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

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  • captiancarl - June 7, 2011 7:48 p.m.

    I think nintendo may have won E3 this year... opinions?
  • corndog501 - June 7, 2011 7:50 p.m.

    I'm buying this on day one, looks awesome! All they need is a solid online base for players and this thing will make Sony and Microsoft shit bricks!
  • P0LARCLAW - June 7, 2011 7:51 p.m.

    I think Nintendo can win E3 whenever it wants to. The SSB announcement alone won it for me.
  • LOZ4EVAH - June 7, 2011 7:52 p.m.

    All in all I am satisfied. I give the E3 presentation 8/10! I'll wait until I see the FINAL versions of the console and controller before I say anything rash. Supah Smash Brooootherrs!
  • PimplesInYourAsstista - June 7, 2011 7:55 p.m.

    I'm defiantly excited. Assuming third party development stays as strong as it appears it is now, this is going to be a hell of a console.
  • db1331 - June 7, 2011 7:55 p.m.

    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. It wouldn't be the first time. The day they announce the development of a game that actually DOES look like the demo they showed today though....I don't know what I would do.
  • somerandomchap - June 7, 2011 7:58 p.m.

    I am underwhelmed, it looks the same as the 360 which is about 7 years old. The controller is a gimmick and looks way to uncomfortable and will probably cost a fortune. It's relevance in the marketplace will be lost after a couple years when Microsoft and Sony release their new consoles. Everyone is sucked into the same hype train as the Wii. Also, the touch screen lacks multi-touch which i believe will hold it back and prevent it from being used to its full extent.
  • Oracool13 - June 7, 2011 7:59 p.m.

    amen, i definitely loved nintendo's presentation and can't wait to get my hands on the wii u, as ridiculous as the name might grow on me.
  • MyNameIsMyName - June 7, 2011 8:04 p.m.

    Let's try not to give Nintendo too much credit for finally getting with the program. The Wii U looks nice but I have a Dreamcasty feeling to it.
  • BudaBaker - June 7, 2011 8:04 p.m.

    Nintendo's back.
  • CoryM1134 - June 7, 2011 8:08 p.m.

    I'm gonna draw little red swirls all over it and pretend it's the new Dreamcast.
  • dden45 - June 7, 2011 8:12 p.m.

    One thing I think people are forgetting is that the Wii controllers are all supported as well. This includes the classic controller. Meaning that if a developer wants classic style videogame controls, they just develop the option, a la Goldeneye for Wii. You don't HAVE to use the tablet. The more I read about it the more versatility seems to come out. As for graphics let us not forget how much Nintendo can do as a developer. I mean look how good Mario Galaxy looked on the severely underpowered Wii. I can't wait to see what they come up with with the extra power. Plus it looks as though Sony and Microsoft are too busy with their attempts at the casual market to bring out new systems. This is only our introduction to the system, we will get more as time goes on. It's clearly not ready for launch any time soon.
  • somerandomchap - June 7, 2011 8:14 p.m.

    @dden45 I hope you are right they decide to redesign the controller. Maybe even upgrade the console slightly to give it more of an edge in the future.
  • Hammish - June 7, 2011 8:14 p.m.

    So, is the controller good for shooters?
  • Reaver_Beaver - June 7, 2011 8:16 p.m.

    So the controller isn't the console?
  • jasoncarter - June 7, 2011 8:17 p.m.

    Instant sale. Nintendo, I believed in you for a long time. I'm 25 and I remember playing all the old stuff back from those days. Nintendo, welcome back to the game. May your sales continue to drive you forward for bring back all the old things I remember and making them even greater then before. Your certainly not as powerful as my pc wii U, but damn your fancy, lol.
  • Hammish - June 7, 2011 8:17 p.m.

    Also, WII U WII U WII U WII U WII U WII U WII U WII U WII U WII U sounds like a siren
  • gamebrain8505 - June 7, 2011 8:20 p.m.

    At first I was like... Damn this gimmicky shit, this is crap, pure nonsense! Then I tought "gee, some good games..." Now I see how awesome this console could actually be, just change the wii-like style
  • MuleVariant - June 7, 2011 8:21 p.m.

    That controller is HUGE! There is no way that people will be comfortable playing any of the new games with that for any stretch of time. The visuals were fine, but I just don't understand why Nintendo thinks they have to put cleverness above gameplay. Was the Wiimote clever? Sure. Was it fun? Not really. Not past the first few months. After that most people went back to what is comfortable to play. Please don't reward Nintendo's "cleverness" again, it only encourages them.
  • Dragonflame - June 7, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    MuleVariant: IGN has been ahnds on with the controller, guess what they said. They said it is suprisingly light and shocker, like Nintedno did not test the controller when they designed it... Also it is called innovation not cleverness and it is what Nintendo needs. Really would it be any fun if all 3 never did anything new?

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