Nintendo has revealed a ton of important details about Wii U, its next home console. We've collected all the important info right here. Let's start with...
$300 or $350 depending on the version
The Wii U comes in two different versions, Basic and Deluxe. Basic retails for $300, is white, and includes the system, GamePad, Sensor Bar, AC adapters, 8GB of internal storage, and an HDMI cable. The Deluxe set ($350) comes with everything from the basic model, plus a copy of Nintendo Land, a console stand, GamePad charging cradle and a stand, and replaces the 8GB of memory with 32GB. Deluxe also comes with a Deluxe Digital Promotion that offers bonuses and rebates on downloadable purchases.
While the European prices have yet to been officially set, several retailers have already started pricing both sets. Current prices have be hovering around 250 for Basic and 299 for Deluxe. Hopefully Nintendo will soon lay down a set price.
On sale this November (unless you live in Japan)
Release dates were announced worldwide for the Wii U, with America getting the system first. The US launch date has been set for 11/18, the final weekend before Thanksgiving and the all-important Black Friday sales day. The UK gets the system on November 30, while Japan has to wait until December 8. The timing is fairly similar to the rollout of the Wii, with the US getting it first thanks to the countrys start for the massive holiday shopping season.
Games cost $59.99
Did you enjoy buying Wii games for $49.99 for the last 6 years? Thats about to change, because the Wii U launch is when Nintendo has decided to catch-up with competitors Sony and Microsoft with the standard pricing for games. All the currently confirmed launch games are priced for $59.99, which looks to be the standard for first- and third-party games.
Meet the GamePad
A couple things about the GamePad worth knowing: Its a cordless, tablet-controller combo that communicates with the system wirelessly. It has a rechargeable battery, but said battery only charges when plugged into a separate AC adapter, not via USB or anything else connected to the system. The touch screen works fine with fingers, though Nintendo also gives you a stylus for more direct control.
Near Field Communication
The GamePad has another feature thats notable for its absence at launch. The GamePad uses Near Field Communication--or NFC--which theoretically will let the controller and system communicate with other devices that have NFC. It would work much like the mega-popular Skylanders toys, only its nowhere to be found in the earliest games. No launch game, including Skylanders, uses the function on the GamePad. Is Nintendo holding off until the company can use the tech in a game of its own design?
The Pro Controller
If you prefer playing games like how it's done on other systems, then the new Pro Controller is for you. The Pro Controller itself looks like a combination of an Xbox 360 gamepad and the Wiis Classic Controller Pro. If you want a traditional feel that ignores the touch screen, its the way to go, but itll cost $49.99 per controller. The Pro isnt included with either basic or deluxe models, so get ready to spend more if you want Black Ops II to feel right.
Many games use Wii Remotes and other peripherals
While you may be spending extra for the new Pro Controller, you likely already own a few Wii U Remotes already. The Wii U is functional with the standard Wii Remote and Nunchuk, as well as peripherals like the Balance Board. Nintendo figures most families in the world already own a few Wii Remotes, so none are included with the Wii U. However, if you do need anymore, the Remotes will still be available at retail, soon to be sporting Wii U branding.
Dive into Miiverse
Nintendo has slowly been catching up to Sony and Microsoft with its online services, and Miiverse is how Nintendo plans to innovate. A social network that connects all Wii U consoles, games that support it will allow players to chat and share information online. So far Nintendo has shown it off for Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros U, and while it looks cool, we wonder just how well Nintendo will be able to protect it from internet undesirables.
Plays Wii games, but not GameCube
All that Wii peripheral functionality will be necessary since the Wii U will play almost all Wii games, to quote Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. Not sure what number he defines as almost, but hopefully all the best Wii games will work on the system. Sadly, Wii U drops the Wiis ability to play GameCube games, so you might want to hang onto your Wii in case you ever want to play Wind Waker or Mario Sunshine again.
Has fairly diverse launch line-up
Many thought Nintendo really dropped the ball with the launch line-up for the 3DS, something the company hopes to not repeat with the Wii U. Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros U are confirmed for launch, with close to 50 games planned for launch window in the US. Launch window means different timeframes to different companies, but to Nintendo it means the first six months. See all the games here.
Nintendo TVii brings together Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Tivo, YouTube, and more
Video game consoles are quickly becoming home entertainment hubs thanks to the inclusion of apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Every system has those apps straight out of the box, but Nintendo hopes to bring them all together in a whole new way with Nintendo TVii. Using the GamePad touch screen to scroll through content like films and TV series, TVii then tells you where you can find that product on the multiple services, including regular TV and Tivo. Its surprisingly forward-looking for Nintendo, but will it be enough to overtake its app competition?
What more do you need to know?
Thats all the important info we know at the moment, but as launch approaches, more will slip out. What questions do you want answered? How much a separate GamePad costs? Whether Wii games will be upscaled for HD? Can its graphics stay current over the next five years? Tell us in the comments!