Wii U: Unanswered Questions

Many questions still remain for Nintendo's successor to the Wii.

Nintendo revealed much about its new console, the Wii U, at the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo. Not only did the company show the physical system itself, but it also revealed a new type of controller--one that integrates a large touch screen in the middle that lets users interact with games directly and allows them to stream Wii U games to that screen when the TV is in use by another person. Nintendo gave a glimpse of some possible in-game uses for the new controller during the Wii U trailer, and it even had a few playable demos at the show to demonstrate some of its key functionality. But for all of that information and the hands-on time, there are still many important questions left unanswered about Nintendo's new platform.

Will it support more than one Wii U controller at a time?
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata recently reiterated what famed-designer Shigeru Miyamoto told the press at E3 2011: The Wii U only supports one tablet-equipped controller at a time, at least for now. The company didn't rule out the possibility that there might be opportunities to use more than one in the future, but it doesn't want to force people to buy two controllers when the cost is so potentially high.

How much will the Wii U cost?
Nintendo has always been mindful of the cost of its console hardware, and with the Wii, it demonstrated that it's willing to use old tech (in new ways) to keep costs down. The Wii U console itself isn't any different in that regard, but the major question for price is the included controller. Its price in conjunction with the cost of the console hardware could put the price at anywhere from $250 to $350. The low end of that spectrum seems a little less likely as well, considering Nintendo hardly ever prices its consoles and handhelds at similar levels.

What will battery life be on the controllers?
Having a screen on a controller is great, but it also means that its battery is in danger of being depleted that much quicker. Additionally, its ability to stream a video signal from the system--as cool as the feature is--won't be doing the battery any favors. And, if most games support just one of these controllers then it's less likely that users will have an extra lying out for a charge and swap. Plus, we don't even know if it will have a built-in battery or if the company plans on taking the less preferred route of popping batteries in and out.

What's the range on the controller?
This is a crucial question for one of the system's key features: the ability to stream a video signal from the system to the new controller's screen. While we expect range to fall in line with most people's general couch-to-TV distance, we'd like to see it go beyond that so game sessions can occur in different rooms, which are still reasonably close to the source. We may or may not be talking about the bathroom.

What will its online functionality be like?
Thankfully, there was no mention of friend codes at E3, but that doesn't necessarily make them a no-go, especially because the 3DS still uses a unified friend code system. Still, Nintendo has mentioned that after talking to third-party developers, many of them requested a "more open" online system, but what that means exactly is anyone's guess. At the very least, we want something that makes it easy to find friends, see what they're playing, and be able to play hassle free with them. Achievements and the like would also be nice features, but they're secondary to what should be Nintendo's real focus.

What will the dashboard (user interface) look like?
The Wii's user interface made sense in that Nintendo knew people would instinctively understand the combination of using a Wii Remote to navigate monitors that offered different content (not unlike selecting channels on a TV), whether it was a game, the Wii Shop Channel, the Check Mii Out Channel, or others. The Wii U's controller changes things a little bit in that it gives Nintendo an opportunity to develop a user interface that's completely touch driven, making it easier than ever to get to the content you want. Still, we wouldn't mind seeing Nintendo try something new and develop something that exists outside the traditional thinking of how people access and consume content on a console.

The Wii U controller.

What kind of visual horsepower will the Wii U really have?
The Twilight Princess Wii U demo at E3 2011 was designed to flex some of the Wii U's graphical capabilities, and we were pretty impressed. If anything, it showed that the system will be capable of producing visual quality that's in the realm of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but because we don't officially know the specific GPU it's using and don't have similar games to compare, there's no real way to compare. Based on Nintendo's previous hardware, it's safe to assume that it won't be cutting edge--to keep costs down--but it will be enough to finally take Nintendo's games into the HD realm.

How strong will third-party support be?
Nintendo is obviously trying to remedy some of the mistakes it made with the Wii and its third-party support, or lack thereof, by courting some marquee games for the Wii U that are also appearing on other platforms, like Batman: Arkham City, Ninja Gaiden III, and others. And because the hardware should be able to handle Xbox 360 or PS3 ports, Nintendo will probably have an easy shot at third-party multiplatform content for a decent amount of time. The real question is exclusive third-party content: Can Nintendo convince these companies to develop exclusively for the platform or, at the very least, convince them to utilize the hardware and controller in a way that makes the Wii U version of a game a suitably different experience?

There are plenty of other questions remaining. How much will Nintendo rely on Wii Remotes? How will it try to market the system and convince people that it's more than just a Wii with a different controller? Will Wii users be able to transfer their Virtual Console content over? Will the Wii U even have a Virtual Console-like shop? Will it have some kind of 3DS or DS integration? Hopefully, Nintendo will make answers available in the coming months, well before the system's scheduled 2012 release.

What questions do you need Nintendo to answer? Let us know in the comments below.

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Discussion

181 comments
DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

$173 for each extra tablet controller .....

 

:O

clouduos
clouduos

ok wht is the graphic will be? is it ps3 like or higher ?? look great. love the idea ^,^

Dzuhri7
Dzuhri7

I think this is what Nintendo is trying to do : PC + Console + Ipad = Wii U

davidoats2
davidoats2

I believe that those Wii U controllers lack battery power because of the LED Screen power, the touch screen, the sound of the controll and size of the controller. They still could make some changes to the Wii U controller since it's only the beta stage.

duckafro
duckafro

Battery life and range are the biggest questions I still have for this console. Whats the point of buying it if its only usable for 1 hour, that's less than most laptops that have more functionality. And if you still have to be near the console in order to play, then it destroys the purpose of calling its "portable".

Shishio817
Shishio817

Sounds pretty cool; I'm keeping track of it, but I'm still not on the 'definite purchase' track yet.

Pdot_PWNS
Pdot_PWNS

@jetfreakist and everyone who says its just a ds no it isnt a dsits a HOME CONSOLE with a controller that has a screen streamed from the console itself. it has tons of potentials along with good release titles such as darksiders 2 and battlefied 3 god stop critisizing and start peeing your pants for a new super smash bros

zeldafreak1423
zeldafreak1423

I woud like to answer the questoin that Nintendo is finaly letting the Gamecube pass adn that the back disc port will be for regular wii games, and the front for wii-u games.

rarson
rarson

@Pdot_PWNS Ah, thanks for the link.

BasilVZero
BasilVZero

Hope there will be more RPGs *-*

cprmauldin
cprmauldin

This system looks pretty promising. I hope there will be more RPG and strategy game production from Nintendo, as their new controller would be Ideal for such games.

superfakerbros
superfakerbros

@gowofwarKratos The Wii-U is going to have more than enough power and certainly has the 3rd Party support that it needs, not to mention online will be live LIVE/PSN, etc. But it needs something else...

vgamefreak225
vgamefreak225

Looks and sounds cool but looks like it will be pretty expensive.

gowofwarKratos
gowofwarKratos

The control alone can't hold the system, It need really good power too. It's true that graphics doesn't make the game but even Ps Vita is powerful enough. Also need a strong back up from third- party and more hard core games to balance. Mario, DK etc. Is nice but the old generation of gamers from nintendo need more then this too. I prefer stay with PS3 but i could add a new nintendo console since the N64 but come on put a really good console on the market and of course a good price too other wise i will wait the next genaration of Nintendo and se if worth buy .

Clive-Owen
Clive-Owen

i really wanna know what is exactly "revolutionary" about Wii U? being able to play without TV? tablets and PS Vita give you that directly from the hardware and without streaming from another device.

Zoie1996
Zoie1996

Looks cool and all and the chances of me getting it are high. I just don't know how practical it is.

Distinctive_Fin
Distinctive_Fin

I have one question: Will Nintendo make a system that will be able to play two games at once? Example: I play Monster Hunter Tri on my big screen while my brother plays a downloaded title, or surfs the net, or another non-disk downloaded thing.

JKO29
JKO29

Honestly of what I've seen and read so far, I think I'd like the original Wii better than the WII U. I don't think I'd like these controllers. They are just too big and bulky.

Gurzociurlo
Gurzociurlo

Oh, I just saw that gamecube games are not supported... :(

Gurzociurlo
Gurzociurlo

Will there still be some kind of gamecube retrocompatibiliy? I hope so.

captnslo85
captnslo85

Will it be able to network locally with other Wii U consoles? I'm thinking about what my friends and I do for Halo: four Xboxes all in the same room, playing the same game. Is that a possibility?

captnslo85
captnslo85

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

captnslo85
captnslo85

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

tre802001
tre802001

@KirinLime You will be able to buy or use your own external hard drive. Gamecube games are not supported.

tre802001
tre802001

@gruoch1 It has the same capacity as Blu-Ray

vpamir
vpamir

I don't know if it's mentioned before but i have a very interesting and important question or idea about this new system. Since it supports streaming the video to the controller that means Nintendo may design another controller apart from the touch screen one and that controller might be designed as a head mounted display with 6 axis motion sensing, microphone and 3d cameras in the front which makes it the perfect peripheral for augmented reality games just like they advertised with the 3DS. Then it can be used to play stereoscopic 3d games and real 3d augmented games. Imagine that you play a fighting game in which the characters fight on the table in front of you or imagine a monster comes "literally" out of the tv, walks to you and looks into your eyes. These are the magics of the augmented reality technology and i believe Nintendo can achive that. All we need is a new head mounted display controller. If you find this idea interesting please write to me at vpamir [at] gmail.com and we'll discuss about it. Thanks for your time reading, have a nice day :)

DarthLefein
DarthLefein

Maybe Nintendo is using CBHD-DVDs for discs.

gruoch1
gruoch1

@KirinLime... I can answer one of your questions; It's been confirmed the the Wii U will not use Blue-Ray discs for games, instead they will use there own proprietary format much like they did with the Gamecube.

KirinLime
KirinLime

Will the screen be multi-touch or restricted to single? Will the analog pads function as buttons like the DualShock and 360 controllers? Most likely not, but the touch screen should compensate for ported games. Are the triggers analog or digital? Will there be a profile system? Will the console come with a hard drive? Will the console be bundled with a game at launch? HD is great for video, but how about Dolby Digital 5.1 or better for audio? What kind of media format will it use for games? How about support for other media, like Blu-Ray? And backwards compatibility, are GCN games still supported?

aimanfire
aimanfire

the comment below me is right. there is some good info there. at least interesting, if not explaining info.

Liliroots
Liliroots

@Mariner32 Thank you good sir for answering my question! =D

rarson
rarson

@GunnyHath Nintendo has stated that it will be backwards-compatible with Wii titles. That means no Gamecube games.

rarson
rarson

@Pdot_PWNS No he didn't. If he did, then you can provide a link. As stated above, Nintendo has stated more than once that it will support one tablet controller. Streaming to multiple controllers wirelessly isn't going to be feasible.

gruoch1
gruoch1

@Toplinkar... Nintendo may not have as much time as they think. Reliable sources (similar to the reliable sources that claimed Nintendo would unveil a new console at E3) claim that the next gen Xbox will be revealed at next years E3.

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

@GunnyHath I'd imagine it has Wii backwards compatibility as they demonstrated the Wii fit being played with it and there's no way they reverse engineered hardware already in our houses so more than likely it plays Wii games. GC there has been no indication of though so no way to know.

haederbazooka
haederbazooka

i hope u can use at least 2 of them! and also wish that it got some motion controlling system to play some minigames on it :D

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

The sad thing about the Wii U is that it is everything gaming should be but not appreciated. It's interesting and different, but at the same time familiar thanks to it's perfectly normal controller layout (other than a screen in the middle but it looks almost the same as a PSP / Vita or an ipad / touch screen laptop so it's not that odd at all. It's capable of proper hardcore games thanks to the graphics, specs, controller etc. but the controller also allows gaming in other ways like handheld style (two screens and a stylus) or even strange quirky games like the ninja star throwing one. So it can play more kinds of games, it'll look better and be more powerful than what is available now, it will have good third party and first party support but somehow there's lots of idiots roaming around complaining about none gaming features thinking they are somehow hardcore. DVD playback? online movies? This isn't gaming, go buy a PC and shut up if all you want is multi media functionality as they do it best by far. I swear gamers don't know a good system if it slaps them in the faces nowadays. Especially playstation gamers. Constantly moaning about about 360 holding it back (not like it mattered to them when Xbox had a bigger, more noticeable leap on PS2) and calling every Nintendo system gimmicky no matter how much Sony desperately tries to copy them (and very directly) with Wii move, 3D on PS3 and touch controls on PS vita. Face it, games companies know variety works.

GunnyHath
GunnyHath

What I want to know is Wii/GC backwards compatibility?

Frankenstrat247
Frankenstrat247

kinda bummed about them dropping gc controller support, but I'm still excited.

Pdot_PWNS
Pdot_PWNS

@rarson you may be the best person here cuz ur not a troll but nintendo americas president announced that it could support 2 wii u tablets but its not confirmed

angeloti83
angeloti83

the wii U controller seems way too big for me... and not an innovation if we compare it to an ipad... ,hope they'll do well though.

N-REAL
N-REAL

Nintendlol.... :lol:

EzkArLatA
EzkArLatA

Gamespot have u already send those questions to nintendo?? how many times do they answer??

Saamic
Saamic

@bub166 I know but you need a wii remote in order to support each of of them