Just What the Hell is the Wii U?

Guest Article : Steven Harbor

E3 has come and gone, and if there is one thing people will surely remember most about 2011’s expo, it will be the revealing of the Wii U. Leading up to its announcement, rumors and speculation about the “Wii HD” was getting weirder and weirder. It turns out that the actual announcement was just as weird, if not more so. In fact, it was so weird that Nintendo’s stock fell significantly just after the revealing of their new system. This is no doubt due to the fact that people are still largely confused about what the hell this thing is. So what is it about the Wii U that’s so hard to grasp?

It’s just a new peripheral right?
I’ve seen this kind of confusion in person, coming from people who I would normally expect to have done their research. It seems Nintendo forgot one of the most important things you’re supposed to do when revealing a new system; namely to actually show the new system. Instead, Nintendo focused entirely on the new controller and kept the console itself in the blurred out background in most of the pictures. It doesn’t help either that the console basically looks just like a Wii.

Can I use multiple controller pads or not?
Nintendo says it’s still not entirely sure. I think that with the system being released a year and a half from now, Nintendo ought to make up its mind about this. The best consensus I can gather from this whole mess is that Nintendo wants to focus on most games only being able to use one controller pad with every additional player using a wii remote because they don’t want to pressure customers into buying more than one. This tells me that the controllers will be expensive, and why wouldn’t they be? They’ve each got a big vibrant 6-inch display that can stream video and audio from the system wirelessly.

You will now be thinking of this every time you hear its name.

How exactly does the new controller improve video games?
I still remember when the Wii was first revealed, and everyone was speculating about the awesome ways that motion controls could be used to improve games. I remember hearing about how it would be amazing for first-person shooters (not hearing much of that anymore are we), amazing for tennis games (turns out not so much), amazing for lightsaber games (moving on…), and yet I can’t really tell what direction Nintendo is trying to push the industry with this new controller, and honestly neither can anyone else as far as I can tell. It will still have the motion control capabilities of a wii remote, but the added bonus is a screen that can stream information from the system so that games can be played while other people are watching TV. The controller has often been compared to an ipad with buttons, though that isn’t entirely accurate as the touch screen will be more like a larger version of the DS’s touch screen than the capacitive multi-touch screen of an iPad.

Who’s going to buy this thing?
The Wii U tries to cater to every audience at once. The question core gamers such as the ones who run this blog have to ask is whether or not a new controller is reason enough to buy another Hd console with technology comparable to systems they already have. The question soccer moms and families have to ask is whether the Wii U offers a new experience on par with the novelty of motion controls that the Wii had going for it. However, the only question the hardcore Nintendo follower has to ask himself is whether or not “It can has Zelda HD?!” So it’s pretty safe to say that the new system caters most to Nintendo’s core followers. For everyone else, everything rests on the system’s price. I would have to guess that if it’s around the 200-300 range, it should have at least moderate success, but any more than that and this system may have a lot of trouble coming out of the gate.

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