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

Henry Gilbert

Henry Gilbert is a former GamesRadar+ Editor, having spent seven years at the site helping to navigate our readers through the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation. Henry is now following another passion of his besides video games, working as the producer and podcast cohost of the popular Talking Simpsons and What a Cartoon podcasts.