Nintendo held a Wii U Preview conference today, highlighting several new features of their new console.
Here’s a rundown on the need-to-know specifics about Nintendo’s Wii U that were discussed during the conference:
- The new console will launch on November 18 in North America.
- Customers can buy a Basic Set, which contains the Wii U console and GamePad, an AC adapter for both the console and the gamepad, a high speed HDMI cable, a Wii U sensor bar, and 8GB of memory. The Deluxe Set will contain everything the Basic Set has but will have 32GB of memory, a GamePad charging cradle, stands for the console and GamePad, and Nintendo Land, a launch title that acts as a kind of tech demo for the Wii U’s capabilities. Furthermore, purchasers of the Deluxe Set will be enrolled in a deluxe digital promotion that rewards players with points every time they purchase digital content for the Wii U, which they can later use on unlocking more digital content. The Basic Set will be colored white, and the Deluxe Set will be colored black. The Basic Set will cost $299, and the Deluxe Set will cost $349.
- All Wii controllers will work with the Wii U console. Almost all Wii games and accessories will also be compatible with the new console. Nintendo will start selling Wii U-branded Wii controllers soon for those who do not already own these items.
- The Wii U will launch with the new Nintendo TVii platform, which will allow users to watch Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, their DVR, or their TV. Users will be able to use their GamePads as remotes, and they’ll also have interactive screens for sports games that update as the game goes on. The GamePads will help users access their TVs by showing recommended videos that are personalized off of your tastes and your friends’ recommendations. Doing so will help in searching for more information about the shows users want to watch with their GamePads, telling the DVR to record shows, displaying schedules of upcoming programs based on a user’s favorite shows, and capturing specific clips from shows and letting users rewatch, comment on, and share those clips. Nintendo TVii will also let users watch YouTube and online video. Nintendo TVii will launch in the United States and Canada, and could possibly expand elsewhere in the Americas, and will come with no additional cost. However, items that do not come from a pre-existing subscription must be rented individually.
- Launch titles for the platform that the conference highlighted include Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U, Lego City: Undercover, Bayonetta 2, The Wonderful 101, and Call of Duty: Black Ops II. A full list of launch titles for the Wii U console can be found here.
Analysis: We got some big information in this conference, including the Wii U’s launch date: November 18. As all this new information shows, Nintendo is really pushing the Wii U as an all-in-one living room entertainment device. Connectivity is the name of the game for Nintendo. With the customizable Mii profiles and Nintendo TVii, it’s clear that Nintendo is trying to make the Wii U more than just a gaming console, and I think this is very telling of where consoles are going for this next generation. Microsoft has already tried to integrate their console with user’s televisions with their SmartGlass initiative, and now with the introduction of Nintendo TVii, this could quickly become an industry standard. Console makers want people to get plugged into their platform, and they’re doing that by expanding their consoles to do all the other digital things that a user might wish to do, such as watch TV or browse the Internet. Regardless of whether you buy from Microsoft or Nintendo, they’ll be wanting you to use their console for all your digital entertainment.
Other than that bit of news, however, the conference was just about focusing on the important nuts and bolts of the new platform, such as price, model tiers, and release date. However, Nintendo did make a big reveal with the announcement of Call of Duty: Black Ops II for the Wii U. Nintendo is tired of sitting on the sidelines and wants a bite of the huge, lucrative AAA market, which will be good for Nintendo fans that also enjoy the massive production values of big budget games.
Ultimately, Nintendo hit fast with this conference and mainly tried to rally their existing fanbase with more connectivity and big first party titles. People who have never really bought into the Nintendo paradigm won’t be rethinking their positions after this, but fans of Nintendo have a lot of new, juicy bites of information to savor as the final months before Wii U’s launch tick by.