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Nintendo announces new console: Wii U

I guess it’s not just Sony stuck with the weird naming conventions as Nintendo announces the arrival of it’s next generation console, the Wii U.  The new console breaks free of the Nintendo Wii’s SD graphic shackles and puts the console company smack dab in HD territory.  Yes, Nintendo is finally doing HD.

Wii U console

Details are still sparse as of the moment as to what is in the Wii U console but from the official press release, here’s a few interesting tidbits:

Launches: 2012

Size: Approximately 1.8 inches tall, 6.8 inches wide and 10.5 inches long.

New Controller: The new controller incorporates a 6.2-inch, 16:9 touch screen and traditional button controls, including two analog Circle Pads. This combination removes the traditional barriers between games, players and the TV by creating a second window into the video game world. The rechargeable controller includes a Power button, Home button, +Control Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons. It includes a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble feature, camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, a sensor strip and a stylus.

Other Controls: Up to four Wii Remote™ (or Wii Remote Plus) controllers can be connected at once. The new console supports all Wii™ controllers and input devices, including the Nunchuk™ controller, Classic Controller™, Classic Controller Pro™ and Wii Balance Board™.

Media: A single self-loading media bay will play 12-centimeter proprietary high-density optical discs for the new console, as well as 12-centimeter Wii optical discs.

Video Output: Supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Compatible cables include HDMI, component, S-video and composite.

Audio Output: Uses AV Multi Out connector. Six-channel PCM linear output through HDMI.

Storage: The console will have internal flash memory, as well as the option to expand its memory using either an SD memory card or an external USB hard disk drive.

CPU: IBM Power®-based multi-core microprocessor.

Other: Four USB 2.0 connector slots are included. The new console is backward compatible with Wii games and Wii accessories.

Props to Nintendo on backward support!  The Wii console supports all existing Wiimotes and Wiigames.  I’m just hoping we get upscaling like what Sony did on the first generation PS3s with Ps2 backward compatibility.

As for the new controller?

Wii U controller

The controller features a large, touch-capable screen, paired with two circle pads, a directional pad, face buttons, a camera, a gyroscope and an accelerometer. Nintendo is positioning it as an entertainment sharing device, with video and gameplay working across the controller and your home console.  Do note that the controller is not a handheld, meaning you can’t take it to work with you and expect to play anything. Any processing done on the controller is offloaded to the Wii U console.

Oh, did I mention that the controller does video calls too?

Other facts: (GTTV interview with Reggie, thanks to hiero and others)

  • The price point of the system will be competitive to the current prices of the PS3, 360 in terms of value
  • The games shown for Wii U at the show were actually PS3 and 360 versions but the Wii U will look the same or better
  • No BluRay Support
  • Controller’s screen is single-touch
  • Backwards compatible with the Wii’s Games, but no upscaling is done
  • Nintendo Online system to be announced by the end of the week

Below is Nintendo’s official video for the Wii U console:

The Wii U is set to launch in 2012.

Keep tuned in as more info as it streams via E3.

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