Wii U: Will it flop or be a wild success?

And we certainly got a lot of news this week regarding the Wii U which I’ll detail my thoughts on below.

Hardware and Price:

Well we learned that the Wii U features 2GB RAM, GPGPU functions and a 5x Blu-ray drive. Honestly I’m pretty pleased with the news. Iwata specifically mentioning GPGPU functions leads me to think that the GPU is pretty modern (and adding credence to the rumour that the Wii U is using a AMD 7 Series GPU). A 5x Blu-ray drive is a nice improvement over the PS3’s drive too hopefully eliminating the mandatory game installs that we got.

An interesting thing Iwata said was that the RAM was split between 1GB system memory and 1GB for games (VRAM, I guess). 1GB of RAM is quite a lot (with the 360 only dedicating 32MB to the OS). I’m interested in seeing what Nintendo will do with it.


As for the price, while I do think $300 is very reasonable for a console like this, I worry that it will be too expensive to attract the mass-market. Nintendo really needs to push the point that this is a next-gen console and not just a current-gen contender when they advertise it.

I’ve noticed some bloggers expressing concern at the fact that the Wii U contains only 8GB/32GB of storage space. I don’t think it’s a problem at all. Nintendo has given us the ability to add more space by adding in an external USB drive or SD card. An added bonus is that you can get a drive as big as you like (without being restricted to certain sizes) as well as the ability to compare prices and get the best deal in town.
Games:

E3 2012 left me a little skeptical. We were shown late ports and Pikmin 3. While I was happy with the latter, I was expecting more than that.

The recent conference alleviated my concerns, though. Nintendo brought Bayonetta 2 back from the dead. We’re getting Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate! Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, the biggest game this year is coming. Overall, third-party support seems good. I just hope this support carries on into the PS4/Nextbox era.


Bayonetta 2 being an exclusive really said something to me. Considering that the first one didn’t exactly sell a lot, Nintendo isn’t looking to make a big profit with this. I would say they are trying to fill the gaping holes that exist in their platform’s typical library and I applaud them for that.

Oh and with the Platinum Games-Nintendo partnership that seems to be going on, I expect a Star Fox game developed from them for the Wii U. Mark my words.

Other Functionality:

Not much was shown in terms of things outside of games but we did get a look at Nintendo TVii which I think is quite revolutionary. Being able to access my cable television, Netflix, Hulu+, Amazon Video, DVR and whatever other services in one app is a very appealing prospect.
 


I can see my self using the second-screen functionality that they showed too. The ability to get stats while watching basketball or whatever and the ability to screenshot a show and share on Facebook, Twitter and Miiverse (particularly Twitter since I use that) is very appealing.

Oh and it’s free which is always good!

 

We also got some more details on the internet browser. I’m particularly happy with the fact that we can surf alone with the GamePad, view videos straight from the browser (plug-ins), use multiple tabs and multi-task with a game. The latter is the my favourite feature as checking a walkthrough using the browser while playing a game would be very convenient.

All in all, I’m very excited. Although I don’t have enough dough to buy it at launch, I will get one eventually. With the game library, specs and other functionality, I think the platform really has promise. I just hope Nintendo has made strides in ensuring third-party support so that it doesn’t end up lacking good third-party games in comparison to other platforms like with the Wii.

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