E3 2011: Nintendo Wii U: Everything You Need to Know

Wii U - Get all of the latest details on the Wii U, Nintendo's brand new gaming console and controller.

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At its E3 2011 press conference, Nintendo confirmed some details about the successor to the Wii and even gave its new platform an official name: Wii U. While the name might not suggest much of a difference from Nintendo previous system, the Wii U has some significant upgrades and changes, the most important of which is undoubtedly its new controller. While the Wii U supports all of the Wii's controllers, the controller designed for this new platform is not unlike a tablet. It has a large touch-sensitive 6.2-inch screen in the middle surrounded by a plastic enclosure that features traditional console-style control characteristics, including a D pad, two sets of shoulder buttons, four face buttons, and more. The Wii U is also capable of streaming a video signal to the controller's screen, making it possible to play a Wii U game when the household TV is in use by others.

These are just some of the features of Nintendo's next system. We've compiled everything we know about it into one spot, so you can get caught up on all the latest information revealed at E3 2011.

Features

Wii U: Changing the Way You Play
Of all the questions surrounding Nintendo's successor to the Wii--dubbed the Wii U--there's one drawing more attention than others: How will the games change to properly harness what the Wii U has to offer? This is an especially important question in relation to third-party developers and their games because, historically, third-party developers are less likely to embrace hardware that falls outside the standard development environment for a proper console.

Nintendo Wii U: Inside and Out
Nintendo found lightning in a bottle with the Wii, and with the Wii U--the company's upcoming console--it might have found the bottling plant. The Wii U builds upon the barriers broken by the Wii and takes advantage of a touch-screen-equipped controller that offer players a new way to interact with games paired with a console capable of HD visuals.

Nintendo Wii U Controller Hands-On
Get our thoughts on Nintendo's Wii U controller, and see it from every angle.

More features coming soon.

News

Wii U Pikmin revealed at Nintendo developer roundtable
Creative mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto confirms long-delayed Wii installment in series has been pushed to new console; Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time 3D, Super Mario 3DS, and Luigi's Mansion 2 demo'd.

Activision supporting Wii U
Activision publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg confirms console support, saying "you bet against Nintendo at your peril."

New Super Smash Bros. game in development
Nintendo announces fresh entry in the brawler series for 3DS and just-announced Wii U; titles promised to work together on both platforms "in some fashion."

Wii U unveiled at Nintendo press conference, Skyward Sword due in Q4
New console will feature 6.2-inch touch-screen controller with a host of features; next Legend of Zelda gets release window; massive third-party support includes THQ, Sega, Tecmo, 2K, EA; 2011 3DS lineup detailed.

Wii U boasts M-rated third-party support
Nintendo confirms Assassin's Creed, Ghost Recon Online, Tekken, Ninja Gaiden 3, Darksiders 2, Batman coming to new console; Ubisoft also confirms Rabbids, two new brands en route; Aliens not a lock.

Tekken trio heading to Wii U, 3DS, PS3
Namco's King of the Iron Fist franchise confirmed for Nintendo's latest console as Tekken Hybrid remakes the original Tag Tournament for Sony's system this November.

Ninja Gaiden 3 slicing up early 2012
Blood-splattered sequel gets updated release window; now scheduled to arrive at the beginning of next year.

Previews

Chase Mii Preview Hands-On
As of right now, Chase Mii Is just a tech demo. It hasn't been announced as a full-fledged game yet, so don't get your hopes too high for some indoor tag action. But what's here is quite fun and a good showcase for how the Wii U can extend the reach of local competitive games.

New Super Mario Bros. Mii Hands-On Preview
Aside from being in HD, the visuals looked essentially indistinguishable from those of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and the levels we got to dash through were challenging, with quickly moving platforms and tricky jumps galore. We had fun with the demo, but we didn't feel that it was a particularly strong showcase for the Wii U's technology, at least at this stage.

The Legend of Zelda Wii U Hands-On Preview
Aside from the streaming technology taking place, what makes this remarkable is the fact that the screen on the tablet is pretty high quality--obviously, it's not on par with the HD resolution being displayed on the TV in front of us, but it was impressive nonetheless and we could easily see ourselves using this feature in the manner Nintendo demonstrated during the conference (switching to the tablet when someone else needs the TV).

Battle Mii Wii U Preview
By moving the tablet down and holding it in a natural position (as you would any normal controller), the camera perspective takes a top-down view, letting the player flying the ship get a more tactical view. Moving the position of the controller in between these points presents any number of different perspectives, and players can ultimately settle on what's most comfortable for them for any situation.

Shield Pose Wii U Hands-On Preview
It's not a great visual demonstration of the Wii U's graphical capabilities, but what makes Shield Pose an interesting demonstration of the Wii U technology is just how the tablet functions as a second screen, not unlike the second screen on Nintendo's DS handheld platforms--only it's completely dynamic, functioning much like a magnifying glass.

More previews coming soon.

Movies

Be sure to watch the full video of Nintendo's E3 2011 Press Conference, and skip directly to the 39 minute mark to see the full reveal of the Wii U.

More Wii U movies coming soon.

GameSpot's Wii U Impressions

Giancarlo says: The Wii U controller is absolutely brilliant and The Legend of Zelda tech demo makes me confident in the system's visual capabilities, but one thing has me worried: This whole setup might be a repeat performance of previous Nintendo innovations where the only company that will put forth the effort to design games around the very cool hardware will be Nintendo itself.

Sarju says: I'm loving all the control options that the controller has: dual circle pads, four shoulder buttons, a touch screen, and motion controls. Sign me up! Aiming with the controller was dead simple in the Metroid-like shooter. The screen on the controller is also very crisp. It's way beyond what's offered on the Nintendo 3DS, and it's easily on par with something like the iPhone 4. I'm also really digging the concept of playing without having to look at the TV at all, both in single-player and multiplayer modes. I realize there's nothing but positivity flowing from these words, but the sheer array of solid experiences at E3 2011 lend credence to them.

Carolyn says: The first thing that struck me about the Wii U tablet controller was its weight. By the look of it, I was expecting it to feel like something I might not want to hold for 15 or 20 minutes at a stretch, much less several hours of marathon gaming. But in fact, it's exceptionally light, and I found it comfortable to hold as well, with my fingers naturally resting right on the rear triggers. The big question for me remains: How can the tablet controller result in better, richer single-player experiences? But I've had enough fun with the Wii U to encourage me to keep an open mind, for the moment.

Chris says: Despite the baffling name and the dearth of actual games, I am very intrigued by the Wii U. The multiplayer mayhem of Chase Mii was a lot of frantic fun, and the controller is pleasantly light, with a vivid screen. Though it was short, the high-definition Legend of Zelda scene flexed Wii U's visual processing power to great effect. The dynamic lighting, impressive detail, and great animation brought the strong Zelda art design to a whole new level, foreshadowing a future adventure that I can't wait to take.

Randolph says: Potential. That's what I can see in Nintendo's new console right now. None of the "experiences" Nintendo had set up for the Wii U at E3 2011 blew me away (well, Chase Mii was fun), but I still see the awesome possibility inherent in that feature-packed controller. And despite what you may think, the controller itself felt quite good to hold. Will it be comfortable for long play sessions on the couch? Absolutely. Will developers over reach and try to do too much with the touchscreen, forcing you to switch your hands often? Probably. You haven't quite sold me on the Wii U yet, Nintendo, but I am interested. Very interested.

More Wii U impressions coming soon.

Discussion

794 comments
Wensea10
Wensea10

this system looks way better than the nintendo wii

Knightarce
Knightarce

@hitman047m4 well it wasn't a long way to go, explained in the last line of my comment, if you had stopped to read it all and not just exploded when you saw a negative comment about your great nintendo you would have saved yourself some time

smoman5000
smoman5000

Day 1 buy for me. Love the biased speculation on a console that hasnt even been touched by many people.

ps3frevr
ps3frevr

cmon give mario some rest

chimpmeister
chimpmeister

Wii U is going to blow, just like all the consoles Nintendo has released for the last 8+ years (Gamecube, DS, Wii, 3DS). Nintendo always cheaps out on their hardware, because they figure they can get people to buy their consoles based on gimmicks (2nd useless screen on DS, stupid waggle controls on Wii, and now cheapo 3D on the weakly designed 3DS). And the tablet controller for the Wii U looks ridiculous, yet another gimmick from the company that is the master of gimmicks (power glove, virtual boy, etc.). Everything I need to know about the Wii U is this: it will be based on a gimmick (cheapo tablet controller), the hardware will be way behind the tech curve, and hardcore (or even moderately active) gamers won't bother with it, just as they didn't bother with the silly Wii. Hopefully Nintendo will get out of the hardware business and focus on games, although rehashing all the Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong stuff has REALLY gotten old . . . so they better come up with some new stuff soon!

dinslacck
dinslacck

with the leaked specs i can see next batch of games will show the real next gen graphics on WiiU. we all know launch games will not yet use full capability of a console.

subtenko
subtenko

im not getting the WiiU, im getting the CiiU later [nintendo] ps vita for me

al_win
al_win

I hate how most of the supposed core gamers are people who are into violence, blood, and M-rated games. Who at most are just little kids who were unfortunate not to have parents who owned a NES. And were given a PlayStation with nothing but violence. I do not have such parents but I was lucky to get the Game cube instead of the PlayStation 2. I did not have N64 for we were in rough spot economic wise. P.S. I have played my share of m-rated games but I do not own a xbox 360 or ps3, Halo being one of my best FPS's and I try to play it at my pal's house when I get the chance. P.S.S. this is random but i am loving the fact that my browser thinks N64 isn't misspelled.

flawless_blade
flawless_blade

I'm going to take a wild guess as to what the new controller's name will be: The WiiPad. Thing looks like an iPad. It'll probably sell like hotcakes.

tre802001
tre802001

I just want to say to those who think they speak for so called "hardcore" gamers to stop speaking for me. Your opinion is not the opinion of everyone. That needs to stop now. I am welcoming a new console and enjoy what I know about the Wii U and will be excited to hear the consoles of Sony and Microsoft. Even if I will probably only have the Wii U, I will be excited for those who get the next Sony and Microsoft consoles. There is no console wars. The gaming market will continue to support all 3 consoles as the gaming market has grown. Thank you Nintendo for introducing new gamers to the world of gaming. Also thank you Sony and Microsoft for following that lead.

Vampiro_HuntT3R
Vampiro_HuntT3R

People, people, hold your horses! There is still some time before you start bashing this little innocent console. Let it come out. Let your hands and eyes feast on this beast. Only then you will qualify to judge it. Otherwise, you will only make yourself look like an idiot if you keep on going with the "This idea is sh !t "This is crap" and all that traditional thing. Every new idea earns this kinda 'appreciations' at the start. Later on, some of them emerge as the life changing ones. So. Let them release it. Just wait patiently. A time will come when you will have 'real' reasons to either hate it or love it. Now is not the time. And for those who say they have used their previous one so this one will suck too, they are mistaken as this one came out AFTER it, remember? Nintendo probably did hear you say "good" and "bad" about their previous console. They won't make the same mistakes again. Trust me. All I am saying; don't be some mindless fanboy fools, remember? Be cool. And don't lose it. :) Have fun gaming, fellaws!

hitman047m4
hitman047m4

@Knightarce Trophy/Achievement unlocked: "The Travelling Nintendo Hater". This trophy/achievement is given to those who come all the way over any Nintendo page to voice their negative thoughts.

Knightarce
Knightarce

I hated nintendo before, the wii is awful and im sure most people will agree, inaccurate sensor, only a few decent games (like mario galaxy) which then suffer from the poor controller. I was hoping this console was a joke, its not, and so nintendo will not be getting my money. Yes i came all the way over to this page to voice negative comments and guess what? it wasn't hard only about two clicks

BlackLense
BlackLense

I will get this if I don't need tv to play games , Just use screen at the controller . =)

hitman047m4
hitman047m4

@chimpmeister So what is wrong with this console being a gimmick? I bet you are one of the people that says that Nintendo motion controller system was a gimmick, and yet you probably have the Kinect (which the only reason it sold 10+ million copies at from last year to today was because of the Kinect bundle) or the Move or maybe both, and you repeat to yourself "this is the real deal, not gimmick here folks, no gimmicks at all" You say that Nintendo can't compete in terms of hardware. I don't see why is that... Apple already had something like this where you can use the iPad/iPhone with the AppleTV to play video games in your TV, and yet still people ridicule them as well because of this because they fail to see the future potential that this particular idea might have. How long do you think its going to take to Sony and Microsoft to jump on that same gimmicky tech? They will probably wait (again, because this happen before) to the market's reaction to this innovation and they will do something on their own if its a hit. What is there to talk about the console? Its development cycle is not over yet, they are still going to work on it, and maybe later on in the year, Nintendo will do a press conference to show the real specifications of the hardware. Your argument only shows how ignorant you are, because Iwata is not going to hype the console's capabilities because its not finish yet. Seriously it is embarrassing that you complain and cry about it.

hitman047m4
hitman047m4

@hitechgraphs Well you said it yourself, if you don't like Nintendo, then why bother complaining and crying about it. It is people like you who make this whole console war more hyped up than what it really is. If you don't like it, then don't buy it (if you are not old enough to buy it yourself, then don't ask your parents to buy one for you). Why you say that Nintendo is failing out? The Wii out sold more units than the PS3 or the XBox360 (50 million units each), only to be outsold by the DS, so I do not see why you say they are failing out. If you think that the controller looks heavy, then do not complain about it, since most of us have not held that device on our hands. It is a waste of time to actually cry how heavy its going to be... and if its heavy, then GOOD, that will get some work done to all those with weak arms that are complaining about how heavy it looks. How can you compare a car created by Homer with the creation of an actual company, that their career (ever since the 80's) have been based on making video game consoles and video game software. It takes years of development and understanding of many areas (business risk, economics, ergonomics, marketing, etc) to actually come forth and take the risk of producing a piece of hardware like any of the consoles, rather than ask a single guy on the street for the next best thing in console. Your comparison its completely idiotic and without foundation.

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

@LeadnSteel Is the next-gen Wii, the tablet is the prime controller although it will support the Wii-mote and Nunchuk. I like the idea and concept behind it but until I try it for myself I'd imagine it's very uncomfortable?

JohnnyAmerica
JohnnyAmerica

LeadnSteel, it is the next gen console. Not just a new controller.

Kolby157
Kolby157

Just to clear things up... This is a whole new console, not just a new controller. AND Nintendo already said it does not play gamecube games

LeadnSteel
LeadnSteel

When I first heard the title I thought this was going to be the next gen Wii. Thank god it is only a tablet handheld.

NND1
NND1

"Nintendo Finish Them" -- Flawless Victory

Lost-Memory
Lost-Memory

@Duckafro, apparently it will play wii games as well as GC games.

duckafro
duckafro

I like how this article doesn't include some important "need to know" topics such as; battery life of the controller, how far can the controller be away from its console, information on the console itself (so far its just the controller), and will there be backwards compatibility on the new console?

hitechgraphs
hitechgraphs

Oh well I still don't get this wii u controller thing.For me is just all about gimmickry.Is large and like Carolyne says looks heavy besides for me looks ridicule.Perhaps it still could caught children and fashion gadget collectors,it's design looks more costs in production that real useful utilities,just like Homer creation a car.For me Nintendo is getting old living with old and silly ideas that could be work on the past but not today.And yes I don't like Nintendo,I don't like it because I don't like their way of thinking,they want to sell to a wider market but they are failing all the way out.And how I'm supposed to put my money in a product like this,beside their mentality?Grow up people parents buy,children not and at the end they are going to leave their loved wiiu collecting dust like always and asking for something more.

chimpmeister
chimpmeister

Another new system from Nintendo, another gimmick to try to sell it. Nintendo has realized that they just can't compete in terms of hardware, so they throw in a silly gimmick to try to move their inferior products. Look at the DS series, Wii, and 3DS; again all three are based on gimmicks, not good hardware design. And the WiiU looks to be following suit. Nintendo didn't even talk about the console itself, in fact here is a direct quote from Iwata after E3, regarding the WiiIU console: "The console is not drastically different, and Wii U is about the controller. The console itself will be almost invisible." If this is the case, expect Nintendo to focus on the new gimmicky controller, instead of the actual WiiU console; again hoping that a hook will get people to buy. It certainly worked well on the Wii, but I don't think it will work again on the WiiU. Nintendo needs to get out of the hardware business completely and just make games, and be done with these silly gimmicks. Seriously, its embarassing.

Yuusha09
Yuusha09

Calm down, you don't even need to use the tablet screen or the awkward controller. Its basically plugging in an upgrade to your Wii, which you can then stare normally at the TV and use normal controllers.

ThexSilentxOne
ThexSilentxOne

Don't get hacked when it comes out Nintendo!!!????

Conra51
Conra51

It's a huge nintendo DS game system, my tought

ajwadawesome123
ajwadawesome123

Its kinda cool but my problem is do i stare at the tablet or the TV, the tabley being linked to the consel feels a little redundant

endorbr
endorbr

So I took some time to mull over this design idea since my last post about it... And I'm still coming up with FAIL. I just can't get interested in playing with an iPad sized controller, with a stylus no less. The controller looks like it's a handheld system of it's own. Still looks like more gimmick that might be fun for a while but will ultimately go the way that my Wii has, sitting in my bedroom as a Netflix player and a system for my wife to play Lego games on.

Nelhew
Nelhew

Tablets and the reason iPhone apps are now major popular is because of the Nintendo DS. I like the screen in the controller. But obviously other things are a major factor. As long as it's fun and have nice games that tops the price. I'm in.

DarkBox360
DarkBox360

As much as i love Nintendo. This is a disgrace. Why is Nintendo trying to jump on the Tablet bandwagon. The controller looks half tablet and half gameboy. Companies should quit trying to cash in on gimmicks and give us a "REAL" gaming console.

mikees1
mikees1

sierramist33 you fail to mention 3D. Yes i know nintendos done it with their 3ds, buts it not true 3D is is it. Thats probably where Microsoft and Sony will go next, and again they'll pip Nintendo to the post as nintendo seemed to have ignored 3D on a console.

mikees1
mikees1

Sorry but this still looks like a kiddie console to me. The mii's or whatever are still there, the only people that will want this are the under 10's lol. Nintendos history is built round this. If you wanted darker more realistic games back in the day you went with the sega mega drive instead of snes. The only console i ever rated by Nintendo was the 64. That was their one and only forray into the adult gaming world.

Liliroots
Liliroots

I wonder how heavy it is. Will i be able to hold it for a long time? does it weight like an ipad/table or heavier? How many can i link to one console? Also wonder how much it would cost. Hopefully not too much.

hitman047m4
hitman047m4

@shinrablue How can you wish for a company to fail???? This is a complete moronic comment. The only thing that you are showing in this forum how of a cry baby you and the rest of the so called "Hard core gamers" are. If you are not interested in this new technology then don't cry about it, and don't buy it. Besides what its wrong making games for the casual gamer? Nintendo still makes/allows lots of games for the hardcore and casual gamers. Just because Nintendo system does not have the HD tag associated or have the latest shooter does not mean that the Nintendo console was not mean to be for hard core gamers. The whole PS and XBox are for hardcore gamers its just a marketing strategy from Sony and Microsoft to try to get people to buy their hardware. Trust me I know a lot of real Hardcore gamers from different timelines of gaming history, and all they do is laugh at this new gamer generation of "hardcore gamers" that only have accomplish is cry and complaint about nothing without any foundation. Maybe, on a couple of E3s down the road, we will see Microsoft and Sony unveiling their next tech for their "hardcore gamers": the PS Vita Grande and the 720-360 HDPad that you can play with their latest console.... wait I think I have seen this strategy before, mmmmmmm now I can't remember it is so vague... oh yeah the Move and Kinect.

jaja1818
jaja1818

interesting concept...i wonder what ps has to offer on their side of the portable gaming industry..and also what microsoft has up it's sleeve

Micooliscool
Micooliscool

the one thing i have noticed is that it dosent look comfortable in the hands

mstormer
mstormer

@osed125 Was that sarcastic???

joujou264
joujou264

 @chimpmeister Oh god, where should I start in this massive array of failure.

 

1st of all, it is not going to blow, because it's an entirely other animal than the systems you just counted.

 

2nd of all, those systems we're casual systems(with the exception of the Gamecube, which was a alright system), things you play occasionally, from time to time. You're not supposed to take them seriously, like the 360/PS3.

 

3rd of all, they don't cheap out on their hardware. They do something called ''innovation''. It's supposed to not make console gaming bland and useless compared to gaming on a PC. Without innovation, the consoles wouldn't have anything, because the PC does everything better.

 

4th of all, Touchscreens aren't really a gimmick, because it's accepted by the mainstream (Smartphones, tablets, etc.).

 

5th of all, Every console has hardware way behind the tech curve, did you expect MS/Sony to just release a console on the most latest tech? No, because it would be ridiculously expensive.

 

6th of all, what you call ''hardcore'' isn't even a term to be used anymore, because it's been slapped all over the place. But true gamers, you know, the kind that doesn't stick to 1 system like a little bitch (I'm sorry for the people that just can't afford other consoles. Not sorry to the ones that can't afford them so they hate on them.), will buy it because it's a good system with stellar 1st and 3rd party support.

 

7th of all, There is absolutely no reason to dump Mario, Zelda, or Donkey Kong, just because the main goal is the same. People didn't fall in love with those franchises because it involved saving a princess, they did because of the gameplay, which is fantastic to this day.

 

And lastly, if you want new, research a bit more on the Wii U. For example, there are going to be 3 new IP's from Nintendo for the system.

joujou264
joujou264

 @tre802001 I salute you sir, you are what the gaming world so desperately needs more of.

joujou264
joujou264

 @Knightarce Hey, have you ever tried researching? Like finding out that Nintendo's audience was supposed to be families? You don't seem like a family, so you have no right to call a console, that wasn't meant to be hardcore in the first place, a piece of shit of a hardcore games console. And the controls are not as bad as you described them, it works rather well, i. e. Metroid Prime 3.

joujou264
joujou264

 @BlackLense Some people just don't get behind playing full scale game, like GTA V (It's been confirmed!), on the toilet, or right before going to bed. You could just play games 24/7, if you wouldn't die from dehydration, with a large family around you, and there being only 1 TV.