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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Top 5 most shocking Nintendo facts! – Part #2!

Here are 5 more Nintendo facts that you might not know about it. If you haven’t read the first one, you can read it here.

1. In Metroid Prime 3, there are hidden messages from renowned game creator Shigeru Miyamoto (known for creating Mario and other franchises), Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata and a couple others if you press the right combination of buttons.

 

Transcript/Translation:

To hear Satoru Iwata’s secret message, push buttons: 2 7 5 1

Hello, this is Iwata from Nintendo.
A president has to take things really seriously, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
It’s understandable if you lose weight from stress…but I get fatter instead.
Nobody thinks I’m taking it seriously.

To hear Shigeru Miyamoto’s secret message, push buttons: 8 3 5 4

Ah, can you hear me? This is Miyamoto.
All of you playing Metroid, can you hear me?
It’s fun, isn’t it?
I’ve also worked on many [Metroid] games, but this one is the best yet, don’t you think?
Make sure to play it all the way to the end.
See you!

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Why the Wii U tablet controller isn’t just a gimmick

Personally, I’m very excited for the Wii U. I think the tablet controller has enormous potential and certain games already illustrate that well. I’ll go over that below:

Immersion:

I think the Wii U will greatly help increase immersion in games for a number of reasons. For one, using the controller will allow devs to move certain UI elements such as the map to the touch-screen. While this may seem frivolous to some, a screen with a minimalist HUD makes for a much more immersive experience to me.

Konami Kojima Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D for the 3DS illustrates this point perfectly. Stamina, camo-index, equipped weapons are all on the bottom-screen. This frees the top screen of all the distracting elements creating for a more cinematic experience.

It isn’t just about freeing the HUD, though. In the Wii U version of Aliens: Colonial Marines, the tablet controller will feature a motion tracker which fans of the reason will instantly recognize. The simple inclusion of this will help immerse the player even further into the Aliens universe.

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The top 10 most shocking Nintendo videogame facts!

Here are 10 Nintendo facts that you may not have heard before.

1. In Metroid Fusion, there is a Nintendo Gamecube cameo.

Still don’t see it? Look a little closer.

Nintendo Gamecube cameo in Metroid Fusion

2. There is something special about the city names in Earth Bound.

  • Onett
  • Twoson
  • Threed
  • Fourside
  • Summers
  • Tenda

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = (sum) 10

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Opinion: Why the Wii U will not be plagued by sub-par third-party support like the Wii

Through-out this generation, it should be clear that the Wii was treated as a second-class citizen by developers with very little third-party support and few of the AAA multi-plats on the other platforms. Given this, it’s natural for people to worry as to whether the Wii U will suffer from the same. Personally I don’t think that will be the case this time.

While their handhelds have enjoyed great support from third-parties, the situation hasn’t been as rosy for their home consoles since the N64. While some claim that it’s because of a so-called vendetta against Nintendo, I disagree. There have been a number of clear issues that prevented the systems from getting the necessary support.

 

  • N64: Unlike the PSX, it used cartridges. Compared to the CDs used by its competitor, producing large cartridges were very costly. The increased manufacturing costs of cartridges affected the end prices of games resulting in some N64 games debuting in a $60 or even $80 (Mortal Kombat) versus the $40 games on the Playstation.
  • Gamecube: Just like the N64, the Gamecube’s limitation was with the storage-medium it used. The Mini-discs it used did not have as much space as DVDs used by the PS2 (1.4GB vs. 4.7GB).
  • Wii: While it did not have any limitations with the storage medium like previous platforms, it suffered because it had a large gap in power. It was using outdated tech from the late 90’s and did not have as much grunt as the other platforms preventing devs from porting their games over.

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