovative than the original Wii Remote. When asked about whether or not the Wii U was going to support 3D, Iwata told San Jose Mercury News, "If you are going to connect Wii U with a home TV capable of displaying 3-D images, technologically, yes, it is going to be possible, but that's not the area we are focusing on."
On January 26, 2012, Iwata told investors that the Wii U would be launched by the end of the 2012 shopping season in all major regions, and that its final specifications would be revealed at E3 2012. Furthermore, Iwata stated that the console would feature a unified online system known as Nintendo Network, which would feature user account support as opposed to the use of friend codes. Nintendo Network would also provide the framework for online multiplayer interactions, add-on content sales, as well as online distribution of applications and video games. Moreover, Iwata mentioned that the Wii U GamePad would support NFC, which would allow the system to wirelessly interact with figurines and cards created by developers. It would also allow for microtransactions to take place wirelessly using credit cards that have NFC support.
On September 13, 2012, during a Japanese Nintendo Direct presentation, Nintendo announced that the new console would launch in Japan on December 8, 2012. Later that day, Nintendo announced that the North American launch date would be November 18, 2012. Nintendo of Europe and Nintendo Australia also announced that the Wii U would be released in both regions simultaneously on November 30, 2012.
The Wii U was originally released in two bundles: the Basic bundle and the Premium (WW) / Deluxe (US) bundle. The Basic bundle contains a white Wii U with 8 GB of on-storage, a white Wii U GamePad and stylus and an HDMI cable, while the Premium (WW) / Deluxe (US) contains a black Wii U with 32 GB of on-storage, a black GamePad and stylus, an HDMI cable, and adds a Nintendo Network Premium subscription, the Nintendo Land game (except Japan), as well as stands for the console and controller and a sensor bar (except Japan). On November 18, 2012, the Wii U launched in North America, price at US$299.99 for the Basic Set and US$349.99 for the Deluxe Set. The system was scheduled to launch on November 25, 2012 in Mexico, however, it was delayed to November 29. On November 30, the system launched in Europe, Australia and South Africa, with European pricing set by individual retailers. On December 8, 2012, the system launched in Japan, priced at ¥26,250 for the Basic Set and ¥31,500 for the Premium Set.
On July 13, 2013, Nintendo released a white version of the Premium Pack (32 GB) in Japan, as well as an official battery pack and charger dock for the Wii Remote. The battery pack is capable of lasting 13 hours of gameplay before needing to be recharged. Additionally, on July 25, the company released an improved battery pack for the Wii U GamePad. In contrast to the standard 1500mAh battery bundled with the console, the new 2550mAh battery pack will increase its longevity to between five and eight hours before needing to be recharged.
On August 28, 2013, Nintendo announced that the Premium (WW) / Deluxe (US) 32 GB Model would get a price drop from US$349.99 to US$299.99, in the United States, Europe and Australia. This price drop took effect starting on September 20, 2013.
On November 26, 2013, the Wii U launched in Brazil. However, the system is only available in the black Deluxe version in the region.
The Wii U utilizes a custom multi-chip module (MCM) developed by AMD, IBM and Renesas in cooperation with Nintendo. Its MCM combines a central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU), as well as an EEPROM memory controller. The CPU, designed by IBM, consists of a PowerPC 750-based tri-core processor "Espresso" clocked at 1.24 GHz. It is described by IBM as an "all-new, Power-based microprocessor", the processor is a multi-core design manufactured at 45 nm with an eDRAM cache of unknown size. It is produced by IBM at their 300 mm semiconductor manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, New York. The GPU, designed by AMD, consists of a AMD Radeon High Definition processor codenamed "Latte" packed with a 34 MB eDRAM cache built onto the die clocked at 550 MHz. The console also includes a secondary custom chip that handles undisclosed tasks. These tasks are handled seamlessly in the background during gameplay or while the system is in sleep mode. The console also contains a dedicated hardware audio DSP module.
The Wii U contains 2 GB of DDR3 system memory consisting of four 512 MB (4 Gb) DDR3-1600 DRAM chips with a maximum bandwidth of 12.8 GB/s, in which 1 GB reserved for the operating system and unavailable to games. This is 20 times the amount found in the original Wii. The GPU also features a 35 MB eDRAM cache memory. The memory architecture allows the CPU and GPU to access both the main DDR3 memory pool and the eDRAM cache memory pool, removing the need for separate, dedicated memory pools. The console includes either an 8 GB (Basic) or 32 GB (Premium (WW) / Deluxe (US)) internal flash memory, expandable via SD memory cards up to 32 GB and USB hard disk drives up to 2 TB, as well as external hard drives.
The Wii U also features 802.11 b/g /n wireless network connectivity and Fast Ethernet (requires an attachment), Bluetooth 4.0, four USB 2.0 ports (two at the rear and two at the front of the console) and an SD memory card slot (supports up to SDHC cards). An additional power port is also included to power the Wii Sensor Bar, an auxiliary infrared emitter first introduced on the Wii. Video output options include 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576i, 480p and 480i, through HDMI 1.4 and component video (YPBPR and D-Terminal) or 576i, 480i (standard 4:3 and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen) through composite video (S-Video, RGB SCART and D-Terminal). Audio output options include six-channel 5.1 linear PCM surround sound and analog stereo. The console also supports stereoscopic 3D images and video.
^[a] Neither Nintendo, IBM nor AMD has revealed detailed specifications, such as the number of cores, clock rate, or cache sizes. References have been made to the chip containing "a lot" of eDRAM and "the same processor technology found in Watson".
The Wii U GamePad is the Wii U's main controller. Up to two GamePads can be connected per console. The console is also compatible with up to four Wii Remote (Plus) (including the Nunchuk and Classic Controller attachments) or up to four Wii U Pro Controllers for more traditional controls, or a combination of the two. The console also supports the Wii Balance Board and every official Wii accessory, such as the Wii Wheel and Wii Zapper.
Wii U GamePad
The Wii U GamePad is the Wii U's primary controller and comes bundled with the console. It features a built-in 6.2 inch (15.7 cm) 16:9 resistive touchscreen, which can either supplement or replicate the gameplay shown on the television display. It also features a built-in front-facing camera and sensor strip, a built-in microphone, stereo speakers, and supports near field communication (NFC). The GamePad also features a nine-axis motion detection via a three-axis accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope and a three-axis magnetometer, and comes equipped with a rumble feature. It includes a removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery capable of storing 1500 mAh and lasting 3 to 5 hours. The controller weighs 1.1 lbs (500 g) and has dimensions of 130 × 23 × 260 mm (5.3 × 0.9 × 10.2 in). The GamePad's wireless communication with the Wii U console is based on IEEE 802.11n operating at ~5.2 GHz and technically supports repeaters, while using a proprietary transfer protocol and software co-developed by Broadcom and Nintendo. The Wii U GamePad is not compatible with the original Wii.
The GamePad features the following buttons: a HOME button, a TV CONTROL button, START (+) and SELECT (-) buttons, dual clickable analog sticks, a D-pad, four face buttons (A, B, X, Y), bumper buttons (R/L) and trigger buttons (ZL/ZR), and a POWER button. The Start and Select buttons are represented by "+" and "-" signs respectively. The analogue sticks are not restricted to 8-axis movement, a departure from previous Nintendo console controllers with analogue sticks. The TV Control button opens an interface on the Wii U GamePad that acts as a television remote control, allowing the user to change the volume, switch channels, change the video input and open a TV guide. This feature is also implemented in the Nintendo TVii system application. The Wii U GamePad also features a dedicated volume slider, which controls the controller's speakers' volume. It comes with a stylus for interacting with the touch screen. It has plastic grips in its rear in order to increase its grip.
The controller has several output connectors. Its stereo jack (3.5 mm connector) supports the connection of a headset to allow a user to speak and hear audio simultaneously. The controller features an infrared transceiver, part of the TV Control feature. It will also be able to communicate with accessories, such as the Fit Meter. There is also power port to recharge the controller, a Multi-Purpose External Extension Connector, which allows power and data transmission for future accessories, and two metal contacts, which serve as power connectors for the charging cradle. The controller is charged via a proprietary cable or a dedicated charging cradle.
The Wii U GamePad has a built-in near field communication (NFC) chip, which has the ability to read and write information on compatible items by simply placing them on top of the GamePad. It can be used to interact with special figurines, which is the case of Pokémon Rumble U, the first game to use the feature. According to Nintendo, it will also be used to make wireless credit card transactions using supported credit cards. The GamePad also allows for asymmetric gameplay, where the player using the controller has one gameplay experience, and competing players using a Wii Remote or a Wii U Pro Controller have different experiences. When using the "Off-TV Play" function, the controller can also function as a standalone screen without the use of the television screen.
Wii U Pro Controller
The Wii U Pro Controller is the second controller released for the console, available separately. Like more traditional controllers, it features standard analogue sticks, face buttons, and triggers. It can last up to 80 hours before needing to be recharged. Nintendo unveiled the Pro Controller at E3 2012 with the aim of attracting more "hardcore" gamers to make the Wii U more competitive with Sony and Microsoft's offerings. Many video game journalists have noted the similarity between the controller and Microsoft's Xbox 360 Controller. Nintendo claims that the design of the Pro Controller is an “enhanced version” of the Classic Controller and "offers a richer experience." Certain games with flexible control schemes, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Trine 2: Director's Cut, are also compatible with the Classic Controller. The Wii U Pro Controller is not compatible with previous-generation Wii games.
The Wii Remote (also known colloquially as the Wiimote) and Wii Remote Plus, which come with a built-in Wii MotionPlus sensor, are compatible with the Wii U. A main feature of the Wii Remote is its motion sensing capability, which allows the user to interact with and manipulate items on screen via gesture recognition and pointing through the use of accelerometer and optical sensor technology. Another feature is its expand-ability through the use of attachments. The Nunchuk, which complements the Wii Remote, provides an analogue stick and a set of trigger buttons that function similar to those in the Wii U GamePad. Some other attachments include the Classic Controller, which offers more traditional controls, similar to the Wii U Pro Controller; the Wii Zapper, which is mainly used for first person shooter games; and the Wii Wheel, originally used for Mario Kart Wii and now also compatible with Mario Kart 8 among other Wii U racing games.
On July 13, 2013, Nintendo released an official battery pack and charger dock for the Wii Remote capable of lasting 13 hours of gameplay before needing to be recharged.
The Wii U Optical Disc is a proprietary high-density optical disc, developed by Nintendo and Panasonic, and serves as the physical medium for Wii U games. The format is very similar in physical design and specifications as the Blu-ray Discs, sporting a capacity of 25 GB per layer. The console's read-only optical disc drive reads these discs at 5x CAV, for a maximum read speed of 22.5 MB/s. To further enhance optical drive performance, the Wii U will also feature Zlib decompression like its predecessor, allowing for greater real-term bandwidth. Wii U Optical Discs differ from other optical disc formats in that they have soft, rounded edges. It will also support Wii Optical Discs, albeit at 6x CAV for backwards compatibility with the Wii. However, the console is not backwards compatible with Nintendo GameCube Game Discs.
Each disc contains a burst cutting area (BCA) mark, a type of barcode that is written to the disc with a YAG laser. The data stored in this BCA mark includes an encrypted table related to the hardware-based copy-protection mechanics, in addition to 64 bytes of un-encrypted user-accessible data.
The Wii U uses either the Wii U Menu or the Wii Mode depending on which application it is going to launch. The Wii U Menu is used to access applications built specifically for the Wii U. On the other hand, the Wii Mode activates the system's backward compatibility with the original Wii and launches the Wii Menu.
Wii U Menu
The Wii U Menu is the main dashboard of the system and is directly integrated with Miiverse and the Nintendo Network. It is a graphical user interface similar to the Wii's "Wii Menu" and Nintendo 3DS' HOME Menu. It allows launching software stored on Wii U optical discs, applications installed in the internal memory or an external storage device, or Wii titles through the system's "Wii Mode". Like the original Wii, discs can also be hot-swapped while in the menu. The Wii U Menu also allows users to access system applications such as the Miiverse, surf the web using the Internet Browser, watch movies and TV shows on Nintendo TVii, download apps through the Nintendo eShop, and check for notifications. System settings, parental controls and the activity log can also be launched through the menu.
When the Wii U powers on, the television screen will show the WaraWara Plaza in which trending user status and comments on Miiverse are shown. Each user is represented by their respective Mii and is often associated with a Miiverse community. Users can save any Mii on the WaraWara Plaza to their personal library, Yeah! their post, write a comment, and send a friend request. By default, on the TV screen, the WaraWara Plaza is displayed while on the GamePad screen, application icons are displayed. These however can be swapped any time between the television screen and the GamePad screen.
The Home Menu (stylized as HOME Menu) can be accessed during any game or application through by pressing the Home Button on the Wii U GamePad, Wii U Pro Controller or Wii Remote. The Home Menu allows the user to launch certain multitasking applications, such as Miiverse, Nintendo eShop, Internet Browser, Nintendo TVii, and Friend List while a game or application is suspended. It also displays various information such as the current date and time, wireless signal status, number of friends online, remaining controller battery and controller settings. On-going downloads can also be managed in the Download Manager, which downloads and installs games and applications and their respective updates, as well as downloading system updates in the background, while a game or application is running.
Wii Mode is a fully virtual Wii system emulated on the Wii U, with all of the limitations and privileges therein. Wii mode can be launched from an icon on the HOME menu and by selecting a Wii game disc which has been inserted into the system. Although the Wii Shop Channel is fully available, not all of the content is; the Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube applications available on the Wii Shop Channel cannot be used on the Wii U. GameCube games and controllers are not compatible; thus software in Wii Mode can only be controlled using original Wii peripherals. Initially, "Wii Mode" could be displayed on a television screen but a post-release system update has allowed for Wii Mode to display on the Wii U GamePad screen simultaneously. In this setting, the GamePad's sensor bar can be used as an alternative to an ordinary sensor bar for pointing-based input from Wii Remote controllers.
TV Control is a Wii U GamePad feature that allows it to function as an infrared TV remote which allows the user to change channels, adjust volume or browse a programming guide, even when the system is not powered on. It is compatible with most cable and satellite providers' set-top boxes and most TV brands.
Software and services
Nintendo eShop is the Wii U's online software distribution service. The eShop provides downloadable Wii U titles, Virtual Console titles, and various applications and videos. It also allows users to purchase downloadable content (DLC) and automatically download patches for both physical and downloadable games. All content obtained from Nintendo eShop is attached to a Nintendo Network ID but can only be used in one system. Background downloading is possible via SpotPass, while playing a games or in sleep mode. Up to ten downloads can be queued at a time and their status can be checked on the Download Manager. If notifications are activated, a pop-up message will appear on the upper center of the Home Menu screen to notify the user that a download is finished.
The Nintendo eShop supports simple user software reviews. Users can submit a review with "stars" ranging from one to five, representing its quality in a crescent order. It is also possible to categorize the software whether it is suitable for hardcore or more casual players. User reviews can only be submitted after using the software for at least one hour.
Miiverse (portmanteau of "Mii" and "Universe") is an integrated social networking service, which allows players to interact and share their experiences through their own Mii characters. Miiverse allows users to seamlessly share accomplishments, comments hand written and game screenshots notes with other users. Select games are integrated with Miiverse, where social interactions can also occur within the game. Miiverse is moderated through software filtering as well as a human resource team in order to ensure that the content shared by users is appropriate and that no spoilers are shared. In order to facilitate this, it was stated that comments posted could take up to 30 minutes to appear on Miiverse.
On April 25, 2013, Miiverse also became available on web browsers for internet-enabled smartphone, tablet and PC devices. It later became available for the Nintendo 3DS in December 2013. Nintendo are also planning to release a specialized Miiverse app for smartphone and tablet devices in the future.
The Wii U features an application called Internet Browser which allows users to browse the web on the Wii U GamePad and/or the television screen. It functions as a multitasking application on the Wii U, so it can be used while another game or application is suspended in the background. The browser is primarily controlled using the Wii U GamePad's touchscreen, or with the analog stick to scroll through web pages and the D-pad to cycle through links on the page, similar to using a keyboard. It can play HTML 5 video and audio in websites such as YouTube and various other social media. The user can choose to hide the browser's view on the TV screen for privacy, which contains presentation effects such as the opening of stage curtains. The user can also choose between the Google and Yahoo! search engines. There is a text wrap option to automatically wrap text to the width of the screen at different zoom levels. Users can also create bookmarks, with each user having its own set of personal bookmarks. The browser also supports up to 6 tabs simultaneously. Up to 32 pages can be stored into the browser's history before the older items start being replaced.
Nintendo TVii is a free television based service which allows users to find programs on Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and on their cable network. Nintendo TVii also allows users to control their TiVo DVR through the Wii U. Users are then able to select the source of the program they wish to watch and watch it on their television or on the Wii U GamePad. By default, the GamePad screen shows information on the show currently being watched. This information includes reviews, screenshots, cast lists, trailers, and other general information about the show provided by Wikipedia, IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, as well as other individual source services. Nintendo TVii also has a dedicated sports section where the user can view player positions and highlights of the match updated in real-time.
Each user has its own personalized settings on Nintendo TVii, such as their preferences, favorite shows and sports teams, personal Mii and social network account integration. Users can then interact with their friends and the community by sharing and commenting on reactions to live moments on the current show, on social networks such as Miiverse, Facebook, and Twitter, through the GamePad while they watch their show on the television screen.
The service is currently only available in selected regions. Nintendo TVii was made available with the Wii U's release in Japan on December 8, 2012. It was released in North America on December 20, 2012 and was scheduled to be released in Europe sometime in 2013. However, the service still is currently unavailable in UK.
Other video services
Nintendo is also working with YouTube, LoveFilm (United Kingdom and Ireland only), Nico Nico Douga and YNN! (Japan only) to bring streaming movie and television content to the Wii U. Nintendo had initially delayed the deployment of some media capabilities for the Wii U as it delayed its online infrastructure. Late in the launch day, a firmware update deployed the Netflix app. Then, access to the Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube apps gradually became active later in the launch week.
Wii U Chat
Wii U Chat is Nintendo's online video chat solution, powered by the Nintendo Network. The service allows the users to use the Wii U GamePad's front-facing camera to video chat with registered friends. While video chatting, only the Wii U GamePad is essentially needed, since the application is compatible with Off-TV Play. Users can also draw on the GamePad during a chat session. If there is a game or another application already running, the GamePad's HOME button ring will flash indicating that there is an incoming call.
Wii Street U
Wii Street U is a built-in map application developed by Nintendo and Google for the Wii U. During a Nintendo Direct, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed that Google Maps will be integrated with the panorama feature of the Wii U. The player can choose any place from around the globe to look at, use the street view feature and can use the Wii U GamePad.
This application was available on Wii U eShop for free, until October 31, 2013.
Wii Karaoke U
Wii Karaoke U is a built-in karaoke app developed by Nintendo and Joysound for the Wii U. It licenses the Joysound online song library from Japanese karaoke service provider Xing. The game can use both the Wii U GamePad's microphone and any universal USB microphone connected to the Wii U console.
The game requires an Internet connection for players to access new songs to download. Buying tickets for songs from the Nintendo eShop, players rent the songs they want to sing for a limited period (from 24 hours to up to 90 days) from Joysounds's song library. Choosing a stage to perform on, players are able to select their own Mii characters to represent themselves. Players are also able to adjust options such as echo, key and speed of the song, and other players can use their Wii Remotes to accompany the singer by playing instruments such as cymbals and maracas. The game includes a lesson mode which trains and quizzes players on tone and rhythm.
It was released as a free app, titled Wii Karaoke U by Joysound, on the Nintendo eShop in Europe, on October 4, 2013.
Nintendo Network is Nintendo's unified network infrastructure similar to the Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live, and succeeds the previous Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. The Wii U is the second system to support Nintendo's new network infrastructure, alongside the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo outlined that the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection was created as a way for developers to experiment with their own network infrastructures and concepts, whereas the Nintendo Network is a fully unified network service. Nintendo Network provides the means for online multiplayer and other online interactions such as leaderboards and communication, as well as downloads and streaming media services.
The Wii U uses a user account system much like the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, called Nintendo Network ID. One Wii U system can contain up to twelve user accounts. The user account system on the Wii U replaces the previous friend code model that was used on the original Wii, but does not eliminate use of friend codes on Wii games using the Wii Mode. The Nintendo Network administration team also has administrators to remove inappropriate content from its services, such as Miiverse.
Nintendo Network Premium
Nintendo Network Premium (Deluxe Digital Promotion in North America) is a loyalty program similar to PlayStation Plus offered on PlayStation Network. Consumers who purchase the Premium (WW) / Deluxe (US) Wii U will receive a free two-year subscription to this service which lets Wii U owners receive points for each download purchase. Members who buy games and apps through the Wii U's Nintendo eShop will receive ten percent of the price back in the form of Nintendo Points, which can subsequently be put towards future online purchases on both the Wii U's and Nintendo 3DS's eShop. The promotion is currently planned through December 2014.
Similar to Nintendo 3DS's more distinctly mobile SpotPass functionality, the SpotPass feature is an online utility which is built into the Wii U console. It allows the Wii U to automatically download available content via Wi-Fi in the background even when the Wii U is already running an application, or powered off in sleep mode. Content that can be downloaded via SpotPass include full game and application downloads, firmware updates, patches, and specific in-game content. It can be customized to fit the user's preferences, including opting it out altogether for selected software. Content currently being downloaded can be viewed in the Download Manager, accessed via the Wii U's Home Menu.
Retail copies of games are supplied on proprietary optical discs called Wii U Optical Discs, which are packaged in keep cases with simple instructions. In Europe, retail boxes have a triangle at the bottom corner of the paper sleeve-insert side. The triangle is color-coded to identify the region for which the title is intended and which manual languages are included. Unlike with previous Nintendo consoles, the complete software manual is only available digitally via the system's Home Menu. Retail and download-only games are also available for download on the Nintendo eShop. The console is region locked (software purchased in a region can be only played on that region's hardware).
New games in Nintendo's flagship franchises (including Super Mario, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda), as well as several Wii series games (including Wii Sports Club, Wii Fit U and Wii Party U) have been released, in addition to many original titles and third-party-developed games. Nintendo has received third-party support from companies such as Ubisoft, Sega, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Activision Blizzard and Capcom, and various independent developers such as Two Tribes.
A total of 29.37 million Wii U games have been sold worldwide as of December 31, 2013, with 6 titles surpassing the million-unit mark. The most successful game, New Super Mario Bros. U, has sold approximately 3.89 million units worldwide. Another notable best-selling Wii U software title, Nintendo Land, sold 2.60 million units.
The Wii U was launched with 23 games in North America, 26 games in Europe, 25 games in Australia, and 11 games in Japan on December 8, 2012. Some download-only games were also available on launch day for the Wii U in North America, Europe, and Australia, via Nintendo eShop. An additional thirty games were announced for release during the system's "launch window", which includes the three months after the system's launch date.
|List of Wii U launch titles by region released|
|Launch title||Region(s) released on launch day||Launch title||Region(s) released on launch day|
|Assassin's Creed III||NA, EU||Batman: Arkham City||NA, EU|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops II||NA, EU||Darksiders II||NA, EU|
|Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
EUEpic Mickey: The Power of 2
|NA, EU||Sports Connection
NAESPN Sports Connection
NAFIFA Soccer 13
|NA, EU||Game Party Champions||NA, EU|
|Just Dance 4||NA, EU||New Super Mario Bros. U||NA, EU|
|Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge||NA||Nintendo Land||NA, EU|
|Rabbids Land||NA||Scribblenauts Unlimited||NA|
|Sing Party||NA||Skylanders Giants||NA, EU|
|Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed||NA, EU||Tekken Tag Tournament 2||NA, EU|
|Transformers: Prime – The Game||NA||Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper||NA|
|Wipeout 3||NA||Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013||NA|
The Off-TV Play feature lets the user play games only on the Wii U GamePad controller using its embedded touchscreen, without the need for the television to be powered on. This feature is available on certain games only. Due to a system update, "Wii Mode" can be played off-TV. However, regular Wii remotes and accessories need to be used to control the software.
Asymmetric gameplay is a form of multiplayer in video games in which multiple players can play the same game simultaneously in different ways and rules. For example, one player may play a game with different gameplay mechanics and rules on the Wii U GamePad's screen while the rest of the players play the same game with different rules on the television screen. This feature is a major component of various Wii U games such as Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U.
Dual screen multiplayer mode is also a unique feature of the Wii U. It functions similarly to a traditional split screen multiplayer mode without the need for an actual split screen. The Wii U GamePad and the TV can function as two separate screens, offering each player a full screen experience. Compared to Ad-hoc multiplayer, dual screen multiplayer is rendered on the same console and does not require two independent systems and multiple copies of the game.
In January 2013, Nintendo announced that NES and Super NES titles would be made available for the Virtual Console service on the Wii U in April 2013 and would include the option to use Off-TV Play on the Wii U GamePad and the ability to post on Miiverse dedicated communities. Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 64 titles will also be made available at a later date.
The Wii U is compatible with most Wii games, both on disc and download. Wii accessories such as the Wii Remote (Plus), Wii Nunchuk, and the Wii Balance Board also remain compatible. It is also possible to move most downloaded software and save files from the Wii to the Wii U. While original Wii games are playable on the Wii U console, they cannot be played on the Wii U GamePad. However, the fourth version of the system software allows players to see Wii gameplay on the GamePad screen when playing.
Regardless of the Wii's general compatibility with GameCube games, the Wii U is not directly compatible with GameCube discs or accessories. Nintendo has stated a general intention to eventually provision the Nintendo eShop with GameCube games in the form of Virtual Console titles, but that it has no such official announcement yet.
John Teti of The A.V. Club's Gameological Society considers the Wii U a compelling video game system which lacks focus, citing Nintendo Land as "ideas act[ing] in service of the technology" simply to show off features of the console. Ben Gilbert of Engadget states that Nintendo delivers on its promise of releasing "a modern HD gaming console," but notes that, "there are also some major missteps and half-baked ideas: a befuddling Friends List / Miiverse connection, a complete lack of many system-wide console standards (group chat, achievements, the ability to play non-game disc-based media) and a game controller that lasts only 3.5 hours," and stated that he could not give a complete assessment of the console with online components such as Nintendo TVii missing at launch time. Similarly, TechRadar praised the system's GamePad functionality and HD graphics, but criticized the limited battery power for the GamePad, and the insufficient number of top-tier game titles available during the launch period. Some industry figures do not consider the Wii U as an eighth-generation console, with many citing the hardware's processing speed as the reason. Reggie Fils-Aime, COO of Nintendo of America, however, has noted that similar comments were made in 2006 when the original Wii first launched.
By May 2013, Electronic Arts announced that they were dialing back support for the console and had no games in development for it at the time, but they partially reconsidered this decision a few days later, with EA's CFO announcing that "We are building titles for the Nintendo console, but not anywhere near as many as we are for Playstation or Xbox". At E3 2013, Ubisoft revealed that they were not going to make any more exclusives for the Wii U until sales of the console improved, though they stated shortly after that they are still "big supporters" of the Wii U, and plan to release as many Wii U games in 2013 as they did in 2012. Bethesda Softworks has announced that as of July 2013 they have no games in development for the Wii U, with Bethesda VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines explaining the decision: "It depends on the games that we are making and how we think it aligns with that console, and how the hardware aligns with the other stuff we are making". This explanation was later refined to being largely due to the hardware. Contrarily, Activision has stated that they will "do everything they can" to support the system and would continue to develop games for it.
Following the launch of other eighth-generation consoles, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, in November 2013, it has been suggested by some critics that the Wii U would continue to struggle as it lacked the third-party developer support of its rivals. However, New York Times writer Chris Suellentrop stated that the Wii U was the only new console with a video game worth playing, citing Super Mario 3D World as "the best Mario game in years". Despite the praise, he noted that "one great game won't save a console", and although other good games exist on the Wii U, he admitted that its lineup "is still pretty thin". Time writer Matt Peckham felt that the Wii U was the system of choice to pick up during that holiday season, praising the console's first-party and indie games lineup, affordable price, Off-TV Play, absence of annual subscription fees, backwards-compatibility and media capabilities. However, he noted that the system still needs a new price cut and an improved first and third-party software lineup. CNET also felt that the Wii U had a better games lineup and lower price in comparison with its competitors, mainly thanks to its one year head start. Meanwhile, The Motley Fool editor Sam Mattera thinks that Nintendo could be forced to discontinue the Wii U in 2014, mainly thanks to poor sales and the increased competition. GamesRadar writer Justin Towell felt that, despite having a good lineup of games, Nintendo should discontinue the Wii U and develop a new more powerful console. The Wii U was one of winners of the Best Deals Awards for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2013.
During its first week of release in the United States, Nintendo sold its entire allotment of over 400,000 Wii U units and sold a total of 425,000 units for the month of November, according to the NPD Group. It also sold over 40,000 consoles in the UK in its first weekend. In Japan, over 600,000 Wii U units were sold during December 2012. According to the NPD Group, nearly 890,000 Nintendo Wii U units were sold in the United States after 41 days on the market. 
In January 2013, Nintendo sold 57,000 Wii U units in the US. By comparison, the original Wii sold 435,000 in January 2007, also two months after launch. Initial sales numbers in the US and other territories were lower than expected, resulting in Nintendo cutting sales projections for fiscal year 2013 by 17 percent, from 5.5 million to 4 million; the system actually ended up selling 3.5 million units. At the end of July 2013, Walmart subsidiary Asda, the second-largest supermarket chain in the UK, confirmed that they had no plans to stock the Wii U, but would still stock games "on a title by title merit basis". Despite this, many specialist retailers continued to emphasize their support, with Game CEO Martyn Gibbs saying "We fully support all Nintendo products, including Wii U." From March to June 2013 the system sold approximately 160,000 units, which was down 51 per cent from the three months prior.
Following the system's $50 price cut and the release of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD on September 20, Wii U sales in North America saw a 200 percent rise over August. From July to September 2013 the system sold approximately 300,000 units, which was up 87 per cent from the three months prior. Despite only having sold 460,000 consoles since April, Nintendo has maintained its 9 million Wii U sales forecast for the fiscal year through March 2014. Wii U software showed improvement in the Q2 period, reaching 5.27 million units - a 400 per cent jump on the previous quarter. Nintendo credited the software growth to key first-party releases such as Pikmin 3 and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.
In October 2013, online retailer Play.com announced that its Wii U sales saw a 75 per cent sales increase. The company also predicted that the Wii U would be more popular than its competition, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, amongst children during the holiday season. Following the release of Wii Party U on October 31 in Japan, weekly Wii U sales spiked to 38,802 units sold. On November 29, 2013, Nintendo of France deputy general manager Philippe Lavoué announced that the Wii U had sold approximately 175,000 units in France since launch. During the first two weeks of December, the Wii U was the top performing home console in Japan, with 123,665 units sold. After one year in the market, the Wii U had sold approximately 150,000 units in the United Kingdom. According to the NPD Group, Wii U sales in November increased by 340 percent over sales in October in North America, selling approximately 220,700 units sold in that month. According to several publications, including NPD Group figures, December 2013, was the best-selling Wii U month in the US since its launch, selling around 481,000 units. Independent estimates put the number of Wii U consoles sold by the end of 2013 between 4.5 and 5.2 million, while Nintendo reported that 5.86 million consoles had been shipped.
In January 2014, citing lower-than-expected sales during the 2013 holiday season, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata announced that Wii U sales forecasts for fiscal year 2014 had been cut from 9 million units to 2.8 million. In light of this announcement, the Wii U's long-term viability, and its ability to compete with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, have been called into question.
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|Find more about Wii U at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Media from Commons|
|Database entry Q56942 on Wikidata|
- Official Wii U website (Japanese)
- Official North American Wii U website (English)
- Official European Wii U website (English)
- Official Australian Wii U website (English)