The New U

The New U Wii U Header

Last month the video game industry held its annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), a smorgasbord of gaming goodness held every year that showcases the major players’ hottest new tech and games. There were plenty of major announcements (hello, Halo 4) but Nintendo’s unveiling of a new console, the Wii U, stole the show.

Rumors have been flying around the internet about a new Nintendo console for months, titled “Project Café.” So it was no surprise when they announced a new console with a new name (which isn’t, admittedly, all that new). Confirming months of speculation, Nintendo revealed the Wii U and its touch-screen controller. This new controller will sport the same motion controls as the current Wiimotes, along with a 6.2 inch screen.

The controller is really what makes this console stand apart. Brief demos and videos showcased the new device, which is fully capable of showing menus, the game screen, and even an entirely different camera view. While a second screen doesn’t sound that revolutionary – Nintendo’s own DS has been doing it for years – the brief demos show a world of possibilities. One demo showed using the screen to tee-off, complete with sand trap and ball, for a game of Wii Sports golf, another showed it as the catcher’s mitt in Wii Baseball.

Wii U

While the current Wii drew fire for being behind the graphics curve compared to its rivals, the new Wii U feature HD graphics, running at 1080p and have a HDMI hookup. However, old Wii controllers and accessories will still be compatible with the new system, so don’t toss your old rubberized Wiimotes just yet.

The success of the Wii’s motion controlled gaming caught the attention of rivals Sony and Microsoft. In September of 2010 Sony released the Playstation Move, a motion controlled system that required a controller, similar to the Wii’s remote and nunchuk, and Microsoft followed suit in November of 2010 releasing the Xbox 360 add-on Kinect, which requires no controller. It is clear to see how influential Nintendo’s Wii was on impacting video games for years to come. But how will the Wii U impact the other consoles?

Nintendo’s Wii U is not only looking forward, but looking backwards and trying to recapture the “hardcore” demographic left by the wayside in their pursuit for the more casual market. Sony and Microsoft both have started to go after the casual gamer with their own motion controlled gaming, while still holding tight to the more traditional “hardcore” gamers.

Will the new graphics and revolutionary controller system be enough to recapture a lost group of devoted gamers while simultaneously keeping Nintendo’s hold on casuals? To answer this question many others must be answered first.

Wii U

Will this new system support more than one of these touch screen controllers? From the videos watched so far there is no clear answer, but it looks likes it there will be one new controller and the rest will be Wii-motes. If games are restricted to one controller, it could be limiting the system’s potential. However, additional controllers could cost as much as 100 dollars, making more than one controller a pricey proposition.

Will the new interface, which comes with dual screens, be easy to develop for? If not, many developers won’t know what to do with the new technology, and may stick to more familiar grounds.

Will those same third party companies return to Nintendo? Nintendo is infamous for crowding out other developers on their home turf; everybody knows that if you want to make a Nintendo game, your chief competition is Nintendo.

And, most importantly, do consumers really want a new console right now? With the economy in a slump and current gen. systems with the same graphics as the Wii U on the market already, will people really shell out the money that new consoles usually cost? Only time will tell, and there is a lot of time between now and the release date, which is slated for holiday 2012.

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  1. Mary Ann Floss

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