The Wii has had a good run. It is one of the best selling home video game consoles of all time. So, how you do you follow it? In Nintendo’s words, with the Wii U. Rumors had speculated for the last several months about what this “Project Cafe” would look like. Specifically, many wondered about the controller. Would Nintendo go the way of Microsoft with Kinect controller-free, would they go back to a traditional style, or would they do something entirely different? Everyone’s answer came on Tuesday morning, when they displayed it during their E3 press event. In short, this IBM-powered machine will be fully backward compatible with Wii games/accessories/controllers, support up to 1080p graphics, feature a brand new controller with six-inch screen, and support SD/hard-drives for external memory.
After some hands-on time with the controller in a variety of tech demos, I have to say that I am rather impressed. To start with, the controller itself it very lightweight considering what it has built in. It is much lighter than an iPad 2, for reference. The grips also felt very comfortable, and I liked that they have opted to use the circle pads from the Nintendo 3DS instead of the “traditional” analog sticks. Graphically, speaking, the system looks fantastic. In addition to the full 1080p HD graphics on the TV, the controller display is also quite good. I do not know the resolution of that display, but I know that it looked better than 480p; that was for sure. The one downside is that, as of now, the touch-screen is only single-touch like the Nintendo DS, DSi, and 3DS.
There are still many questions still up in the air about the system. How much will it cost? How many new controllers can you use with each system? When exactly will it launch? How much better will the online component actually be? Will it utilize Friend Codes? Will it play DVD or BluRay movies? Will it feature Nintendo 3DS compatibility, and if so, how? The list goes on and on. Until Nintendo decides to spill those beans, we will just have to wait, continue speculating, and try to weed through all the rumors that are sure to pop up in the coming weeks and months.
For more of my in-depth first-impressions of the demos, check out the following: