Nintendo formally revealed its next home console yesterday in the form of the Wii U, the direct successor to the company’s ultra popular Wii.
With the announcement, a flurry of information immediately flooded the internet, with news on the console’s technical specifications, which games and publishers we would see on the machine when it launches next year, and a raft of videos showcasing the unique features and power of the Wii U all arriving in unison.
While this information is all well and good… what is the Wii U?
As Nintendo’s next home console, the Wii U will take the familiar form of a white box of technology that will (most probably) effortlessly work its way into your living room (or bedroom, or dank corner of your home), and will allow you to play the next wave of current and next generation games when the machine launches next year around the world.
What’s immediately unique about the Wii U, however, is its use of a tablet-like controller which features a whopping 6.2-inch touch screen right in the centre, surrounded by the usual array of dual analogue sticks, d-pad and buttons, as well as a camera, special function buttons, a microphone and speakers, rumble functionality, and motion control technology (accelerometer and gyroscope).
The Wii U is also backwards compatible with Wii games and accessories, including WiiMote and WiiMote Plus controllers.
Adding a ‘second screen to the living room,’ Nintendo says, will result in the provision of brand new videogame experiences while offering families “a variety of options to customize their entertainment.”
These new experiences include freeing up a game’s display on the TV by providing important information on the controller’s screen, and you may even be able to get a different view of the on-screen action by ‘looking around’ the game world using the controller’s gyroscope functionality, with visuals displayed on the screen.
Multiplayer gaming will benefit from the second screen of the Wii U’s controller, too, as each player may be able to see different parts of the on-screen action, offering new competitive and cooperative gameplay opportunities.
Indeed, many new games are already in the works for the Wii U, all of which aim to take advantage of the console’s unique controller, with a Pikmin game already confirmed to be in development, while third-party publishers have jumped on board to provide their upcoming games for Nintendo’s next home console.
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said of the Wii U:
“Wii U redefines the structure of home entertainment by fundamentally changing how the TV, the game console and the Internet function and interact together.
The experience enabled by Wii U and the new controller takes players deeper into their games, while reaching out wider than ever before to be inviting to all kinds of gamers.”
The Wii U will become available around the world in 2012.