E3 2011: The Wii U hardware info you need to know

What a difference a couple hours makes. Before we knew nothing about Project Café, now we’re slowly growing accustomed to Wii U. Nintendo’s new console looks on the same power level as PS3/360, but it’s what’s outside of the system that matters, namely the screen sitting dead center of the controller. The controller displays images in tandem with the games, and the possibilities seem wide open.

Above: GR Editor Brett Elston got his hands on in right after the press event

Above: A prototype of the hardware

Above: Brett's immediate impression of the Zelda demo that it was on par with PS3 visuals

Your eyes may have drunk in the images, but here are the more concrete details on Wii U and its curious new controller.

The controller: 

6.2 inch, 16x9 touch screen. The battery is rechargeable.

There's a power button, two slide pads, d-pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons, ZL/ZR buttons, a Home button, accelerometer, gyro sensor, rumble, camera, mic, speaker, sensor, and included touch pen (don't tell uDraw)

The system also recognizes all the Wii controllers, including the Balance Board and Classic Controlers.

Media and visuals:

Uses 12cm high density optical disc meant for the new hardware. (Doesn’t sound like a DVD) Can also use Wii 12cm optical discs. (No idea the capacity of the new discs.)

1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, 480i. Compatible with HDMI, component, D, S-video and composite cables. Audio outputs in PCM linear 6ch from AV multi out or HDMI.

And there’s built-in flash memory, with expandable memory through SD card and external USB drives (of which there are 4).

Lastly the processor is described as a multi core processor based off the IBM Power series.

Most interesting to us is this mysterious new disc media. "High density" must mean it can store more info than a DVD, so perhaps Nintendo invented a new disc format for its system? The only other mass produced option is Blu ray, but that’s owned by hated rival Sony, making its use unlikely.

Also we’re curious to see just how good the output is to the controller. Will the graphics look on the same level as Wii U or perhaps the Wii? Just what games will come to the console from Nintendo? Now it’s time to play the waiting game.

Jun 7, 2011


E3 Nintendo


  • jameswoodsJDC - June 12, 2011 9:06 p.m.

    this will winn E3 this year for sure
  • wiigamer024 - June 9, 2011 12:07 a.m.

    I actually just heard about this today, and after watching the video, i gotta say, I'm a little mixed about my reaction towards this. Dont get me wrong, Nintendo's won E3 this year, like always :) One thing that struck me, was that it seemed a little bit like an iPad... maybe a little too much like one. But, i mean, I like how Nintendo went above and beyond, not just making a new console with HD graphics, but one that can be portible, and do a whole bunch of other shit. I wanna get really excited about this, but something's telling me to wait. Find out just a little more about it, before I'm sold, or before theres some gimmick that'll get to me (umm... Sonic Generations on the 3DS? Bull. -.-).
  • metroid2099400 - June 8, 2011 5:55 p.m.

    It looks pretty cool, and if I can see some proper 1st party games displayed on it, I'll definitely trade in my Wii for a Wii U. Only one question remains: Will it still play my Gamecube games?!
  • IvansTreehouse - June 8, 2011 2:52 p.m.

    Imagine if Sony had shown the same kind of "Wii U" presentation with PS3 + PS Vita compatibility tech demos. They might have stolen some of Nintendo's thunder this E3 with some PS Vita ninja stars hitting their Sony 3D TV's.
  • Lionzest7 - June 8, 2011 2:39 p.m.

    surprised people care so much about this thing, to me it seems like they just stuck a DS together with a WII and won all you guys back over. Honestly I think this thing may win me back if it has good third party support (which the video showed). I'm just not ready to jump back on nintendo's dick yet. This thing is okay for now, it does have "decent" graphics. I know people want to buy this for the new 1st party titles, which I don't blame them, but this thing isn't incredible by any shape or form yet.
  • Pruman - June 8, 2011 1:52 p.m.

    This is a genius move by Nintendo. Everyone bitching about how "it's only on par with the 360 and PS3, where are the advances?!?!!" is totally missing the point. Nintendo's machines have ALWAYS used established, cheaper tech vs. the bleeding edge. This is because Nintendo machines don't do loss-leader sales and make profits from day one. Microsoft and Sony have ZERO inclination to start the next generation. Both of them treated Kinect and Move like a new console launch, which means they've likely added an extra 5 years to the current console cycle, barring a spectacular flameout. With this, Nintendo gets a system that matches them feature for feature and will last until the next generation starts. My real question is whether or not it'll maintain GameCube game/peripheral compatibility. I don't fancy the idea of playing Smash Bros. without my trusty WaveBird!
  • EnragedTortoise1 - June 8, 2011 1:03 p.m.

    GIMME THE NEW SMASH BROS NOW. :P I'm actually more excited for a game than I am for a new Nintendo console... this is a first. But the WiiU does look awesome... the controller looks a bit uncomfortable, though.
  • theguru - June 8, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    so after the better part of a decade, nintendo has flooded the market with shitty games for a shitty console, and are just /now/ releasing on par with current gen consoles? When the next gen is surely not that far off, this just prooves nintendo is a just a little bit..... behind it's competetors, to put it politely. I agree with MuleVariant, the controler is pretty much the oposite of the wiimote, going from tiny and unusable and tbf a bit dangerous, to massive and unwieldy and for all intents and purposes a seperate handheld console. I swear nintendo has some sort of fetish for dual screens now....
  • komadose - June 8, 2011 11:14 a.m.

    @jmcgrotty what's so horrible about the controller? it's just like the controller of PS3 or X360 with added touchscreen. it makes it bigger, yeah, but you could do some cool stuff with it, like having inventory on it like you can see in the Zelda example. i don't see the problem here. instead, the problem would be the hardware of Wii U. it's on par with PS3 and X360 (=out-dated), sure, but it doesn't really make a core gamer like me all that excited. i wan't something new and powerful. thanks Ninty, but i be passing this one.
  • NightCrawler_358 - June 8, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    Looks great. I'm disapointed that gamecube games and controllers don't work on it (so far) but the fact that the controller is rechargeable is very reasurring that this will be okay.
  • wesser22 - June 8, 2011 10:08 a.m.

    @arguseyed - thats fair shout, I just meant if they really are serious about a machine for 'all players' (ie core 'n' casual) theyre gonna need the big titles/franchises everyone else has enjoyed for the last 5 years. Wii sold like hot cakes, but was cheap as sin compared to its rivals which (novelty waggle included) made it a kinda no-brainer for the casuals. This baby looks like its could cost (total guess here) comparitvely the same its current/future rivals, so needs more software weight behind it, which it seems to be gettin by the looks of it
  • jmcgrotty - June 8, 2011 9:33 a.m.

    OK, I have tried 3 or 4 different ways to word this that don't come across as bad, but I can't come up with anything, so I just have to be blunt: Who the FK are you people who think there is anything good about this?! This product is 100% unacceptable and just embarrasses the industry. The graphics are definitely good (probably great), that is not something you can deny, but the whole control scheme makes this fking thing absolutely useless. There is not a single positive that can be taken away from this thing. OK, I'll stop this rant now. I had a lot more to say, but it was even more over the top and probably unacceptable, so I censored myself. The basic point is that I am fking FURIOUS that anyone thinks anything good about this crap.
  • sexyman500 - June 8, 2011 8:49 a.m.

    this will fail big time, the next psp go. I'll pay 100 bucks to games radar if this actually catches on.
  • crimsonmoose - June 8, 2011 8:41 a.m.

    and no one heard from the PSVista again
  • ZenRobot - June 8, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    lol @ "I can 100% see Nintendo showing us that hyper-realistic HD Zelda demo, and then revealing the first new Zelda for the Wii U to be in some kind of wacky new cartoonish style." -db1331
  • insertdisk - June 8, 2011 8:16 a.m.

    I didn't watch the conference but will be later today. From what I can see this controller looks awful' really really bloody awfull. I really wanted to like it too.
  • Galgomite - June 8, 2011 6:17 a.m.

    Just realized, the PS Vita and PS3 could potentially do all these same things...
  • lvsteven - June 8, 2011 5:39 a.m.

    BTW FOR ALL THE PEOPLE HATING ON THE 3RD PARTY GAMES: Really i think that the demo reel was to show that their new hardware will run exactly what the other guys will run, and not miss a beat. Unline the Wii which misssed so many AAA first party games, this is meant to show that it can and will be in the fray for the head to head competition, and the like.
  • lvsteven - June 8, 2011 5:34 a.m.

    Guys, dont know if any of you LISTENED to the press event, but they claim you can essentially play the console itself without a TV, so obviously the touchscreen is on par with the Wii U...
  • wightknight - June 8, 2011 4:53 a.m.

    At first I was EXTREMELY disappointed. Now I'm really starting to get in to it. What sold me was Super Smash Bros. YES

Showing 1-20 of 77 comments

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