Wii U

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Wii U
Wii U logo.jpeg
Wii U black.jpg
A black colored Wii U game pad stands in front of the console. Wii U Website
Type Video Game Console
Launch Date November 18, 2012
Status Active
Product Line Console and Game Pad
Platform Nintendo
Website Wii U Website

The Wii U was released November 18th, 2012, as Nintendo's next installation of the Wii. The Wii U takes many of its design elements from its predecessor, including looks, user interface, use of Miis, backward compatibility with Wii remotes, games, and other accessories. However, it includes all new hardware, a new controller, and more new features. The Wii U will be the first eighth generation gaming console from the big three gaming companies (Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony).

The Wii U was the first Nintendo console to support high-definition graphics that included 2 GB of RAM and the capability to produce a resolution of up to 1080 pixels [1]. Two versions of the gaming console were released: a "basic" white version with 8 GB of internal flash storage, and a "deluxe" black version with 32 GB of flash storage. The deluxe package came with stands for the console and game pad, a charging dock, and Nintendo Land pre-installed[2]. During its first week on sale, the Wii U produced more revenue for Nintendo than the previous generation Wii's first-week sales. However, less units were sold, totaling 425,000[3].

Wii U has had ethical issues such as the prevalence of inappropriate messages and drawings in Milverse, the system's online community.


Wii (right) and Wii U (left) comparison.

According to Genyo Takeda, Nintendo’s senior managing director of hardware development, a primary inspiration for creating the Wii U was the transition to digital HD terrestrial transmission for all television in Japan (as well as many other countries, such as the U.S.)[4]. The Wii only supports standard definition whereas the Xbox 360 and PS3 both support HD, so Nintendo wanted to make a console that could take full advantage of HD graphics, something Takeda says has become the standard for the gaming industry[4].

Takeda also talked about a couple core ideas that helped shape the Wii U’s overall development. One of these driving ideas was to produce a console that was relatively cheap but could handle breathtaking HD graphics efficiently. Takeda said, “Ever since the Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo has concerned itself with how to improve the game computer's efficiency while constraining power consumption, and this has been consistent in that design concept.”[4] The other of these ideas was that Nintendo wanted the Wii U to be the best gaming console for entertaining an entire family, in addition to being an attractive investment for hardcore gamers. Nintendo developed the Wii U with every member of the family in mind in hope of creating what could be the primary console in living rooms around the world.

A line of people dressed as Miis waiting to buy a Wii U on the release date.


Also at the Wii U press conference on September 13, Nintendo announced the price of the Wii U which will be for sale in two bundles: the Basic bundle costs $299.99 while the Deluxe bundle costs $349.99[5]. The Basic bundle comes with a white Wii U console with 8GB of internal storage, a white game pad controller and stylus, a sensor bar, AC adaptors for the console and game pad, and an HDMI cable. The Deluxe bundle comes with a black Wii U console with 32GB of internal storage, a black game pad controller and stylus, a sensor bar, AC adaptors for the console and game pad, an HDMI cable, the Nintendo Land video game, a game pad stand, a game pad cradle, and a console stand[5]. Those who buy the Deluxe bundle are enrolled in the Deluxe Digital Promotion that allows customers to receive points for buying things on the Nintendo eShop. They can then use those points towards future purchases. The promotion is currently planned through 2014[5].



Black Wii U game pad and console.
  • CPU: IBM Power based multi-core processor
  • GPU: AMD Radeon based high definition GPU
  • Storage: internal flash memory with support for external USB storage
  • USB ports: four USB 2.0 connectors, two in the front and two in the back
  • Networking: built in wireless adaptor, USB ports can be used for Wii LAN adaptors
  • Video output: supports up to 1080p
  • Audio output: Uses six-channel PCM linear output via HDMI connector or analog output via the AV Multi Out connector


  • Screen: 6.2 inch, 16:9 aspect ratio LCD touch screen
  • Button inputs: two analog control sticks, a +control pad, L/R top-shoulder buttons, ZL/ZR back-shoulder buttons, A/B/X/Y face buttons, power button, Home button, -/select button, +/start button, and TV control button
  • Other inputs: touch screen (stylus included), motion controls (powered by an accelerometer, gyroscope and geomagnetic sensor), a front-facing camera, and a microphone
  • Other outputs: stereo speakers and rumble function
  • Near Field Communication: allows users to transfer content/information to and from supported devices by simply placing the device near the NFC interface[7]
  • Battery: rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Weight: approximately 1.1 pounds (500 g)


Nintendo TVii

The Nintendo TVii allows users to watch TV and movies from a variety of sources on the Wii U gamepad. Users can browse and search for programming from sources they’ve subscribe to, including cable and satellite channels, video-on-demand services, and recorded TiVo shows. Users can watch the television programming on the gamepad as it’s aired or they can use the gamepad to set a DVR recording of the program[8].

Video Entertainment

Video can be streamed from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, and YouTube[8].

The Miiverse


Miiverse is an online gaming community built into the Wii U that features your Mii, your friends’ Miis, and random other Miis from other people currently using their internet connected Wii U. In the Miiverse “plaza” there will be icons representing various games, applications, or other entertainment content with Miis gathered around them. The more Miis around an icon, the more people using that content! Miis can share messages/drawings with each other which is input via the touch screen on the gamepad. Miis can also use content together which allows users to challenge their friends to multiplayer games or watch videos together[8]. The Miiverse service ended as of November 8, 2017. [9]

Nintendo eShop

Nintendo eShop is the digital storefront for Wii U owners that will allow them to buy downloadable games and add-on content for games they already have[8].

Video Chat

The video chat capability enables users to chat with friends via the built-in camera and microphone on the GamePad in a real-time video call[8]. Video chat was officially discontinued by Nintendo on November 7th, 2017 after discontinuing the Miiverse service. Users who attempt to access the chat since its discontinuation will receive the error code 102-2882.[10]

Browse the internet

The Wii-U GamePad can also double as a TV Remote and can be used to navigate an internet browser [8].


Play aims to ease any tension between gamers hogging the TV screen in the living room and other family members who want to watch television. This feature (not available in all games) takes the graphics from the TV screen and puts them on the gamepad, which usually displays menus, maps, the inventory, etc. for a game[11]. The transfer of the graphics happens in the blink of an eye. Since the screen on the gamepad is an HD LCD screen no graphical quality is lost. Skeptics were concerned that putting the graphics of an entire game onto the gamepad would cause major lag and affect gameplay, but Michel Ancel, a game developer at Ubisoft who is working on the Wii U title Rayman Legends, has confirmed that the gamepad’s screen only has 1/60th of a second of lag, which is extremely hard for the human eye to notice[12].

Ethical Concerns


The Miiverse feature, which allows online Wii U users to communicate with each other via messages written on the gamepad’s touchscreen, has received a lot of criticism. There is concern about adolescent users being exposed to inappropriate messages and drawings that other online users may display. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata addressed these concerns in an interview with video game news website IGN.com saying that they cannot always consider the ethical standards that make humans better as they would rather focus in their games facilitating and inspiring new ideas from their users.[13] Nintendo will be making a few adjustments as a result of the criticism. Users will be allowed to flag inappropriate content, and a team of content moderators will exist to approve messages and drawings before they are posted online.[14] In addition, Nintendo has been working on automated censoring software to block inappropriate drawings. They will be using three layers of security, the first layer being a standard offensive word sensor, the second layer being user submitted complaints, and the final layer being moderators looking over your messages. The final layer is facing some ethical concerns because it gives Nintendo workers full access to private messages, in addition to the complaints of the delay of relaying messages through all of this security. [15] Nintendo has also removed many restrictions on gamer to gamer interactions, after complaints about the Friend Code system on the original Wii.


Wii U launch titles courtesy of USA Today:[16]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  • Skylanders Giants
  • Transformers Prime
  • Wipeout 3
  • Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
  • EA Sports FIFA Soccer 13
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition
  • New Super Mario Bros. U
  • Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge
  • Nintendo Land
  • Sing Party
  • Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
  • Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper
  • Darksiders II
  • Assassin's Creed III
  • ESPN Sports Connection
  • Just Dance 4
  • Rabbids Land
  • Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013
  • ZombiU
  • Scribblenauts Unlimited
  • Game Party Champions
  • Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition


  1. YouTube: "Nintendo Direct: Japan" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBE-IxjCm0Y
  2. Wii U News: "WiiU Price and Release Date Announced" http://wiiu.dcemu.co.uk/wiiu-price-and-release-date-announced-491879.html
  3. Wii U Sales http://www.gamespot.com/news/wii-u-first-week-sales-fall-short-of-wii-6401223
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Iwata Asks: "The Wii U" http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/wiiu/console/0/0
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Nintendo Website: Wii U - What's in the Box? http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu/features/whats-in-the-box/
  6. 6.0 6.1 Nintendo Website: Wii U Technical Specs http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu/features/tech-specs/
  7. NFC World Website: "Nintendo Confirms NFC in Wii U" http://www.nfcworld.com/2012/06/04/316040/nintendo-confirms-nfc-in-wii-u/
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Nintendo Website: Wii U http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu/features/#/features-tvii
  9. https://miiverse.nintendo.net/en/
  10. "Wii U Chat Service Discontinuation (Error Code: 102-2882)". Nintendo Support. http://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/27326/~/wii-u-chat-service-discontinuation-%28error-code%3A-102-2882%29
  11. Kotaku Website: "My Favorite New Wii U Stat" http://kotaku.com/5952245/my-favorite-new-wii-u-stat
  12. Slash Gear Website: "Nintendo Wii U GamePad delay only 1/60 of a second" http://www.slashgear.com/nintendo-wii-u-gamepad-delay-only-160-of-a-second-15251920
  13. IGN Website: "Nintendo Talks About Censoring Miiverse" http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/07/05/nintendo-talks-about-censoring-miiverse
  14. IGN Website: "Nintendo Talks About Censoring Miiverse" http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/07/05/nintendo-talks-about-censoring-miiverse
  15. http://kotaku.com/5916479/dont-freak-out-but-nintendo-will-be-reading-and-censoring-and-delaying-your-wii-u-comments
  16. USA Today: Nintendo: 23 games launching with Wii U Console" http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/gaming/2012/09/26/nintendo-wii-u-launch-games-lineup/1594191/

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